It’s lurked there just a few days too many, drying up, dropping needles, drooping branches, glass baubles touching the carpet. It must go! But how very sad.
I once read a story about a little fir tree in the forest who grew beautiful and straight and proud. Each year, men would come into the forest and chop down the best looking trees and take them away to somewhere special.The little fir tree was always left behind because he was too little. Finally the day arrived, when the men came and took him away, since he had reached a great size. He was the tallest, the straightest, the bushiest fir tree, and all the men remarked on what a fine tree he was.
The young tree was so excited and proud. He had been specially selected for his beauty. Surely he must be going somewhere to be honoured and loved. And indeed this was the case. He was taken to a fabulous big house, placed in the centre of the biggest room with a great crackling fire. He was dressed in gorgeous coloured tinsel and lights and glass balls. The little fir tree could scarcely contain his excitement, but he remember to stand straight and tall, only trembling his excited branches to shimmer the glittering baubles that caught the flickering light from the fire.
The next day he was the centre of attention of everyone in the house. “What a beautiful tree,” remarked everyone, and the little fir tree was so happy and proud.
That night, when everyone had gone to sleep, the little fir tree sighed in happiness, causing the sparkly background decorations to shimmer. He remembered the whole day where he had been honoured with a shiny star on his top most branch, and all the children had sat round him and opened their presents. ‘Surely I am the luckiest, most beautiful, most loved fir tree ever,’ he thought, as he too drifted off into a contented sleep full of dreams of glory.
Next day, the servants of the house came to him and took off his fine glass balls, plucked the tinsel from his branches and put away his sparkly star. ‘What have I done,’ he cried as they dragged him off and shoved him in the old barn at the back of the house.
Without the warm, crackling fire near him, and no longer with roots to reach deep into the warm earth, the little fir tree was cold, and terribly lonely. Months passed and no one came to visit him.
Finally , one day came when the great doors of the barn were opened, and the little tree’s heart leapt. ‘They have come back for me. They will take me back into the warm place and decorate my splendid branches once more.’
‘Yeugh, what a terribly dried up old Christmas tree this is,’ said one of the men. And they took it away and burnt it on the bonfire.
So you see, each year, I feel dreadfully sorry for my Christmas tree, and hate to part with the thing that has given me and my family so much joy and twinkles.
…..but now I know my Christmas tree has a higher purpose. In Zermatt, there are special areas to bring your old tree, and the Gemeinde (town council) take them all away, shred them, and use them to sprinkle on the paths. That way, no matter how icy and hard packed the snow may be, your old Christmas tree, and countless others, give your feet traction on the public pathways, and stop you from slipping over. Genius! The added bonus is that sometimes, someone forgets to remove a few bits of tinsel, and walking the forest paths of Zermatt is even more joyful as you come across tiny bits of sparkling ribbon, gleaming up at you through the snow.