Cutting down a Christmas tree is an age-old tradition that many Bega Valley families have enjoyed in years gone by.
But with none available this year in the region, potted pine trees that don't end up thrown to the curb in a wilting heap are the new kid on the block, and for good reasons.
Judy Geary from Bega Garden Nursey was passionate about creating a new tradition whereby trees would live and flourish well past New Year's Day.
"It seems sad to cut down trees and then there's the waste element of everyone's trees on the nature strip, or trying to get rid of a dead tree and I think the living trees are nice because it's a great way to celebrate life and renewal," she said.
Rather than getting rid of your family's tree each year, she suggested it would be great for families to reuse the same Christmas tree from year to year and watch it grow along with children.
She said people might also like to keep their tree as a bonsai by doing a root trim and putting it back in with fresh potting mix.
"You have the choice of growing a bigger tree or just keeping it like that and having it on a Christmas table with a more petite tree and all the presents around it with a nice fancy table cloth, which is what I like to do."
Ms Geary said during Christmas time the conifers do quite well indoors, but if you are using airconditioning indoors, she suggested sitting your tree in a tray of water while it lives inside to avoid soil dryness.
After Christmas your tree will enjoy a shady spot for the rest of the year.
For those who prefer to let the tree stretch out its roots a bit more, Ms Geary said it would be possible to plant your tree straight into the ground after Christmas.
They might do well with a seaweed liquid fertiliser or some blood and bone to help them grow.
The major consideration for deciding how much water to give your potted or ground-dwelling Christmas tree depends on how much wind there was in the months after Christmas.
If there was a lot of wind, trees might need more water, but as a general rule of thumb once per week should be fine.
As long as they're planted a sheltered, cool spot you could even try to grow your own little forest of trees with the addition of each year's tree.
Ms Geary said this would be special for families with young children who can watch the trees grow.
A strong sustainability conscience runs deep for Bega Garden Nursery, which takes back plastic pots and sends them back to the growers to reuse, or gives them out to local gardeners to help with propagation or other home projects.
The promotion of trees that live on was just another way Ms Geary could spread that message of a more environmentally friendly Christmas.
Bega Garden Nursey sells two varieties of conifers, but there are other nurseries in the Bega Valley that might be able to provide additional species to use for your Christmas tree.
Woodland's Nursery has only about half-a-dozen potted Christmas conifers left, but Tura Beach Garden Centre has potted pines and around four varieties available.
Riverside Nursery in Bega and the Cobargo Co-Op said they were likely to get in some potted trees in the coming weeks.
A completely different alternative Ms Geary suggested was to prune a rosemary bush that could be used from year to year.
Otherwise a native plant such as a NSW Christmas bush, or a native conifer would look lovely.
"People are only limited by their imagination," she said.
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