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A Gift For The Future



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Thanks to Trout Unlimited and the Pootatuck Watershed Association, and BSA Troop 270, this New Year offers the opportunity to give long-lasting meaning to a usually short-lived holiday tradition and one that is a quandary for some.

The ritual of procuring and decorating a Christmas tree means that, cultivated or wild, a thing of beauty and possibly a haven for small wildlife and birds is removed from nature for a mere fortnight or two, only to be discarded.

Still, it is a tradition that binds families. The selected tree is hauled from the woods (or for those who prefer a simplified version of tree hunting, removed from its hanger at the tree farm), and carried home like a victorious hunter’s trophy, lashed to the top of a vehicle.

Once maneuvered inside, furniture rearranged, this singular stalk bouquet is thrust into a holder, screwed in place, and with a little “To the left!” “To the right!” and “Just a bit back, now turn it!” the Christmas tree is ready for part two of the annual ritual.

Decorating can be a solo act or a joyous occasion involving the whole family, festive music, and a few mugs of hot chocolate. There is a simple pleasure in placing ornaments on a tree: recalling the place it was purchased, the person who gave it, the year that it first graced the branches. New ornaments join heritage ornaments, lights are lit, and the Christmas tree is ready to stand guard over packages and parcels.

But all good things must come to an end. Whether on New Year’s Day or after Three Kings Day or on the day when sweeping up fallen pine needles is the last straw, the final ritual of the season eventually takes place.

Ornaments are tenderly replaced in boxes and lights sadly unwound from the brittle branches. The Christmas tree’s brief moments of glory have passed, and the dumpster beckons.

This year, assuage the conscience that argues the waste of chopping down a living thing for brief enjoyment. Local organizations will turn Christmas trees into gifts that keeps on giving.

On January 5, residents are invited to drop off trees at the Deep Brook kiosk behind the Park & Bark Dog Park on Old Town Farm Road, from 9 am to 1 pm. Trout Unlimited and PWA will use the trees to create trout habitats. What a wonderful way to perpetuate the life of the Christmas tree.

Newtown Troop 270 Boy Scouts will be picking up Christmas trees to raise money for Scouting on January 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, and 20. A suggested donation of $10 per tree means that discarded trees will be vested in the future of local Scouts. Visit https://goo.gl/forms/J6CCAsPVz4nE5OxO2 to schedule a date for pick up.

It is a small salve to the soul, but these two opportunities give the final ritual of the Christmas tree as much meaning as they day the tree was welcomed home. Maybe a mug of hot chocolate is in order.

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