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Green Christmas Tree

Updated on November 2, 2008
Aluminum Christmas Tree
Aluminum Christmas Tree

Season's Greenings!

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.

Go Vintage:

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.

Go Sustainable:

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:

Go Alternative:

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.

Are You Dreaming of a Green Christmas?

Which option do you prefer?

See results


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    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      We buy a small, sustainably grown, potted live tree, about three feet tall, and decorate it with mini lights and baubles. After the holidays, we give our tree to someone who has room for a conifer on their property. Sometimes we get to help plant the tree, which is fun. Other times, I have used Freecycle to find tree adopters.

    • cfiske profile image

      cfiske 7 years ago from Orange County, CA

      There are now companies that will deliver a potted, living Christmas tree to your door so you can enjoy a Christmas tree without killing it! I talk about this on my hub too. Its a great way to turn Christmas into a green holiday- by planting all of our Christmas trees rather than killing them at the end of the season.

    • krista.zamora1980 profile image

      krista.zamora1980 8 years ago from New York, New York

      nice hub... try artificial christmas trees...

    • midnightbliss profile image

      Haydee Anderson 8 years ago from Hermosa Beach

      nice hub, making some changes with our traditions will just be fine specially if its for our environment, this year, we decided not to have Christmas tree, rather other christmas decors that are reused and made into new items.

    • maanju profile image

      maanju 8 years ago from India

      GREAT HUB! and your work is good.

    • britneydavidson profile image

      britneydavidson 8 years ago from united kingdom

      wow great hub...i liked your idea....really wonderful idea....keep it up..

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      I love the green christmas live trees. BUT for convenience have to go with the others. Although lately I like to get branches paint and decorate them myself. Just so it is different to other ones . Good hyub

    • Isabella Snow profile image

      Isabella Snow 9 years ago

      I can't decide if I'm getting a real tree this year, but your aluminum trees look so cool!

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 9 years ago

      GREAT Hub Stacey!!

      Thank you for sharing!!

      It pains me to see a tree cut for any reason!! I get all the nice smells from timing my pruning activities!! And, once all the decorations are up and around, a tree is almost in the way!!

      Loved your ideas!!

      Blessings always, Earth Angel!!

    • vitaeb profile image

      vitaeb 9 years ago from Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

      Several varieties of pine trees grow on or land. Every year, we trim enough branches to make a bed of pine boughs in our main room. And I mean a bed, using a single bed-sized mattress and a red colored sheet to support the pines. What a delight it is to stretch out on our pine bed and take in the aroma, day after day for as long as we want. Then on Christmas day, a miracle of wrapped gifts lay among the pine needles.

      Joy to all!

    • DKowalski.26 profile image

      DKowalski.26 9 years ago from Largo, FL

      I like the green on a Christmas tree to stand out. I guess this is kind of off the subject (sorta), but a heavily decorated Christmas has never suited me. It just takes out the natural look of the Christmas tree. I've seen many Christmas trees that are so filled with ornament, ribbons, and so many other decorations that you can't even spot a speck of green. But, hey. That's probably just my preference.

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 9 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      I like my fake tree :o) I just get a pine smelling thingie and put it in the tree near the trunk..and then decorate and no fire worries...Yep...G-Ma :o) hugs

    • profile image

      Anne Kjaer 9 years ago

      We had a large property and every year we needed to cut the teatrees back. At Christmas time we would cut 2 or 3 teatrees and my husband would tie them together with a bit of wire and trim them to a cone shape. That way the trees we would have cut anyways became a lovely tree and although it would not hold the heaviest of ornaments it looked lovely!

    • guidebaba profile image

      guidebaba 9 years ago from India

      My Vote goes for Option 4 - Regular Tree, but Recycle

    • DarleneMarie profile image

      DarleneMarie 9 years ago from USA

      Really good Hub and useful information on being green for Christmas. Great money saving and eco-friendly advice! Big thumbs up

    • Dottie1 profile image

      Dottie1 9 years ago from MA, USA

      Last year I got sooo busy preparing my daughter for college with art portfolio and everything that I ran out of time to put up the Christmas tree. Never has that happened before. No one else in my house had time either. Right after Christmas we bought an artificial tree and I am putting it up the day after Thanksgiving since I missed last year. I do forget what kind of tree I bought but I'm sure I checked to make sure it was environmentally safe. I can't wait to put up my Christmas tree this year!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 9 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      We've never had a real Christmas tree :) I wish I could go somewhere and smell the real tree in my living room LOL But we use recycle year after year after year... :)

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 9 years ago from California Gold Country

      Where we live, we are surrounded by oaks and pines. The Ponderosa pines are between 60 and 80 ft high-- so i don't have enough deecorations to cover one of those. In years past we have bought prettly little blue spruces and planted them after Christmas, but a few years ago I bought a very lifelike looking fake tree with the colored lights already wired in. It's about 5 ft high and cost a little over $20. We put it on a small table and it holds all of my favorite decorations very nicely. We can go outside for the piney smell.

    • Bob Ewing profile image

      Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

      We are considering a Norway pine, live, this year and transplanting it to the backyard or somewhere else in the Spring.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      My father bought live trees with root balls for several years and placed them in the yard afterward. Then the silver tinsel-needle monstrosities entered - metal branches with tinsel attached. The colored light wheel shining on it was fun the first year, but the tree seemed to turn black and loose the fake needles after just a few seasons.

      I like eucalyptus wreaths now.

    • kerryg profile image

      kerryg 9 years ago from USA

      The Nature Conservancy in our area is having trouble with non-native cedars invading their prairie preserves and one of the ways they've been fighting back is by offering cut-your-own cedar Christmas trees at very low prices. My family has participated for several years. One year we had four Christmas trees!