We have just went and got our Yule tree. Haven't decorated it yet but will consider posting pictures when I have it lit and decorated. So where actually does the Yule tree come from? Many stories are out there that talk about the Christian origins of decorating a tree. But I believe the tree was the replacement of the Yule log as fireplaces became less common.
It also serves as a symbol of rebirth and life everlasting, both things that are present in the pagan Yule ceremonies. Evergreens have always held a special place in the heart of men, the only tree that seems to conquer winter and all its harsh weather.
Now that we have covered the possible origins of the Yule tree, what is the best way to pick a tree? Below is a list copied from commercialappeal.com
- Look for a tree with a healthy green appearance.
- Run your hand along the branches to see if the needles are fresh and flexible. They should not come off in your hand.
- Bump the trunk of the tree on the ground. If lots of needles fall off, the tree is not fresh. You can expect a few brown needles to fall off.
- Make sure the base of the trunk is straight and 6 to 8 inches long so it can fit into a tree stand.
- If you see splits in the trunk, the tree may have dried out previously.
- Locally grown trees are usually fresher and less expensive than trees that have been shipped from a distance.
- If possible, cover your tree with some type of tarp during transport to prevent it from drying out, particularly if it is going to be transported on top of your car.
- If the tree is going to be kept outside several days before it goes into the house, place it out of direct sun and wind to keep it from drying out.
- If the base of the tree has been cut within the last four to six hours, it will not need to be recut; if longer, the base should be recut so the tree can absorb water.
- Cut straight across the trunk (not at an angle) and remove an inch or more from the bottom.
- A cut tree will absorb a lot of water, particularly during the first week. It can use four to six quarts of water per day.
I recommend getting a real tree if you have the room, if for no other reason, at least because it is better for the environment. There are no readily accessible places at which to recycle a fake PVC tree. And a Yule tree farm, even if they use pesticides and herbicides, at least they replant what they cut and in the meantime the uncut trees are absorbing carbon dioxide and putting out oxygen.
And when the season is over, you have several options as what to do with the tree. You can compost for mulch, sometimes your local municipality may take it and use it themselves for mulch. My local municipality has a program in which they take the tree and sink it local ponds for fish habitats.
A third option is to buy a tree with roots and plant it in your yard, if you have the room. I'm not qualified to talk about finding the right species for your soil and climate. So seek advice from a qualified professional. But remember that this tree should only be indoors for about a week.
So good luck in your Yule tree hunting.