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Eco-friendly Christmas tree options


The age old discussion of fake versus real Christmas trees has really grown over the years especially with new ‘greener’ options surfacing for sourcing real Christmas trees.

There are many real tree options available, from visiting a U-cut farm, acquiring a license to cut down your own tree, renting or purchasing a living tree, or decorating a tree rooted in nature.

It’s important selecting your tree remains fun even when you are being more conscientious of your choices and all of these options create a sense of holiday adventure.

Here are the different options for finding your real tree this year.

Fake tree

It’s difficult to list many reasons how a fake tree can be an eco-friendly option at Christmas. Yes, it does get reused but the fact these trees are shipped from the other side of the world, made from PVC plastic (very toxic) and contain lead, really dampens the FA LA LA LA! It’s important if you’ve invested in a fake Christmas tree to get the maximum use from it. Many schools and churches love fake Christmas trees for their annual productions and would appreciate a donated tree if you’ve decided to switch to live trees.

Your local sites are the perfect place to sell or give away fake Christmas trees. This following point is important: if you are looking to purchase a fake tree this year, buy second hand so you reduce the production stress on the earth with the manufacturing and shipping of fake trees. Use your local Used site’s search tool and search for Christmas tree.

Tree farm

Have you ever taken the crew to cut down their own Christmas tree?

Some eco-minded people find the act of cutting down a tree in it’s youth pretty tough to do, but if you think about what a local Christmas tree farm is doing, it’s more than just cutting down trees.

Farms are continually replacing cut trees, producing clean air, and supporting locals by hiring and managing a local business. Trees that you purchase cut or U-cut can be made into woodchips after the holiday season and these wood chips are used in parks as trails.

So if supporting local is important to you, visiting a tree farm and supporting a local business might be the right fit for your family.

Christmas tree permit

Many people live near vacant Crown land where, after you obtain a license, you can cut down your own tree. This option wins extra environmental points because many of these trees would be cleared eventually; space under powerlines, near roadways, forestry/logging roads.

This only works in provinces where permits are available to download. You cannot legally decide yourself where a tree can be removed. Follow these steps to keep your family safe and avoid fines:

  • Contact your provincial forestry website
  • Navigate to the Christmas tree permit application, complete permit application and wait for confirmation
  • Contact the office directly, confirm you’ve received your permit application and find out where the exact area you can go to remove a tree
  • Do not cut a tree on forest plantations in harvested areas, private property, within 30 feet of a stream, rive, lake or wetland, research areas, parks, community watersheds, or juvenile-spaced areas

A living Christmas tree

Renting or purchasing potted plants to create a living Christmas tree has become very popular. It’s a fantastic idea and working with a nursery you trust is highly recommended for this option.

We went to our local experts at Art Knapp in Vancouver and asked for tips on living Christmas trees to ensure their condition remains healthy through the holidays. Did you know the recommended number of days a potted tree can live indoors is 10 days?

Here are more tips from the nursery department of Art Knapp to help you care for your indoor tree over the holidays:

  • Limit time indoors to a maximum of 10 days. Any longer and the warm indoor temperatures force the plant to think that it’s springtime and it will begin to grow. This new growth will freeze when it’s moved back outside to winter conditions
  • Spray the foliage with an anti-wilt product to prevent needle drop. This is an organic wax that limits moisture loss and is safe to use on most living and cut greens (excluding potted spruce trees)
  • If possible, choose the coolest location indoors. Fireplaces, for example, can throw a lot of dry heat so it’s best to avoid placing living trees near a heat source
  • Use of mini-lights is safe as they don’t give off much heat and make the trees look festive. Strands of older-style large light bulbs should not be used as they heat up and can dry out the needles
  • Use a large plastic tray to hold water underneath the rootball. If your tree’s roootball is wrapped in burlap, then this is really important to keep your flooring clean and dry. If you have hardwood floors, put a barrier of cork or felt between the tray and the floor to prevent condensation from ruining your floor. If your tree is very heavy when you move it indoors, it will probably need watering only once during it’s 10 days inside

Decorate an outdoor tree

If the idea of cutting a real tree isn’t appealing, decorate an outdoor tree in your yard. Lights and ornaments that are made with materials suited to local weather patterns would look magical on an outdoor tree. Children can become involved with making ornaments with pieces of nature: pinecones, leaves, etc. to keep the tree looking nature themed. A fun craft can include making bird feed ornaments with cookie cutters to invite winter birds to your outdoor Christmas tree for visits.

If you would like to find a fake tree to enjoy this holiday season, try your local site before purchasing new. Plastic is a material that is built to last, making plastic items for the holidays a wonderful item to buy second hand. Here are some holiday listings from our sites to get you started for the holidays.

Find your local site here

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Suzanne is a green living activist and blogger over from Mommy Footprint. Her passion for raising her children in suburbia & a not-so-secret desire to own chickens keeps her balanced with realistic Eco living goals. Sharing knowledge about the environment, our food system, and ways to avoid landfill waste is her passion. Suzanne loves life in the tri-cities with her husband and four children. Follow her journey on Twitter @mommyfootprint.

5 Responses to “Eco-friendly Christmas tree options”


Please don’t suggest decorating trees outside, people do this in public parks around here and never go back and clean them up.


    Suzanne Bertani

    Thank you for the comment! We are suggesting decorating an outdoor tree in your own space (yard, etc.) not in public space.



Okay, it just says near your home and I have noticed a growing trend of decorating trees in parks.


Suzanne Bertani

Great feedback! I will edit that sentence to clarify.



Thank you for the eco tree article!
Good tips on sustainability, how can we help you spread them more?
Love the Living tree suggestions, that’s the best option, especially if people plant them outside, and help reforest the urban world!

Also, love the suggestion for decorating outdoor trees with NATURAL Decorations!
Love All Life, they are you! <3


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