Today I had the pleasure of helping Bill Harman and Lenny Palmer of the Westford Conservation Trust plant a Christmas tree at the Abbot school in Westford. We planted it near the bird feeder that the Trust tends for the school.

The idea is that the tree, decorated with suet and birdseed, will help attract birds while adding year-round foliage and beauty. And of course we hope it will grow and be a lovely addition to the school grounds for years to come.

This is a change for me. For years now my family has been going to Christmas tree farms to cut down our tree. This gets us out in the fresh air together, saves money and gets us a tree that stays fresh much longer than a precut tree. Precut trees are cut as early as September, I’ve been told, and are usually not very fresh.

But I feel somewhat bad about cutting down a lovely tree to be used for 10 days or so as a decoration. We do put it outside in a stand after the season is over and put on suet and seed bells to attract birds. It lasts for about two months and then starts to turn yellow. These trees are raised to be cut for Christmas trees but I still don’t really like the idea of cutting them — I do enjoy the act itself, I freely admit. And once they are in the house they add so much to the holiday feeling that I do it year after year.

But this year so far I’ve planted one tree and not cut down any. I feel good about that. We are thinking of buying a live tree in a root ball, using it as a Christmas tree and planting it in the spring. Its much more expensive but I think it might be the best thing for us to do.

Whatever we do I’ll write about it here.

I’d love to hear about what you about a tree at Christmas time. Please leave a comment, if you are so moved, and let me know.