Saturday, November 22, 2008

Have Tree, Need Traditions.

I identify myself as Jewish in the cultural sense. I'm not religious at all--yet I've adhered to a longstanding tradition in my family on Christmas Day--a flick and all the chicken and broccoli one would ever want. I've found this as satisfying as eating a cold, day-old egg roll.

Every year, as the holidays near and the Christmas-themed episodes of my favorite TV shows air, I'm reminded more and more that I've always wanted a tree all my own. It's not merely bark and needles to me -- there are so many traditions that come with a tall evergreen tucked into the corner of a living room. Presents aside, there are the ornaments that bring about nostalgia, egg nog, family gathered around drinking hot chocolate from over sized mugs, and of course the requisite crackling fireplace. 

I haven't been deprived by any means. There is something strangely satisfying about the meticulous manner in which I order the blue and white colored candles of the Maccabee menorah my parents and I have used for the last fifteen years. And of course there have been presents too. Like in 1986, when I unwrapped the original Nintendo that I just stopped playing a few years ago when the B button of controller A became stuck. In the end though, lets face it. Lighting candles for eight nights and reciting a prayer in a language I don't understand does not exactly create a surge of anticipation.

This year, I've decided to stop pining (pun intended) for a tree and actually get my own. But I don't want to spend a fortune or feel guilty for killing a tree purely for my own aesthetic enjoyment.

So I ask you whether you know of any green alternatives (besides an awful-looking, pea-green plastic model) for a real tree? And also, I any DIY ornament/decorating ideas are welcome, too.