The Contemporary New England Witch

The Contemporary New England Witch
Ms Faith

Monday, December 13, 2010

A green idea for Christmas

Evening Greetings,

With the holidays just around the corner, I've a fun idea that is also a 'green alternative'  Christmas feature for your yard.  During the yuletide season I like to get a real Christmas tree for outdoor decoration.  I make a deep hole in the ground with a crowbar and secure the trunk of a spruce or pine.  I then decorate the tree with strings of popped popcorn and cranberries and natural ornaments. 

Its fun to pop large bowls of popcorn, then spend an evening stringing it while watching a fun movie, like Charles Dickens's 'A Christmas Carol' one of the best of the Christmas ghost stories if you ask me! Stringing the popcorn can be a bit tricky as well as  the cranberries, and must be done carefully or else they will split in half. Thread nylon string through the eye of a needle, the longer and thinner the needle the better. The needle needs to be big enough to get through the berries and popped corn, yet slim enough not to split the kernels or berries. You can double thread as you would with sewing. Thread the string through the eye of the needle, bring both ends of the string together and knot at the free end.  Knot the end by piercing a cranberry and tying the loose string end up and over the berry to tie it back on the main thread securing the berry at the end. 

Some people like to string the popcorn on separate strands from the cranberries, yet others like to combine the two on the same strand. It's really up to you. Realize if you try a combination look that the weight of the cranberries  is much heavier than the popcorn.  It's easier to string fewer cranberries than popcorn to keep the weight distributed properly. This is necessary for the strand to hang properly on the tree. Test hang it after a few feet are strung to see how it falls.

If you're really ambitious you can try stringing raisins on strands also, but I find they are sticky and soon the whole thing becomes a sweet, gummy mess!   Many sweet cereals string well,just don't use chocolate, as its not healthy for animals to eat.  But its up to you what you'd like to include. These natural strands to hang on the tree are all edible, but did I mention, they're not meant for human consumption?

I then set up the tree outside in full view of the the windows my cats like to sit in. It's a special treat for them as the feathered creatures, which are so brilliant in their colors in the winter, come and visit my Yule tree made just for them..

I hang the tree first with colored lights so that the tree can stand out in all its glory in the evenings. This provides a little color and happiness for travelers on their way home at night, with food for the birds and squirrels and enjoyment for my cats.  All from a simple tree.  It's also possible to get a tree for this at a good price, because you can get one that doesn't look so perfect as its meant for the outdoors and no one really sees it that close up.  So look for the 'Charlie Brown' Christmas trees and offer the seller a few dollars less because it might not be a full or as balanced as the other trees. You might be able to strike a bargain. But even at full price its a tree that keeps giving for at least four to six months. Keep reading and I'll show you how.

After stringing with lights and edible strands, I also like to put 'ornaments' on this Yule tree of nature.  Get large or medium pine cones and spread them with peanut butter.  Smooth or chunky, its up to you. Then place them, one at a time in a brown paper bag with a couple of cups of bird seed, dried cranberries, nuts etc. Sprinkle and with your hands on the outside of the bag press the dried ingredients into the moist, sticky peanut butter. Oooops!  Make sure you tie a pretty ribbon onto the top of the pine cone first to hang it from, before the peanut butter.  A lot less sticky and messy.   Hang these homemade energy- rich treats on the tree and you will attract birds and other small creatures that benefit from the fat and nutrient value of these treats.  By the way, these pine cone peanut treats make a nice holiday gift for your mice and other small furry pets.  We mustn't forget them during the holiday season.   

By the way, let me speak on  behalf of the squirrels.  They have just as much right to be here as we do.  All wild animals do, actually.  Rather than devising ways to poison the earth, destroy the squirrels and trash your karma, instead place a few extra pine cones on your tree and treat all the small living creatures.  When feeding the birds I put out extra to feed the squirrels also.  They really are delightful to watch as they scamper and frolic.  I never begrudge the food the squirrels eat rather than the birds, for they're just as deserving.

After the holidays, you can take down the tree and put it to further use over the winter. Remove the electric lights and the nylon strings that held the fruits and corn as most if not all will be gone by now depending on how many wild visitors you've received.  

Take the tree and place somewhere on your property away from the house if possible, along a fence line or treeline. you can leave the pinecones if there's still any peanut butter and seeds left, and they can be replenished for this step also.  The tree, placed on its side, especially against a fence, tree or outbuilding such as a shed or garage, makes a small animal shelter where small birds can fly into for safety from larger predators and small creatures can winter over in the tree.  Note, if placed against a building or shed, the more people traffic around it the less likely animals will use it.  An out of the way place,  is best.

In the spring,  the tree, what's left of it,  can be used to start the first spring fire in the fire pit. Of course making sure no living creatures are still in residence!  Another green choice is disposing of the tree carcass at your local landfill if they have a program like Manchester does. They take all 'green' refuse, collected at the curb or brought in by resident and compost it, using huge machines that  move over the dried leaves, and yard scraps again and again until beautiful black, rich compost is created. They then sell it back to the residents to use in their yards. By using a commercially grown tree in this way you contribute more to the environment than you take away from it.   This is also taking into account the carbon footprint left by the plastic and artificial trees so in abundance today.

It is very hard in this day and age to live a modern life with the conveniences and luxuries we enjoy without harming the environment no matter how unintended. Using a real tree commercially grown and intended for quick disposal in the garbage landfill is a green alternative and natural way to celebrate the yuletide season with the animals of nature and helps put Nature back in Christmas.  After all that's where the celebration of the winter solstice started, as a celebration of Nature.

Peace and Happiness

© 2010 Enchantments, LLC Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website.

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