Yesterday I popped along to New Park in the New Forest to buy a Forestry Commission Christmas Tree. Growing up with real trees at Christmas means that for me if we don't have a real tree at Christmas time then somethings missing. But apart from smelling and looking festive there's an ethical side to buying a real Christmas Tree from the Forestry Commission.The Forestry Commission only sell trees that are grown in the UK in a well managed way, with more trees planted every year than harvested. Real trees use about ten times fewer materials and five times less energy than artificial trees too and there's knowledgeable and friendly staff to hand to help you choose the shape, size and colour that suits you best, and wrap it up ready for you to take home.
I was served by a lovely chap, a Voluntary Ranger -Voluntary Rangers play a key part the Forestry Commission, more about them in the New Year - I've even applied to become one myself. I had a question pre-sale:
"My tree will be in the same room as a log burner, will the heat affect the tree and is there anything I can do to 'help' the tree if the room gets too warm?"
'When you take the tree home stand it in a bucket of water for a day before bringing it inside, even better if you can cut a little bit from the bottom of the tree first. Choosing a stand where you can introduce water to the tree will also help'
Satisfied that a real tree would cope in our home, he helped me choose a tree, holding them up so I could see how the branches fell. The bays of trees only had a dozen or so tress left, he told me they had been full and sales had been high this year, good to see. I chose my tree, a 5ft Nordman Fir which he then wrapped and carried to my car before I paid my £42.
And yes, I know £42 is a lot of money and that I could have bought a fake tree that I could use year after year for a not much more money but buying a Christmas Tree from the Forestry Commission means more to me that a nice smell and tradition, it's a small way that we as a family can give something back to the Forestry Commission who's forests we enjoy as a family every week for free throughout the year - and when you look at it that way, it's a bargain.
Much respect and love to the Forestry Commission for bringing my family so much happiness over the year and for allowing me to be an official Forestry Commission Blogger when I approached them to ask, it's an absolute honour and I look forward to more in 2014. And to Volunteer Rangers everywhere I raise my glass and bid you a very Merry Christmas x
To find out if there's a Forestry Commission Sales Centre selling real Christmas Trees near you click here and check on the map. The New Park Sales Centre is open from 10am -4pm and do hurry because they are selling out fast, all 4ft trees are now sold out, 5ft, 6ft and 7ft trees are availble (correct on date of publication)