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What your Christmas tree disposal date says about you

By Monica Boyd

If you’re anything like me, it’s just not Christmas without the scent of Pinus radiata in the living room. A cut tree means Christmas is on its way, and there’s something about its calming scent that often sees the tree permitted to hang around a lot longer than the storied “12 days”.

There’s “a few more days”, though, and there’s “god, we have to do something about the tree”. Every family is different, and every family deals with the Christmas tree in a different way.

So while Christmas becomes a mere memory as you eat the last of the truffles and vacuum up the remainder of the scattered tinsel, here’s a handy guide to what your Christmas tree disposal practices say about you.

What Christmas Tree?

You either have a potted spruce that is welcomed inside for two glorious weeks before it returns to a shady corner of the garden as an outcast for the next year, or a plastic tree, or neither. Perhaps you’ve pinned some tinsel to a standard fan, step-ladder or hat stand. Maybe you’ve done none of the above, in which case you are one of those people I narrow my eyes at come December. You own more than one Christopher Hitchens book, and a Thermomix.

Boxing Day

Christmas is done and dusted and it’s time to go to the sales/the holiday house/a sensory deprivation tank: that means no more tree! If you’re one of those people who are spotted lugging a still-lush cut tree onto the nature strip come December 26, you are likely to organise your household with military precision. Dust, glitter and animal hair makes you nervous, and you only permit the chance of fallen pine needles on the carpet because deep down you remember a time when you danced naked under a sprinkler and life was simpler.

Boxing Day, following dissection via power tools

You prefer to make life easier for the council rubbish removal workers by dismembering the Christmas tree with your trusty chainsaw (hopefully not in front of the kids). Not even Mario Lanza’s dulcet tones can drown out your lust for tree blood. You enjoy working out to a playlist of speed metal and grindcore, and once organised a paintball tournament as an office bonding exercise. As a child, you liked to throw various things into the fireplace “just to see how they burn”.

January 1

You appreciate the festive sparkle of the Christmas tree enough to let it ring in the New Year; after all, those fairy lights are kinda like indoor fireworks. You’re regularly the last to leave a party, if in fact you leave at all: more than once you’ve stayed on the couch and offered to help tidy up in the morning. You’re prone to sending emails to friends you’ve not seen within the last fortnight with a concerning amount of question marks about the status of the friendship. You often reminisce about how high school was “the best time of our lives” and you know all the words toAmerican Pie.


Taking down the Christmas tree when you go back to work for the year is adding insult to injury, so your tree tends to stay up until it takes on a distinctly crispy look. Besides, there are more important things to do right now. “I’ll put it on the to-do list” is a favourite phrase of yours. You often affect a far-away countenance, and are regularly described as “dreamy”, “thoughtful” and/or “forgetful”. You’ve seriously considered donating your body to cryogenics.

March, under the cover of darkness

It’s not unusual to see a brown Christmas tree hanging around the kerb through February. But once the second month of the year is well and truly over, there’s nothing left for late Christmas tree removal than subterfuge, smoke and mirrors, and a deep and abiding shame. One year, as the cold winds of autumn rolled in, I wrapped my long-dead tree up in a variety of sheets and snuck it down to the recycling bins at 1am. I was busted by a family of 10 or so people who’d just got back from a party. The therapy bills have been considerable.


Congratulations, you are either a committed visual merchandiser, or Santa Claus. You should be very proud of yourself.

Written by Clem Bastow,, Jan 6, 2016

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