It’s that time of year again when we all start talking about Christmas. Christmas plans, Christmas wishes, Christmas time off from work, Christmas weight gain, Christmas spending…
My husband and I don’t do the gifting every year and we probably have less than 10 Christmas decorations, but I actually love this holiday! For me, it’s all about cooking, listening to music, being all around cozy and drinking spiced hot wine (“Glögg”). Favorite Christmas album? Destiny’s Child’s 8 days of Christmas. Sassy harmonies combined with jingle bells – sign me up! (And give hubby a pair of ear-plugs.)
Now, let’s talk Christmas trees!
Did you know that the most eco-friendly choice is to buy a real tree each year, instead of buying and reusing an artificial one?
A Swedish nonprofit I follow, the Nature Protection Organization, published an article about it last year, which is where I first read about it.
Before your go “hurray” and head on over to Wal-Mart’s parking lot, there are a few constraints to consider. You need to make sure your tree was grown sustainably, preferably organic, and comes from a nearby, healthy forest (or farm). You’ll probably have most luck shopping with a small vendor or straight from the owner to assure that you’re getting a happy tree.
The tree should then be cut and composted, used for heating (if you have a high efficiency furnace) or collected by the municipality for use as heating material or be composted, large scale, when the season is over.
Unless someone in the family is allergic, a real tree is also a safe choice for your home.
Taking a closer look at the option, an artificial tree, there are several (obvious) reasons as to why this type of tree is worse for the environment than the real one. First, the artificial, plastic Christmas tree was transported here from far away; most often from China, may have been manufactured un-ethically and generally contains chemicals. It comes wrapped in plastic, inside a cardboard box with ink on it (waste!). And when it’s time to get a new one, should it get old and worn, it’s not recyclable and ends up in landfill (waste!). Even if you use it for as long as 10 years, a real, locally grown, sustainable tree, should still be better.
There’s an exception; if you already own a plastic tree, of course, using that one again is the best choice!
We had guests for Christmas last year so we said yes to the mess of decorating our house (a little). We went with a real tree, obviously, which we picked out at the local farmers’ market. We decorated it with homemade paper decorations, popcorn string, Mardi Gras beads, the few ornaments we already had, and the main attraction was a colorful string of lights from Taiwan. I’ve never been into the multi-colored lights but it was the ONLY box of lights I could find not made in China! See, this challenge is forever pushing my boundaries of style.
This year, it may just be the two of us for Christmas and we haven’t decided if we’re having a tree or not, yet. If we are, we will do a style-repeat from last year since it was such a looker!
What do you think? Artificial or real?
My Swedish (speaking) readers can read the article HERE.