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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.
I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps. See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Christmas tease

Pete, Nicola, Lola, 9, and Nell, 6, spent three happy months during summer of 2007 traveling around Britain. Now we’re home, but the travel bug is still there. Join us for the occasional sightseeing plus tips on how to shrink your carbon footprint. This post is from Nicola.

We’re going to have a green Christmas. Nell wants it white of course and Lola wants what the Christmas cards depict. I want it to be fun and as keeping to our principles as possible – so locally acquired food, homemade treats and a sense of celebration without excessive spending.

That's easy to sort out for food and gifts. But what to do about the Christmas tree?

Around 6 million get cut down each year for their two week stint holding up the fairy. In some ways this is good – fast growing trees soak up carbon and if they are then left out with the recycling and shredded they act as carbon sinks. Where we live there aren’t many locally grown pine trees around so I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a potted real tree with healthy roots. The hitch is that potted trees don’t thrive in dry summers, especially with the neglect it will have to expect in our family.

And even if I’d gone down the tree from the corner shop route (with no certification that it was from a well managed woodland) it is still difficult to carry home. Last year I re-used the school’s real Christmas tree – for just a fiver – but it was needleless from the start and this year impossible as they’ve switched to an artifical creation.

I’ve also tried making glitter twig arrangements but the kids don’t really approve. Besides I love the idea of having a tree in the house, especially as we are having friends to stay in the run up to Christmas and family on Christmas Day.

So I lucked out when I found an artificial tree dumped on the roadside for the bin men. It’s about 1.5m high, folds flat - which made it easy to carry home - and will look fantastic covered in decorations. Not only does our tree come with a story, I hope it will be with our family for life without ever dropping a needle.

There'll still be real trees at Christmas for us as I'm planning a trip to see the lights switched on the huge Norwegian spruce in Trafalgar Square (from December 6 or if you missed it, see the pic above). This is one of those gifts - from the people of Norway given each year since 1947 - that Londoners can really look forward to, even though they know what they are getting. I'm also hoping that Pete will get me a very special Christmas present this year, a young apple tree to add to our mini orchard (three espaliered fruit trees) from tree 2 my door.

1 comment:

Nicola Baird & Pete May said...

Talking to my mum about this I found out she was at school with the child who turned the lights on that first year - a Norwegian girl called Katherine Bennett.