Posted on Jan 14, 2015
By Ellie Laks, Founder of The Gentle Barn
At The Gentle Barn, we spend a lot of time trying to figure out why someone or something has to die for us to celebrate. For example, our society celebrates Thanksgiving by slaughtering billions of turkeys, family gatherings are characterized by barbecuing cows, chickens and pigs, and, Christmas is commemorated by cutting down living trees. The ritual of the Christmas tree came originally from the Pagan holiday of finding a fallen log and bringing it into the home to decorate and then burn in the fire place for good luck in the New Year. This somehow evolved into finding a perfectly good, beautiful, living tree, chopping it down, decorating it in our homes, and then tossing it out on the curb to die. Maybe we could think things through more and include reverence for all life in our rituals?
At The Gentle Barn, we celebrate with a plastic tree that we store in a box each year and take out to decorate each holiday. It is just as twinkly with its lights and merry in our living room. In fact, even more so, because we don’t have to think of the life slowly draining out of it. The sight of all the decaying trees rotting on the sidewalk bothers us, a lot. It looks like we are not the only ones, because this week a couple decided to gather all the Christmas trees they could find and bring them to The Gentle Barn’s animals to enjoy. Christmas trees are an excellent source of Vitamin C and fiber, and they give the animals something exciting and fun to do during the day. The goats, sheep, pigs, turkeys, and chickens loved them! It has been a party all week!
I am not trying to make anyone feel bad or defensive by writing this! I am just trying to help us all question the traditions we have and the idea that maybe it’s time to try harder, be kinder, be more thoughtful, and practice more reverence? If you can switch to a plastic tree, GREAT! If not, then maybe you could at least bring your tree after the holidays to some animals to enjoy somewhere, perhaps to The Gentle Barn?
We have evolved physically. We have come from the waters, grown legs, and, learned to walk upright. We have mastered language and have become quite refined. Moving forward, I think we are heading towards a more spiritual evolution. It is our task to evolve to be more kind, gentler, more thoughtful, healthier, and look at all of our similarities rather than our differences. It is not just about being kinder to people, or animals, or nature, it is about us being more thoughtful in all areas! For all of us, there are ways to be more thoughtful and evolve! Thank you for being on this journey with me!
Written by Ellie Laks
Founder, The Gentle Barn