Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Sustainable Tree for Christmas

When you imagine a sustainable Christmas tree, you probably think of a plastic tree that can be reused from year to year. In all reality the greenest way to go is all natural. That's right, in order to have a sustainable Christmas I am suggesting that your family goes out to cut down a tree. Sounds counter intuitive? There are several good reasons to skip the false and go straight for what nature so graciously gave us.

Downfall of the Reusable Tree

Although this seems like it would be a great green Christmas idea, those fake trees are actually made of PVC (a petroleum product) that becomes tattered and dusty over the years. The majority of imitation pines purchased for the holidays are actually thrown out after just two years! Since they are made of plastic the tree will end up taking up space in a landfill forever. That's right, discarded artificial trees are made of material that will never degrade despite the expensive resources that went into the production.

Keepin' It Real

Real pines are grown primarily on farms, where they mature for several years before being cut down. The entire time that these trees are growing they are creating fresh oxygen and habitats for local creatures. With the rise of artificial trees these farms are being put out of business and the property ends up being paved over or turned into a less sustainable industry. Live Christmas trees can be purchased and potted whole to be replanted in your own yard, turning that seasonal decoration into a lifetime investment. Another benefit of real trees is that they they are often mulched and recycled in many communities, going to a better use than a landfill.

Wishing for a Green Christmas

This year, instead of dusting off the old PVC pre-lit tree, go on a family adventure to a Christmas tree farm. Everybody gets to work together to pick out the most beautiful live tree that will fill your home with a fresh pine scent that just can't be bought in a can. Technology often improves our life, but this Christmas let's get back to the basics. A live tree is a sustainable tree- nature's gift to us for the holidays.


  1. Some of our best memories when my sons were little was the trek to the tree farm for the perfect Christmas tree. I've grown a little sensitive to cutting young trees, but agree wholeheartedly that a tree farm does wonders for our air and earth. This year, my first in an apartment, I couldn't bear to have no tree so we brought home a small potted blue spruce which is charming and smells divine. We placed it in a raised planter so it was eye level,

    Next week we are looking forward to relocating it to a friend's yard where it will continue to maturity - thanks to your good advice about caring for it through the winter!

  2. Marilyn- Tree farms are wonderful and relaxing places to spend a cool winter afternoon. So glad to see that you are still keeping it traditional! Awesome choice on a potted spruce, by the way. Beautiful trees don't need to only be for the holidays! I sincerely hope that your friend will give the tree as much love and consideration as you have, as trees are truly the perfect gift not only for the recipient, but for the entire neighborhood!