Christmas is over. Gone are the decorations. Central to most households was the Christmas tree.

Driving around looking at Christmas lights as a family we liked to look at trees through the living room windows and guess whether or not they were real.

For the artificial trees it is back into the box. Real trees are a little trickier. The city of Alliance has a program to pick up the evergreens and take them to the landfill. There the trees are put in a giant tub grinder and turned into mulch. This is an environmentally friendly fate for that holiday centerpiece.

Out of state Christmas trees should not be composted because of the non-native pests that may hitch a ride. Mulching is ideal though they can also be cut  up and burned in a backyard fire pit.

We hunt our Christmas tree every year. Most of the time it comes from the Black Hills National Forest west of Hill City, S.D. The four of us bundle up and head out on a forest service road to our spot. This plateau is about 6,000 feet in elevation and has snow most of the winter. This past December we found the right tree quickly and cut it down. 

Thanks to our daughter’s suggestion the tree, a Black Hills spruce, was named Samantha. She stayed in the house for a month.

We’re happy she will be used in somebody’s garden or yard this spring.

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