...if you have a backyard and a kitchen, this blog might be for you!

a chronicle of tips and recipes on everything from gardening to canning and baking your produce, even if you're planted in suburbia...in fact, especially if you are planted in suburbia.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Small Business Saturday Goes Holiday Green

Black Friday--Cyber Monday.  Between them falls Small Business Saturday.  What do you do with that?
Not that many years ago, the "norm" of what we patronized as "business" was indeed local and small.  More than likely we knew the owner or at least his son. Putting attention to it seemed irrelevant.  Not so these days.  Now people are intentional about putting pennies where their neighbors' next Thanksgiving dinner gets funded. 
Our own nod to the local economy this year has very much been related to the farm life around us.  We shopped farmer's markets all summer, bought our apples and cider and winter squash from farm goods stores this fall.  Now we take that support to the local tree farm.

If you've never decked a live Christmas tree, or if you've only bought one from the parking lot of your favorite grocery store, you might want to consider merging your intentionality about supporting the local economy with your objectives for exploring family tradition and heritage by searching out a local Christmas tree farm.

This year, the day after Thanksgiving was a beautiful day, warm and bright and perfect for choosing a tree. 
The tree selection at the nursery near our home was excellent.
"Even if I weren't buying, I'd come here just to walk and breathe the air!" They say olfactory memory is the strongest sort of memory. What a great way to trigger the spirit of Christmas, even before you open the totes and bags of decorations!

What's more there's that entertainment value found in watching the nursery staff work with your chosen tree.
Watching the tree on the tree shaker is certainly good for a few giggles.

Then as they prep your tree for loading...
 ...you can browse the nursery's gift shop.

While the shop is busy, still the pace is not frenzied;
nor is it overwhelming as are many holiday displays in department stores.

You still get ideas for decking that new tree...

...or the mantle...

...and the hot cider is often complimentary.

After a just a little shopping, the tree is ready to load and make its way to your home.

So while the tree farm's fields may look too pristine from the road to warrant cutting, still...riding the hay wagon to the field, choosing the tree, flipping the tassel on your Santa hat out of your eyes as you take a saw to the base--all these bring with them a greater holiday reality than you'll find digging plastic branches out of a box under the stairwell.

Some people use a live potted tree destined to be planted after the holiday, but those who decorate with a tree cut from its native forest gain a "foolish" sort of wisdom that will anchor hidden roots into their collective family soul.  For sure, a new tree will be planted by the farm's staff; but this tree's sap has pulled its last from the soil.   The sacrifice of life--even plant life with its sweet aroma wafting from the cut branch, this cost points to a deeper, more distant mystery: one that Christmas Advent barely broadcasts, one hidden well enough that young joy isn't jarred by the sight of it in the doorway. 

Many use the ash from palm fronds to celebrate Ash Wednesday, that church holiday lodged in the dark and cold of winter.  Not us, though...our family devotions will hopefully use the ash from this blessed tree, and we will receive its final gift for celebrating its and our Creator.

Happy holidays!

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