Our Christmas Letter

Posted by: Richenda at Saturday December 15, 2007 in

Well, we put up the Christmas Ladder today. A conversation piece, to be sure. lol. Most people sort of blink when they come into the house and wonder why on Earth someone would wrap lights around an aluminum ladder and put it in the living room?

In my defense, this was not my original idea. I saw this done first at a friend’s house, Dr. W.D.J. Hers was an artier, folksier ladder, true. An old one made of wood. So that was a bit better than mine.

But…our old wooden ladder spent too many soggy seasons in the barn and was too covered in spiders for me to use. Ick. Even if every incoming arachnid wore a tiny little Santa hat, I still don’t think I’d want them in the house. (Though I suppose there were spiders hiding ‘round the manger.)

[Note to spiders: You know, the Santa hat thing is a good idea. Perhaps if you wore them, it would take the edge off the spookiness of all those extra eyes? :) ]

Hm…spider eyes and hats aside…back to the ladder thing.

So, my friend used a wooden one, but we didn’t have a wooden ladder that would work. The ladder we did have was a big aluminum job we bought in 2003 or so….which might have been the first year I was able to convince my family to use it.

So why did I do it, why? Why a Christmas Ladder and not a Christmas tree? Because:

1. The Christmas tree industry contributes to ecological problems including carbon emission issues. Yes, Christmas tree farms are lovely and they also create habitat (there are a few near us and they are quite pretty). But, come January, all the holiday trees, all of them all of them, decompose and that is a carbon emission problem. Plus, many trees go unpurchased, and so they rot for nothing. A few decomposing trees is probably not a big deal. But after Christmas, there are millions and millions of them decomposing, and that is a problem.

2. Trees have to be transported by truck to cities everywhere, and that means a lot of fuel burned, and all the other ecological costs associated with trucking transport. Buying a fake tree solves the decomposition problem and greatly reduces the transportation problem. But, that fake tree is made with a lot of plastics and chemicals and God (please!) help us when it’s time for that sucker to decompose.

3. I already have a ladder. I am not contributing to more waste and more transport to use it.

4. The most important thing about Christmas is not the tree—Its Jesus, silly! What does it really matter if you have a tree? They are pretty and festive but they are not necessary.

Could I solve the ecological problem differently? You bet! I think buying a live tree from a local supplier and planting it after Christmas might be the very best solution. The drawbacks are that they are expensive, hard to find, and have to be babied. I tried a few times to make this work and I just don’t have the knack for it. And when I inevitably kill the poor thing, it decomposes just like all the rest in January—and I get to feel worse about that than usual.

Best Solution? Buy a live tree (locally) and plant it after Christmas.

Second Best Solution? Decorate a ladder. It’s a triangle…if you squint a lot, it even looks (kind of sort of) the right shape.

I actually look forward to this. I wrap the ladder in lights and put a lovely Christmas Angel Doll at the top. This makes a “Christmas Feature” in my livingroom, with the busy Christmas Angel looking down. The angel can be looked at as one from God’s workshop, preparing the festivities for the coming celebration. Or, you could see the ladder as symbolizing the route to our final destination. Whatever you like best. (I imagine both.)

Plus, you never know what sleepy Christmas kitties you might find curled up underneath.

The other really fun thing is all the comments you receive. I especially suggest startling teenagers and small children. They will remark out loud at their surprise. Grown ups tend to be quieter, and look askance at the thing or demand a full explanation. Some will treat it as a joke (my son’s dorm mates still don’t believe him) and others will think it’s a grand idea—though I have yet to hear of anyone who has followed my example. Sigh. Aw well.

So. Merry Christmas!! May you find a way to celebrate the holiday and preserve the Creation.

(The spiders think all things are possible.)

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