Sweatshop Christmas Trees and a Mega Fruit and Veggie Haul

Organic haul! Organic mangos, bananas, limes, papayas, avocados, oranges, sweet potatoes, carrots, Brussels sprouts, ginger root, and star fruit.

We made a mega fruit and veggie haul Saturday. A small, family-owned market a couple of towns away was having a sale on organic produce, and my husband and I, out on errands, happened to drive by and spot the sign. Coincidentally, we were on our way to the area “super”market to stock up on fruits and veggies. I had two-and-a-half bananas and a star fruit for breakfast this morning (the dogs shared the half banana): I hope my husband took a few oranges with him to work. There’s going to be at least a few fruit mono meals on the menu this week. Win!

We’re discussing the Christmas tree situation. Since we host the annual Christmas party at our house, and his family are real traditionalists, we feel obliged to hang some lights and bows here and there. But his mother has asked for a family photo around ‘the Christmas tree’. The thing is, we don’t have a Christmas tree, and neither my husband nor I have ever wanted one. So yesterday, the convo started about what to do.

He suggested an artificial tree, thinking it would be easiest and best ecologically. A real tree, he argued, would die in vain for the sake of a stupid family photo. I love that he was thinking in those terms, but I wonder if a small, potted arborvitae, kept outdoors until party day, then brought in, strung with lights, then returned to a sheltered spot outdoors until spring, would be even better. Come spring, we could plant it in the ground, where it will live and grow and be habitat for wildlife. No one dies, my mother-in-law gets a family photo: everyone wins.

I’ve poked around at the artificial trees that are offered for sale at Christmas, and hate what I see. They’re a nasty cocktail of petrochemicals and lead that are not just poisonous to us and our dogs, but they’re also butt ugly. They smell weird, look fake, cost a lot, are made in China sweatshops, and once they’ve outlived their welcome, get hauled to the landfill.

Things that are manufactured in sweatshops have a palpable bad vibe to them. And I solemnly believe that when we bring them into our homes, they bring in their misery with them. Call it an emotional footprint, negative energy, or shade. It was created from unhappiness, by women (largely) who are trapped, neglected, overworked, and miserably underpaid.

If you can’t feel it while strolling through a God-awful place like Wal Mart, try turning up your radar. It’s tangible. I don’t care to bring this into our home.

And finally, real trees that are cut down and propped in our living rooms may be better for Mother Earth, but killing a tree for any reason – especially for something as impractical as a Christmas prop - turns me off completely.

In accordance with Feng Shui, I suggested to my husband that we bring a water feature – like a large indoor fountain – into the house at the building’s center point, and decorate it for the holiday. He speculated on what his mom’s reaction that would be. We both cringed at the thought. I really dislike the pressures that Christmas brings.

For more on balancing your home’s energies and living in harmony with nature, check out the principles of Feng Shui. Some call it pseudoscience, but I’m not one of them. What and who we surround ourselves with becomes a part of us.

I’m pretty obsessed right now with Good Earth organic blue corn chips, and we picked up three bags Saturday. Corn chippies are one of my favorite vegan junk snacks. They’re high calorie and loaded with salt (unless you get the unsalted), and they don’t offer much nutrition at all. But I’ve been seriously craving them with salsa or guac. This will pass, but I’ll admit that I even had a few for breakfast today. Not good. But yummy.

Live in peace.

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