So, now that you know purchasing real trees is the ticket toward a greener holiday, what else can you do to promote an eco-friendly Christmas? Here are 10 green Christmas tips from The Nature Conservancy:
#1 Cut Your Own Tree
Cut your own tree from a nearby National forest or state land if you can. Permits are usually inexpensive, and it can be a fun family tradition. If you’re lucky, maybe you live near one of the top five Nature Conservancy preserves where you can take your family to get a Christmas tree.
#2 Buy Two Trees
Get two permits or buy two trees, and donate your extra tree to a local charity, youth home, or non-profit. Make sure to call ahead to find out if they can use it, and what height tree they’d need.
#3 Buy a Tree from a Reputable Local Dealer
When buying a real tree from a vendor, make sure they are reputable local dealers. They should have a business license and be able to tell you exactly where their trees came from. Fly-by-night operators are less likely to comply with regulations or be properly inspected.
#4 Buy resilient, healthy trees.
Run your hand along the branches—they should be flexible and springy. If many needles are falling off that suggests a tree that was cut too soon or is unhealthy. A dry tree is less beautiful and can create a fire hazard in your home.
#5 Be Sure to Handle Your Tree with Care.
Live trees will travel best if gently wrapped in a reusable tarp or placed in a large burlap bag. Make sure to tie the tree to your vehicle firmly to prevent broken branches.
#6 Buy a Cut Tree as Opposed to a Live Tree
Christmas trees with root balls rarely survive being transplanted in the dead of winter. Stick with a cut, local, tree for your holiday display—and use the money you save to buy a healthier sapling in springtime!
Editor’s note: This tip shocked me since I thought it is better to buy a live tree and put it in the house for only a week.
#7 Make Inexpensive Holiday Decorations
Make homemade and inexpensive garlands, wreaths and table arrangements from Christmas tree cuttings and other local materials. Re-use!
#8 Simplicity is Key for Centerpieces.
A simple bowl of pine cones can make a free, fragrant and gorgeous centerpiece. Collect your cones locally and intersperse a few dry cinnamon sticks to make a fresh, aromatic display.
#9 Dispose of small holiday greenery
Dispose of small holiday greenery in the trash, or at a municipal compost facility. Don’t throw them out in a brush pile or your home compost—they could contain weed seeds or foreign bugs that can infest the trees around your house.
Editor’s note: I never thought of bug infestation from holiday greenery. It is better to be safe than sorry.
#10 Recycle Your Christmas Tree
Recycle your Christmas tree whenever possible. Many areas now offer a post-Christmas curbside pickup, and the trees are typically chipped or ground to use in mulch. Look for information specific to your area in your local newspaper, or do an internet search for “Christmas Tree Recycling (your town).”
For more holiday tips, be sure to read the following Green Talk articles:
- 5 Easy Tips on How to Have an Eco-friendly Holidays
- Recycled and Alternative Christmas Trees
- Dreaming of a Green Christmas
- Buy a Real Christmas Tree Just like Charlie Brown
- Homemade Holiday Gifts that Can be Given Year Round.
- And my favorite: 5 Ways to Give Your Unloved Gifts a New Home
Join the Conversation:
- Do you buy a local tree for the holidays?
- What are your favorite green Christmas tips?
This post was written and the photo supplied by the Nature Conservancy.