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Green Christmas Tree
We all have Christmas traditions, from trimming the tree to dosing the egg nog to maddening family gatherings. And we tend not to know just how much those traditions mean to us until the time comes when we have to change them, or let some of them go.
But really, our traditions sure could use an environmentally friendly makeover, starting with the tree. It is possible to create a green Christmas that feels like the perfect white Christmas--and, yes, you can have a tree too. With some knowledge and a little planning, you can have a festive holiday without deepening your ecological footprint.
What You Don't Know, Can Hurt
I love the scent of a fresh pine tree at Christmas, but always felt guilty for not doing what I thought was more environmentally friendly: purchasing a reusable, artificial tree. I didn't know that artificial trees are mostly made using PVC (toxic polyvinyl chloride). PVC is also known as the poison plastic. Not only is the production of PVC harmful to the environment and to people who work in the plants, but it continues to be hazardous for its entire life cycle. This is the plastic that leaches harmful chemicals (remember hearing about how unsafe it is to heat your plastic food storage containers?), releases toxic gas when burnt (exposing firefighters), and contaminates other products when recycled.
So if that plastic smell of the new Christmas tree turns you off, don't mask it with a pine scented air spray: find a green alternative.
How to Find a Green Tree
Okay, so you are off the hook about buying a plastic tree. But now what?
Well, don't rush out and buy a live Christmas tree because those aren't so good for the environment either. Most of those trees are farmed with environmentally unfriendly pesticides and fertilizers. So, what can you do?
Don't worry, you don't have to skip the Chrismas tradition of having a tree to be green.
You know the 3Rs? Reduce, Reuse, Recylce. Buy a vintage aluminum tree. Not only is it PVC free, but you will also keep it from ending up in a landfill.
It might cost a bit more, but you can purchase a sustainably grown tree. If you choose this route, make sure you stay green by properly recycling the tree after the festivities. Here are some helpful resources to find trees:
For more information on recycling your tree, check out:
- Earth 911 - earth911.org
Make a new holiday tradition for your family and decorate a houseplant. This idea may take some getting used to, but it is kind of neat. Instead of worrying about having to recycle or store it after the holidays, it simply remains a part of your home. Basically, you get to have the plant year-round, but it gets dressed up for the holidays.
The holidays can be rough with all of the planning, decorating, and peace keeping (okay, okay, I might be leaching my family's traditions of holiday dysfunction onto you), so don't feel super stressed if you can't make the season totally green. Just remember that every little bit counts.
Please share your green holiday ideas in the comment section at the bottom of this article.