My family and friends know me as someone who isn't inclined to chop down a beautiful, carbon-storing live tree from a field just to haul it inside our living room for a few weeks. But I am drawn to the aesthetic side of Christmas trees...growing up I loved doing the decorations, the lights. And as an adult I love the extra beauty the whole shebang lends to the living space during the holidays. So for the past few years I've tried alternatives to the big chopped tree (which by the way, I've actually never had in my own home). Last year it was a potted tree.
This year, I got the idea to maybe cut a branch from one of our trees outdoor and spray paint it gold. So I went outside and started scouting the yard for a good candidate. The mesquite needs trimming but doesn't quite have the uniform shape I like. The palo verde, the guava and the pomegranate are leafless right now, but I don't want to cut them too much, because they're of fruit-bearing age.
Then, as I was walking by the grapefruit tree, I noticed something uncanny.
I couldn't help but be struck by how much the grapefruits reminded me of Christmas ornaments. Suddenly, the idea of hanging sparkly spheres on a fake stand-in for a tree in our living room seemed a poor substitute for the real thing. Then it dawned on me, this image of a fecund fruit bearing tree quite possibly is one of the original inspirations for an adorned Christmas tree. I don't profess to know how today's commercial and materialistic-heavy traditions evolved from the ancient traditions of the celebration of the rebirth of the solar year. But I do know that in beholding our grapefruit tree, so beautiful and full of life, promise, and delicious fruits, I lost the desire to find a branch and decorate it with plastic balls. I can find another way to put some glitter in the house these holidays. But I think we have our Christmas tree already.