Our Green Christmas Tree Solution

Every day, I bike by at least one Christmas tree stand in Berlin. They have enormous stacks of wrapped up trees and displays of fresh wreaths and little bundles of pine branches. It’s all very beautiful, and it smells so lovely. But I do not stop. We aren’t putting a real tree in our 450 square foot apartment.

german christmas tree stand

We go to the hardware store to buy LED Christmas lights and plumbing parts for the sink.  I wonder to the Christmas section to look around.  There are no fake trees for sale.  In fact, I haven’t seen fake trees for sale anywhere.  But that’s okay; we’re not wanting a fake tree either.

Martin and I just don’t have room.  And when our guests come to stay with us over Christmas, we really won’t have room.

Those of you who have read my ebook, A Green Christmas, know our tight-space solution as we discuss the green Christmas tree solutions.

Living abroad, I have learned that you can’t skip things that were important to your life back home. We have to do something fun on Halloween then have a nice dinner and go to an English movie on Thanksgiving or something.  Every expat needs to do this when her new country celebrates differently (or not at all).

And I believe that everyone who doesn’t have room for a tree or won’t be home much for the holiday needs to bring a little something into her home. We picked out this tree:

metal christmas tree

It’s small.  It’s easy to store after the holiday.  It’s also sentimental.

We bought it at a little locally owned shop in the German town where Martin used to live.  (Remember how our guest on Making This Home yesterday talked about picking meaningful items instead of just stuff for our homes?  I think this might be it.)

We light the candles at dinner or when friends come over since it’s totally dark by 3:30 or 4:00 in the afternoon in Germany right now.

Candles and Christmas are magical together, don’t you think?  Do you remember candles at Christmas time from childhood?  I sure do.

We’re still adding more holiday touches in our house (like some of the tutorials for handmade ornament from repurposed materials that are in my ebook, A Green Christmas).  It’s kind of nice to slowly transform our house for the holiday as we pick up new pieces instead of doing it all in one day. I especially like little touches like this berry branch that a farmer on the edge of the city gave me.  Add a little ribbon, and the entire space begins feeling festive.

christmas kitchen

And interestingly, very few Germans have even put up their trees yet.

How do you slowly savor the season?  Do you have some solutions for slowing things down and embracing the moments?  Sipping hot chocolate perhaps or watching a favorite holiday film?  It’s time for the weekend after all, so maybe we can inspire each other.