Catnip under the tree

Minerva, a cat, is getting to know the Christmas tree at author Debby Luquette’s home this December.

It’s getting to be that time of year again. The shopping, the baking, get-togethers with friends and family and many other activities signal the coming of Christmas. What catches my attention, though, are the shorter days with the sun low in the sky. And a Christmas tree brightens the house during this darker part of the year.

Perhaps you’ve decided that the fuss of a real tree no longer needs to be part of your festivities, or allergies make the presence of a real tree in the house misery. If you decide a real tree is not a good fit for your household, there are good choices available. But wait! Some ‘Christmas tree allergies’ come from pollen and other outdoor irritants, and cleaning the tree with more than a good shake before it’s brought inside can take care of that. A truly tree-related allergy comes from terpenes that conifers give off as a real tree wakes up in the warmth and light of the home.

Debby Luquette is a Penn State Master Gardener from Adams County. Penn State Extension of Adams County is located at 670 Old Harrisburg Road, Suite 204, Gettysburg, phone 717-334-6271.

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