Most people can’t really imagine Christmas without a tree. But even the tradition of a beautifully decorated conifer can be made more sustainable. Of course, decorating a living tree in the forest is taking things to extremes, but there are many ways to reduce the environmental impact of the holiday period even when it comes to trees.
You can grow your own tree, either planted in the ground in the garden or in a pot. If you don’t have the space to grow one at home, you can use one of the many potted tree rental services – the advantage being the tree is delivered to you and taken away again after the festive period. Just remember that live trees in pots don't like overheated rooms.
Even those who buy cut trees can choose a more sustainable option by buying a locally sourced tree, not one that has travelled halfway across Europe. Look for trees with an FSC sustainability certificate, which guarantees that they have not been sprayed with pesticides and chemical fertilisers. Then you don’t necessarily have to just throw the tree away or burn it after the holidays – instead, it can serve as food for animals at a nearby farm or zoo. Some organisations offer a bulk tree collection service to just such facilities. Of course, always make absolutely sure you remove all the decorations from the tree first.
A live tree in a pot can be a sustainable option.
Lastly, a tree needn’t be a tree. Let your imagination run wild and decorate anything you want. Perhaps make a substitute tree out of things you have at home. You can also make lots of ornaments yourself or use various natural materials. Pine cones, hazelnuts, dried fruit and other gifts of nature will look great on your tree, for example.