Living Christmas Tree

Posted on Posted in Eco-Friendly

With Christmas right around the corner I’ve been thinking of the absolute most eco-friendly way to deal with a Christmas tree. To me, the most obvious answer is just not to have one, but I don’t really want to do that. Last year I came up with the idea to have a living Christmas tree.

Our Living Christmas Tree - A Norfolk Pine
Our Living Christmas Tree – A Norfolk Pine

And I mean really, actually alive, not just drinking water until it dies and ends up in a landfill or being turned into mulch. My idea was that we buy some type of evergreen tree that’s small enough for my husband us to move around in our home and eventually transplant it outside.

How AMAZING would that be?! You have a real, LIVE tree in your home that is cleaning your air and enjoying the energy of the holidays with you instead of slowly drying out until it’s final day.

I personally cringe every time I drive by a Christmas tree lot. My heart actually aches for all those poor trees having been cut down. Even worse than that is seeing trees lined up next to dumpsters by people to are too lazy to take them to be recycled. At least with recycling they will be made into something else and it won’t be a complete waste.

The Dangers of Artificial Trees

  • Did you know that artificial trees are made from PVC? PVC is a petroleum-derived plastic that is completely non-renewable and can emit serious environmental nasties like dioxins.
  • To make the PVC more pliable metals, chemicals, and lead are often added to the mix. (SOURCE)
  • Artificial trees CANNOT be recycled and will take hundreds of years to breakdown in a landfill and will leach it’s toxic chemicals into the earth and groundwater in the meantime.
  • Over time, as the fake branches become more brittle, the toxins in the “tree” will flake off as dust particles and be breathed in while you decorate and all season long.
  • The majority of artificial trees are made in China (shocker) and have to be transported halfway around the world to get to your local Wal-Mart/Target/Costco using precious resources to get there.

Cut Trees

  • Cut trees smell great and are much more festive than fake ones, but again, you have a dead tree in your house. If you have a living tree you still get that amazing Christmas smell without killing the tree.
  • Cut trees, while I feel very sad about them, are much more environmentally friendly than fake trees. Most of the Christmas trees grown in the U.S. are grown on dedicated tree farms.
  • While the tree farms create oxygen, so would other natural forests that would otherwise grow there. And those natural forests would support wildlife diversity whereas many tree farms spray pesticides and have to use irrigation to keep the trees growing for harvest time. (SOURCE)
  • It takes 6-12 years for trees to mature enough to be harvested as a Christmas tree.

Living Christmas Tree | enthusiastic yogini

Living Trees

  • Puts out fresh oxygen in your home while absorbing carbon dioxide.
  • Great energy from the tree will add to your holidays.
  • With the living tree you’ll be encouraging life instead of adding to the chopping down of more and more trees every year.
  • You and your family get to watch the tree grow.
  • When it gets too large, plant it outside!
  • If you live in a small or high-rise apartment you can still do this, just buy a smaller tree, say 2-3 feet and set it on a table.
  • This method also encourages your family, especially your kiddos, to think differently and act with the environment in mind.

This year we don’t have the opportunity to have a typical Christmas tree as they do not grow in Hawaii (the Norfolk Pine is more traditionally grown and used as Christmas trees here). We knew this before we moved here and have planned all year to buy a native tree to use for the next 3 Christmases, then plant it before we move. It will definitely be a different Christmas not having a “regular” Christmas tree, but I’m looking forward to having a live plant and watching it grow.

We happen to have the space right next to a large window in our living room that faces east that we can leave the tree year round. If we didn’t, my husband we would move the tree outside for proper light and bring it back in for Christmas.  Maybe your family could do the same? Or hey! If that sounds like too much moving, maybe you could buy a new living tree every year and plant them in the spring. Eventually you’d have a little forest of your own!

Many Blessings for a warm and love-filled Thanksgiving!

The above picture of the tree leaning on the trash bin is from HERE.

 

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