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Mood enhancer

So I wasn't going to get a Christmas tree this year. Just didn't feel like it. But I was overruled and voila! This was a 9-foot tree bought at the tail end of a fundraiser for $30! Magnificent. And I have to say, it improved my mood almost instantly.  Highly advise Christmas tree therapy for the blues.

With all the talk of eating-shopping-buying local, I got to thinking about the provenance of this tree, which its sellers say is home grown Pennsylvania. The Nature Conservancy actually thinks about these things, and has some advice for buying a tree.

Cut your own, if possible. You can see with your own eyes where it came from. Don't buy from those fly-by-night, pop-up tree sellers that are all over the place. Be sure to recycle the tree curbside for your city or suburb tree-recycling program. Don't put it on your home compost or brush pile - it could contain weed seeds or foreign bugs that can infest the trees around your house.

You might not expect Christmas trees to be carriers for invasive insects and diseases, but the conservancy says they are - gypsy moth, pine shoot beetle, sudden oak death and others. In fact, this has become such a serious problem that federal and state governments now regulate the movment of Christmas trees, holiday wreaths and other material. "Buying locally cut trees from established vendors is better for the economy and the environment," the conservancy says.