Christmastime. A pleasant time of year for all to sit around in the warmth and drink hot cocoa and sing songs. A nice, happy time for all.

      Unless you're a tree! Yes, my brethren, my fellow humans... Christmastime is a time of HORROR and PAIN and FEAR for various kinds of evergreen trees. Be they fir, or spruce, or pine... Christmastime (or Yule as the Pagans call it) is the WORST time of the year for trees. Hacked off at the roots, left to die a slow and painful death as people merrily string its corpse with pretty lights and colors. This is, to the trees, how we would feel if trees crucified a human being once a year or beheaded a man, hung him from the ceiling, and decorated his decaying corpse.

      What's worse, most of these trees are not recycled after this horrific display of brutality and torture. They are thrown into landfills or dumped in ditches, discarded like so much trash.

      Yes, my friends, the life of a Christmas tree is short and full of pain. Raised in crowded conditions on tree farms, they grow for a few years and then they are unceremoniously hacked off at the base, hauled screaming in agony on car roofs or in truck beds, and then set up in peoples houses and festively decorated while they sit and moan their last dying moans. When Christmas is over or the look and smell of tree's corpse is no longer pleasing to the humans, it is tossed away like garbage. No one ever says they're sorry, or asks permission, or even thinks about the life that was murdered for a once-a-year occurrance. All we here at PETOP can say is, thank goodness it's only once a year!

      For far too long these and other abuses have been going on. We of PETOP have nothing against eating plants (after all, what would we eat? We don't eat meat either! Well, most of us don't). What we DO object to are abuse, mistreatment, and lack of respect for the plants that are in our lives.

      The following is a list of our complaints:

1. We are tired of plants being used for stupid, wasteful reasons. Our chief among these being the ritual of using real trees for Christmastime. That's why our slogan is "FIR IS MURDER! FAUX IS YOUR FRIEND!" We strongly suggest that people buy fake (faux) trees for this purpose.

2. We are tired of plants being mistreated. This mostly happens after the plant has been killed, however, because unlike animals, plants do not respond positively to abuse while alive. Chief among our concerns in this regard is wastefulness - if you kill a plant, kill it for a good reason. Eat it, make it into clothing, burn it for fuel or warmth, make it into furniture, or use it for art. We don't care, as long as its sensible and will be used for a long time or until it's worn out.

3. We are tired of plants not being respected. Thankfully, the revelation that plants respond well to positive speech stimuli has helped plant treatment a lot. Houseplants in particular have easy lives for the most part. But other plants are not so lucky. They are treated purely as a commodity: something made, harvested, changed, and used, then thrown away. Most people, excepting many Pagans, do not respect plants. They don't even think about the plants that went into their food, let alone thanking the food for its sacrifice... they just eat it. Some may thank God, but really, the plants put more work into their life than God did. And then, of course, there are ritual uses for plants wherein the plant is used once for decoration, then thrown away. This is unacceptable.
    This lack of respect for plants seems to stem from people's lack of respect of life - even their own life - in general. And it needs to change. Because this flawed way of thinking about plants and life is killing our planet. We need to respect life so we can save it.

      It's time for a change. If you're going to use a plant of any kind for a one-time non-eating use, like decorating for a ritual, please at least recycle it when you're done. Though we'd prefer all Christmas trees to be faux, if you insist on using a real tree, at least recycle it when you're done. Many communities collect peoples' used Christmas trees and turn them into mulch or other products. Or you could use your old christmas tree for firewood. Or furniture. Or make it into decorative carvings. But don't put them in landfills! Don't dump them in ditches!

      Respect your elders, man.

      .       .     .     (link) VIEW THE PDF PAMPHLET (link)

      Some songs written in honor of all the trees that are slaughtered for Christmas each year:

“Faux Fir”
(To the tune of “Oh Christmas Tree”)
By Rev. Beautiful Pyre (Pope Fay)

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree,
Sacred, sublime in your glory.
Or at least you were, before the saw-
Blades took you into the deep maw
Of a holiday, a holiday,
That only lasts two nights a year.

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree,
You are so wild and so free,
Now that they’ve torn your roots apart,
Because they have a frozen heart,
For chlorophyll, for chlorophyll,
Anything that li-ives, they will kill.

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree,
I’d rather that it had been me.
They sacrificed you on the altar of
A holiday dedicated to love,
And harmony, and harmony,
I wish that that it had been me.

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree,
You are perennial just like me.
Or at least you were, before you died,
Am I the only one who cried
For your murder, for your murder,
Who else cried for your murder?

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree,
Why don’t they get it, why don’t they see
That the death of such a beautiful life,
Is just so wrong and is not right,
For a holiday, a holiday,
They killed you for their holiday.
Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree,
They killed you for a two-day holiday.

“Oh Dear Tannenbaum”
By Reverend Beautiful Pyre

Poor little tree, killed for your fir,
I pine with rage at your murder;
Your life ended for a one-month decoration,
I scream my rage at your desecration;
Evergreen never again, oh Tannenbaum,
I weep my rage at how you’ve been wronged;
Fir is murder, people should invest in faux,
And until they do, I will tell them so.

©2003 PETOP