When my friend Ian asked me, " What do you want for Christmas? "
"I want a Christmas tree!" I blurted out without thinking. I came to Vancouver in August this year, and was excited to be celebrating Christmas for the first time. On the top of my wish list: decorating my own tree!
Back home in China we don't really celebrate Christmas, but do have other festivals with a similar feel or intention. For example, during the Chinese Spring Festival, there are different nationalities from different regions. There is a big difference between the customs but similar to Christmas the tone is one of reunion and festivity. Every family pastes hand made labels in their windows. On the eve of the Chinese new year, the fragrance of dumplings merges in the air and people join together and take their time to enjoy the big family dinner.A week before the Chinese Spring Festival, housewives will clean the entire house. This is intended to " discard the old and bring in the new to celebrate the coming year." There are similarities between this and Christmas, the biggest festival and celebration of the year. Both share the tradition of decorating. The Chinese have their windows, the Western people have their trees. In Canada you can let a tree warm your heart and under the tree you can make a good wish for the New Year. It is joyful time!
So, I started a journey to find a tree: To plant a live Christmas tree, to cut a live tree , or to buy an artificial tree. That is the question!
大部分家庭选择离家附近的圣诞树市场或超市买一棵树，简单方便，省时省力，整个圣诞假期，房间里都会弥漫着树木的清香，那股清新芬芳的气息令人的心情无比愉悦。寻树之旅的第一个周末，我和朋友一起去了位于GRANVILLE Street的Aunt Leah’s TREE LOT，原来圣诞树分这么多品种：Grand fir, Douglas Fir, Noble Fir……不同品种的树，价格区间在7－14加币/ 英尺，按高度定价，树的支架需另外付费。这个教会组织的圣诞树市场会把卖树筹得的款项捐赠给慈善机构，买回一棵心仪的圣诞树，同时又做了善事，一举两得，何乐而不为！？
Most families choose to buy a live cut tree from a Christmas tree lot or a nearby supermarket. It’s simple and time-saving. Throughout the Christmas holidays, the whole room will be filled with the fragrance of the tree. Breathing in the pure and fresh fragrance creates a joyous mood.
On the first weekend we went to Aunt Leah's Tree lot which is located GRANVILLE Street. There were a variety of Christmas trees - Grand Fir, Douglas Fir, Noble Fir ...... According the height of tree, the price ranged from $7-14 CAD per foot. Tree Stands were an additional fee. The church organized the tree lot. The profits will go to charity. Buying a favorite Christmas tree whilst doing a good deed…why not?!
寻树之旅的第二个周末，我们一起去了位于RICHMOND的一个圣诞权农场“U－CUT”，农场估计种植了成千上万棵不同年份的圣诞树，据介绍，一棵高达6 feet 的圣诞树约需要10年的成长期。买家可以在林子里一边溜达一边挑树，相中了就自己当伐木工，亲手拿锯子锯下来，或者也可让农场里的工人帮你连根把圣诞树挖出来，这些圣诞树一般都比较矮小，因为高大的树根茎部分也会相当重。除了在H－M农场，你也可以在加拿大各大圣诞树市场买到有球根的圣诞树。圣诞节过后，移植到自家后院，让孩子和圣诞树一起慢慢长大，哈！这样环保的方式正合我意。来农场买树的家庭，还可以在那里享受热狗、咖啡、烤棉花糖，好多家庭都是举家出动，买一棵圣诞树已然演变成了一次周末郊游，一段由亲情、友情编织而成的欢乐时光！这一趟寻树之旅，我一直在想，如果每年我们种一棵树，而不是砍一棵树，世界将会改变它的模样。
The second weekend trip spent searching for the perfect tree took me to the H and M "U-CUT” Christmas tree farm located in Richmond. The farm had planted thousands of Christmas trees throughout the years. I was informed that a 6 feet Christmas tree took at least 10 years to grow. Buyers strolled around the farm and to pick their trees. They then cut the Christmas tree by themselves, or with the help of the tree farm staff. Children, families and loving couples stroll though the field of trees searching for the "their perfect tree."
If, like me, you want a living tree that you can plant afterwards you have a number of choices. Typically these trees will be a little smaller, as the larger ones come with a heavy root ball. You can buy them at most tree lots (although they usually have a limited stock, as demanded by us the consumer). You find them at garden centres or you can ask for the farm workers at H and M Christmas Tree Farm to dig out the tree with the roots ball attached . The advantage of this is that after Christmas you can transfer it to your yard and let the children grow up with the Christmas tree (lol!) This sustainable option was the perfect solution for me. Not only can you buy a tree from the farm but you can also enjoy hot dogs, coffee, and roast marshmallows over an open fire. Whole families can enjoy the outdoor weekend which makes for a joyful tree hunting trip - and makes me wonder "what would the world look like if we all planted a tree every year, instead of cutting one?"
Buying an artificial tree was a no go for me, as you just can't beat the smell of a real tree! However, the advantages to a plastic tree are you don’t have to feed it, you don’t have to water it and you don’t have to clean the pine needles up from the floor every day! You can also use it for many years so this is a viable option for many families.
From an economic point of view, planting a live tree can be expensive depending on when and where you buy it. The cost of 6 feet tall Christmas tree ranges from $45-100 Canadian dollars, but to have the roots dug up in our case (with a 6 foot tree) would have added an extra $130 Canadian dollars to the final price.
We could have dug it out ourselves, however considering the ground was frozen solid made me value the immense work that would go into removing the tree and the added cost. Timing makes a big difference - so I learned that with a little early planning, and or luck with the weather, digging might be an option. However, there were some very nice 4 feet high trees in plastic pots that would make ideal Christmas trees, and then grow up to be beautiful landscaping in our yard.
If you looked to buy a fake tree with lights in the local Rona, it would set you back by $100-$300!!
最终，我们选择了一棵6 feet 的Douglas圣诞树，用水桶加沙石的方式省去买支架的42加币。点亮圣诞树的那一刻，看着满树的雪花,彩球，蝴蝶结，我心欢喜。
In the end, I chose a cut 6 feet Douglas Fir Christmas tree. I used a bucket of gravel instead of purchasing a tree stand which saved me an extra $42 CAD .
At the moment my Christmas tree is glistening with lights and laden with snowflakes and baubles. Bows also adorn the tree. The sight brings cheer to my heart.