In this age of consumerism, particularly around the holiday season, sometimes its easy to forget that the things we've used the longest often have the most value to us -- but the virtues of reuse just seem come naturally to some people. When Jean Eadie was just three years old, she went with her mother to pick out an artificial Christmas tree. It wasn't very big or fancy, and it only cost around a dollar, but she's managed to get a lot of use out of it. In fact, it's the tree she's put up for the holiday every year since 1928.
For Jean Eadie, an 85-year-old widow from Scotland, it wasn't difficult to resist the urge to buy a new tree throughout the better part of her long life. In Jean's opinion, people today just don't seem to value the things they own quite as much as they should.
Jean, in an interview with STV News:
Everybody buys things and chucks them away, which they shouldn't do. I don't know why all you young people buy clothing, and the next thing I find, you've thrown it away and got a new one. That tree -- that's there. There's no reason for throwing it away.
Over the decades, Jean's little Christmas tree has grown into something much more meaningful than a simple holiday decoration. "It's been a constant companion for me since I was little. My husband died in 1991 and I don't have a lot of friends left," she told the Scottish Sun. "I know it sounds silly, but every year when I unwrap it I wish it happy birthday."
For the first time decades, the tree's current owner, Paul Parker, has decided to put the 124-year-old antique on display in his home this Christmas season instead of going out and buying a newer model. "'It may not look like much but it has been part of our Christmas celebrations for so many years," he told Metro.
For years, there's been some debate over whether artificial Christmas trees are more eco-friendly than chopping down the real thing. According to a life-cycle analysis, real trees have less of an environmental impact than fakes one -- unless the artificial tree is used for at least 20 years.
In other words, folks like Jean and Paul aren't just helping to keep a nice tradition alive with their wonderful old trees, but the planet, too.