It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas

Ahh, Christmas. The time of year that is brought so clearly into focus by… smells.

I’ve always found the sense of smell to be the most evocative reminder of memories – particularly childhood memories, and Christmas is certainly no exception. Cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves used in any kind of cooking remind me of the many biscuits and cakes we had around Christmas, as well as the mulled wine that was readily available! Aromas of chocolate, chestnuts and cheese all bring back fond yuletide memories. But the scent I find takes me back the quickest, is that of pine needles from a real Christmas tree.

My husband and I have the same argument every year- does the Christmas tree need to be that big? (yes), why is it so expensive? (money well spent, in my opinion), why don’t we get an artificial one? (divorce papers threatened.)

Not only are artificial trees really bad for the environment (non-recyclable plastic, huge carbon emissions to make) but they don’t have the festive scent of joy! I look on in horror as my friend gets out her artificial tree from the attic, carefully packed away with the lights and tinsel still in place to save time… (yes, we are still friends, but it takes a lot to overlook such monumental flaws, trust me!)

A real tree is a necessity for Christmas – part of the fun is the continual vacuuming up of needles for the next three months – right? I mean, who doesn’t love scrabbling under a tree dropping bits down your top to ensure it’s topped up with water? So, yes, I get the draw backs, but I still love my tree.

However, I was a bit concerned about the impact even these trees have on the environment. Depending on the ethics of the shop you get them from, they can go from highly sustainable, to err, well, not at all really! So I investigated buying a potted Christmas tree – one you can plant in your garden at the end of the season. This seems like a fabulous idea, but I am slightly concerned that, after a few years, we will run out of space for retired Christmas trees. And that’s with our large, out of control garden! What about people with a little garden, or no garden?

So, after even more research, I found a few companies that will RENT you a Christmas tree. It comes in a pot, you use it, decorate it, enjoy its festive smell and Christmas goodness, and, when you’re done, you send it back so it can continue to grow and be used by others in Christmases Yet to Come (hopefully without a hooded spectre involved.) What a fabulous idea! It means you can be fully green, without having to grow your own forest of pine trees over the years.

I’m not sure what their policy is on Christmas Trees that have been knocked over or mauled by cats though. Hmm – best to check. Mikey the menace could strike at any time…

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