Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Oslo's Tree

Every year, as some of you may know, we end up with a sort of sad excuse for a Dr Seuss Christmas tree. This is not due to the fact that I am the last one to get to the tree selling place, or because I have terrible luck when selecting a tree, but rather because I am so obsessed with doing my small part to save the environment, that I fear if I went out and bought a glorious Christmas tree, which had been cut down in some far off northern land, driven miles to a port, put on a cargo ship and gas guzzled its way all the way down to Bermuda, then surely I am a bit of a hypocrite by not practicing what I preach. Don't get me wrong, I long for a big beautiful real fir tree, with the smell of pine wafting through my home bringing Christmas cheer into my brain with all that aromatherapy. How I would adore it, but I just feel like I would be such a fake if I did that - I mean why do I bang on about so many other things and then not even refrain from getting a cut down tree.

So instead, each year, we opt for an endemic Bermuda cedar tree in a pot to place our presents under. Although it is never quite the same (ok - let's be frank - it is nothing even close!), it still is a decorated tree, it still feels festive, and we still enjoy it, even if it is more from a humourous point of view. And the best bit is that we then get to plant it in our garden like all the cold country folk do, and enjoy it for years to come. I know we have moved house twice in less than a year, so there are now no trees from past Christmases anywhere in our current garden, but we have every intention of leaving our mark of happy holidays all over this garden too, until one day we stay in one house for the rest of our lives and clutter up those grounds with even more Christmas trees from years to come. That day is not here yet, but one day it will happen, and in the meantime, we will keep planting wherever we happen to be.

I remember one year, my mother decided she wanted to be artistic and creative and make a Christmas tree out of Casurina branches. I imagine it was utterly beautiful, with those rich blue-green wispy needles softly hanging in a tight bunch and somehow decorated in a way that only my mother could do. But sadly, and embarrassingly, instead of thinking (and now remembering) how special it was, or how creative she was, all I thought at the time was that my parents were too cheap to get a proper tree. This was of course not true at all but when you are a child, it is not the reality that shapes you, but your perception of reality. I wanted what everyone else had and it was not a tree like that one. So my mother was kind and listened and that was the last year she did something so wonderfully creative and instead buying a regular shipped in tree like everyone else.

So this year, I started to worry that Oslo in particular might start being a bit sad about not having a real Christmas tree. I didn't want him to feel like I did all those years ago, even though now I feel it is such a lesson. So I asked him what sort of tree he wanted, and of course he said a big real one like everyone else. My heart sank a little, but in a way, I was secretly grateful that I didn't have to agonise over what to do on the ethical level. He had given me the excuse to go big, real and fabulously smelly. But then something strange happened. He started asking why we couldn't plant the real Christmas tree in our garden. I tried to explain that fir trees don't grow in Bermuda and so they have to be cut down and that we would need to buy a stand for it wasn't in a pot so it wouldn't stay up on its own. And then my dear little angel boy did something so lovely . He said he wanted a cedar after all. But this time, could it be a big cedar and one of his own - one that looked a bit more like a real tree, and then we could still plant it in our garden in the new year. I was so proud of him, and I kept asking if he was sure, terrified I had projected my own baggage onto him, but he had genuinely thought about how sad it would be for our Christmas tree to end up dead, so this was the best option for him.

We went to the S.O.S (Save Open Spaces) nursery and Oslo chose a tree. Indigo chose one too, but hers is really a bit sad as she was more obsessed with being able to carry it than what it looked like. It is so scary looking that I think I will have to sneak back tomorrow to swap it for something we can actually decorate and pray she doesn't notice.

Last night the children decorated Oslo's tree together. It was such a lovely evening with the two of them cluttering this still tiny weird shaped tree with too many balls, while Ben taught himself piano (long story - will save for another post) and I took some photos. I am so happy we will plant this tree with all these memories in our garden one day. I can't wait to decorate Indigo's in the next night or two so stay tuned. And most of all, I am so happy that Oslo is so sure of who he is that he doesn't mind that his tree is different from everyone else's for he knows it is still his tree, and it will be for a long time to come, as will this beautiful planet of his that he is helping to keep healthy.

Below, Oslo is giving his tree a hug - so proud of all that decorating!

Happy holidays sweet, thoughtful, visionary Oslo. I love your tree, and so much more, I love love love you. xxx


  1. i am so touched by this and confess i am actually teary. beautiful.

  2. yay Sacha, i feel the same way and it is wonderful to see that such intuitive and thoughtful parents are able to raise such thoughtful and intuitive children... i only hope we are doing as good a job with our wee man... thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures and family with us all


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