The Kind Life is a community around Alicia Silverstone and The Kind Diet where friends, doctors, experts in green living, and members share vegan tips.

Seasonal

Eco Christmas From Trees to Ornaments

There are so many easy and festive ways to have an eco friendly Christmas. Check out these simple and fun alternatives to cutting down a live tree. On top of those options, an awesome company called The Living Tree that operates in California, brings live trees to your home for the holidays! Then after the holidays, they pick it back up and replant it. How cool is that?

San Francisco offers a similar tree ‘rental’ service, in which you pick out a tree, pick it up, and then either return it or arrange to have it picked up for a $25 fee. After your tree is picked up, it gets planted along San Francisco’s city streets.

Portland, Oregon offers a potted tree rental for the holidays from Living Christmas Trees (different company than the one in Los Angeles). They will drop off your tree and pick it up after the holidays, then they plant the trees around schools, churches, in parks, and watersheds all over the Northwest.

Here are a few more companies that offer potted, living trees (yay!):

Denver, Colorado, Tagawa Gardens sells potted trees that you can keep inside for up to seven days, then plant in your own yard. If you go this route, be sure to dig the hole you plan to plant the tree in before the ground freezes – that means early December according to their website, so if you want to plant a tree in your yard, dig that hole soon!

Somers, Connecticut, Pell Farms is another company that sells both cut and potted Christmas trees. The potted trees are available from 2ft to 6ft high ranging in price from $20 – $90. They also have a location offering the same in Grafton, Massachusetts. Another tree farm in Massachusetts is the Cape Cod Tree Farm located in South Dennis. In Springwater, New York – All Western Trees sells potted trees.

An Even More Eco Option:

Instead of buying a tree, decorate one in your yard using decorations you already have, along with energy efficient Christmas lights, if you like. You can also hang these DIY pine-cone bird feeders on your outdoor Christmas tree to celebrate the season with your feathered neighbors. Be creative!

If you’re gonna have a tree, it might seem like an artificial tree is the more eco way to go, since they are reused, but really, it’s not. Surprising, right? People usually only use them 4 times or so and them toss them out where they will sit in a landfill forever. They also use lots of energy to produce, package, and ship them….not to mention that they are made with really gross toxic materials.

If you are going to get a cut-tree, search for an eco-friendly tree farmer near you. Check out LocalHarvest.org or GreenPromise.com. Your most green option is to find a sustainable grower from a certified organic farm. You will also be supporting your local farmers. If you go this route, be sure to recycle your tree after Christmas by chipping it into mulch or composting it. You can also visit Earth911.com to find tree recycling.

I’m always so sad when I walk the streets of New York after the holidays. All the trees lay out dead and discarded on the street. It feels so wasteful and sad. Luckily, there are lots of alternatives- let’s not be the people who leave our discarded Christmas trees out on the curb!

Tree Ornaments & Decorating

Just a few notes on this….I like to use things I’ve found or made to decorate. This will also save you $$$ instead of buying them all new from the store. You can use a baby shoe or an old children’s toy as an ornament and add a little one’s name and date. Hang cookie cutters from ribbon, use memorabilia like concert tickets, airlines tickets…any tickets! You can use craft supplies to adhere them to wood patches too. Make ornaments from nature!! Pinecones and twigs and pebbles. Go crazy….buttons, silverware, things in your sewing kit….glue photos onto wood scraps or lids. Use cutouts from old holiday cards and magazines.

If you do buy ornaments, try to find groovy used ones on eBayCraigslist, or from your local thrift store. If buying new ones, choose the most eco ones you can get your hands on. This usually means lead-free, Fair Trade, or ethically sourced options. You can visit CelebrateGreen.net for ideas.

Stockings!

They don’t have to be something super fancy, in fact the more you use them, generally the more you start to love them and enjoy pulling it out each year. You can look for used stockings and big socks, or even big oven-mitts from your local thrift shops, garage sales, Craigslist, or eBay. If you buys a new stocking for the holidays, look for ones made from recycled or organic animal-friendly materials (that means no wool, too).

Holiday Cards

I save the fronts of holiday cards and reuse them. I keep them in a little box and pull them out when I need them. Try to reuse old cards, or make them out of stuff you have at home…magazines, old wrapping paper, etc.

But if you will be purchasing new ones, definitely try to go for 100% recycled cards….made from 100% post-consumer waste. And if they are printed with soy-based ink, that’s even better! GreenFieldPaper.com sells recycled cards and hemp cards too! And BorealisPress.net is another great green card resource. You can also send seed embedded cards….card that you soak and then plant.

Gifts & Gift Wrapping

Visit my gift-giving blog here for some tips. For wrap paper use old newspaper or thrift store fabrics and ribbons. You can also re-use brown paper bags (although hopefully you don’t have a tone of these, because you are using your resusable canvas bags), or get creative with magazines and even junk mail (hopefully you have stopped your junk mail. If you haven’t, go here to learn how).

Holiday Meals & Parties

I’ve chosen my favorite recipes so far in the past recipe blogs. These would all be great for your holiday gatherings!

Try to make your party a little or no-waste event. Go for your own plates, cloth napkins, glasses, and silverware, but if you will be buy disposable, try for recycled or compostable/biodegradable dishware and utensils.

These are just a few of my thoughts and notes on all things Christmas. Will you share with me how you make your Christmas green? And any fun holiday recipes you want to put out there?

I love these options! Are you doing something more eco than getting a tree? What are you planning? Share your eco-friendly tips in the comments below!

 

Photo Credit: Pd4Pic

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  • Colliemom

    We bought an artificial tree when we discovered I am sensitive to pine trees. We have had it for fifteen years, and I’m guessing it will be with us a few more. Our in-laws have had three artificial trees over the course of their sixty-three-year marriage. Chosen carefully, a good artificial tree can last for years.

  • Colliemom

    We bought our first artificial tree when we discovered I was sensitive to pine. It has been with us for fifteen Christmases. Chosen carefully, a well made artifical may be the best option for some.

  • Bridget Elizabeth

    We bought this hanging fabric with a Christmas tree screen printed on it a few years ago and are obsessed! We string lights and hand-me-down decorations around the house too. It’s better when the decorations have stories and traditions attached and aren’t just disposable! http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/will-ikeas-xmas-tree-fabric-be-back-this-year-good-questions-194098

  • BunnyLuv Mac

    Ever since moving to Portland from LA 7 years ago we have been getting potted trees for Christmas. And although the service included picking them up and planting them somewhere we always fall in love with our beautiful trees and plant them in the yard. We now live in a forest! :) Much like the forest they cut down to build this housing community in the first place. There’s a sense of justice in that. However, what to do now? There’s only so much room in a residential yard. 😀 😀 And I don’t trust that they’ll plant my tree, the tree that I have fallen for. Soooo…. this year we got a huge poinsettia. I mean HUGE! It’s gorgeous. We have it on a stand in the middle of the foyer which is visible from most of the house, including the second floor. With a light on it it simply glows. I love it. Just keep it away from your house bunnies. It’s toxic to the little fur balls in your home. :)

  • BunnyLuv Mac

    Ever since moving to Portland from LA 7 years ago we have been getting potted trees for Christmas. And although the service included picking them up and planting them somewhere we always fall in love with our beautiful trees and plant them in the yard. We now live in a forest! :) Much like the forest they cut down to build this housing community in the first place. There’s a sense of justice in that. However, what to do now? There’s only so much room in a residential yard. 😀 😀 And I don’t trust that they’ll plant my tree, the tree that I have fallen for. Soooo…. this year we got a huge poinsettia. I mean HUGE! It’s gorgeous. We have it on a stand in the middle of the foyer which is visible from most of the house, including the second floor. With a light on it it simply glows. I love it. Just keep it away from your house bunnies. It’s toxic to the little fur balls in your home. :)

    • Colliemom

      We used to buy the potted trees as well. They are great for those with a large enough yard to plant them afterward.

  • Jean-Michel Bergeron

    Personally I am even more eco than getting a live tree, Im not getting a tree at all…