Honor the Tree

by L.Cota Nupa Maka

Tuesday, January 15, 2019 5:24 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

The fun your family had picking out the Christmas tree? Has this been tarnished by our total lack of respect for it once we are done with Christmas. What do you do with your Christmas tree once you’re through with the holidays?

How do we honor the Christmas tree after it has shared its beauty and life with us? It saddens me to see the Christmas trees thrown out along the curb for the trash truck to gather. Indigene Art Forms I feel like we are a throwaway society and the lack of honor for a once living thing has been disrespected.

In the days when we use to have a fresh tree, how can I say a live one if it was cut down, we never just threw it on the garbage heap. The kids and I would undecorate it and then drag it out into the back yard. In the deep snow, we put a five-gallon pail and filled it with sand then set the tree in that to stand upright.

Then the fun part began with decorations made of cranberries and dry fruit. We took pine cones and mixed up a bowl of ground suet and bird seeds. Add some honey and peanut butter and you have a spread that can be put on the pine cones. With sticky hands, we packed the mixture in pine cones and hung them from the tree with wire. Old withered apples and carrots went on the tree during the winter months. Even a bagel or donuts found its way to the inner tree branches for the small birds to enjoy. Nothing was wasted and the animals and birds certainly did appreciate the treats.

We even strung grapes and cut oranges for the cardinals who came looking for a juicy bite. Hung among the suet blocks the tree looked just as festive as when it sported lights and shiny ornaments.

The squirrels and other small animals, I am sure in the wee hours of the morning, stopped by to have a nibble of our gourmet selections. Perhaps a deer or two found a treat hanging on that tree during the long cold winter months.

After the winter came to a close and the spring threatened to burst through the frozen ground we held a bond fire. I can recall when the kids were little we would pile up all the branches that had blown down during the winter months for a bond fire. Right on the top of the pile would go the Christmas Tree still dangling some of its tinsel. It was the crown jewel of the fire and in a kind of the ritual way, it was the saying goodbye to the winter and hello to the spring. There was always a great breath of awe when the fire reached the tree and it burst into flame.

The word BOND FIRE is used so often but the meaning of these fires has long been forgotten. In the olden days, the bond fires could be seen for miles up and down the valley as families celebrated the first signs of spring. It was a time for families to gather around the bond fires and talk and share the stories of winters past. In the times we held them in our back yard in Maine we had mostly neighbors and friends over for a weenie roast and some hot chocolate. It was fun sitting on a log and just soaking in the heat of the fire and watching the kids throw sticks into the flames.

For days I would smell the sweet smoke on my clothes it was a great way to honor the little tree that gave us so much joy.


We do not use a fresh tree now but have over the years chosen to use an artificial one. It is better to spare the trees that are so precious to our well being. At first, it was hard to get used to the change, the conflict over the fresh versus the artificial still goes on in our family.

If you do not use a real tree then honor a small bush or tree outside and make it your nature tree. It can become a tree for the small animals and birds in honor of the season of the giveaway. 

Wise Woman Herbal Ezine – January 15, 2019

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