Growing up in my family, the holidays were my favorite time of year. Off from school, the anticipation of Santa, the decorations, tons of presents, usually some new toys, fun with our grandparents and family, getting all dressed up, a special dinner, and then the start of a new year. My understanding of and relationship with the holidays has morphed and evolved over time, but it's still a special time of year for me.
One thing that always cast a sad pall over New Year's Day, however, was the dismantling of all the Christmas fun. We took down the tree and put away all the decorations until next Christmas. Now I see it as closure and just as much a part of the ritual, but as a child, I hated to see the spirit of Christmas and all the nostalgia I projected onto those decorations get packed away.
Living in a city, the experience takes on a new twist. Around this time of year, on trash collection days, discarded Christmas trees pile up curbside. Former Christmas trees are suddenly rubbish. Waiting for the trash collectors. It's heartbreaking.
Well, not if my neighbors can help it. Today I learned, there's a sponsor for that. Thanks to an urban farm, two tree-care company sponsors, and the collaboration and sponsorship of various city-wide neighborhood associations* – including mine, the Queen Village Neighborhood Association headed by a true tree-lover – Philadelphians are encouraged to drop off their trees at a convenient location to recycle them.
"Instead, with sponsorship by Bartlett Tree Experts and Schectman Tree Care," said the QVNA eblast, "these volunteer groups are working to have trees chipped and reused to beautify local dog runs, community gardens and parks. To help, recycle your tree in a neighborhood near you." (If you're reading this from Philadelphia, the collection dates are January 8 and 9.)
There is a sponsor for nearly every kind of activity, event, movement, cause, or gathering. It just takes a little creativity.
Here's to a year of great ideas – and taking action on those ideas – in 2011. Happy New Year! And recycle your tree.
*Allens Lane Arts Center | Bartlett Tree Experts | East Kensington Neighborhood Association |East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association | Fishtown Neighbors Association | Friends of Eastern State Penitentiary Park |Green in Chestnut Hill (GRINCH) | Greensgrow Farms| Logan Square Neighborhood Association| Lower Moyamensing Civic Association | Manayunk Green | Mt. Airy Business Association| New Kensington CDC | Newbold Neighbors Association | Northern Liberties Neighborhood Association | Olde Richmond Civic Association | Passyunk Square Civic Association | Queen Village Neighbors Association | Schectman Tree Care| Sustainable 19125 | University City Green |University City District |