Sustainable Christmas Tree How-To

christmas 2007

christmas 2007 (Photo credit: paparutzi)

Now that Thanksgiving is over, many family’s (if they haven’t already) are preparing their homes for the iconic and essential winter decoration—the Christmas tree. We love sharing ways that you and your family can enjoy a happier, healthier, and more sustainable home—and today we will cover how you can choose and decorate a more sustainable tree. Just follow these basic guidelines when getting a tree this year:

  • Choose a LIVE tree over an artificial one. This may seem a little counterintuitive since a plastic tree allows for easy reuse. However, artificial trees are made from petroleum-derived materials that are bad for the environment and your health. Live trees are grown and transported locally, and replanted after each use—in turn reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality. 
  • Use energy efficient lighting, or better yet forgo the lights. Christmas lights are pretty but they also contribute to higher utility bills, and increase the potential for a fire in your home. You can achieve sparkle and color with beautiful ornaments and garland. If you insist on Christmas lights for your tree choose energy efficient bulbs.
  • Use used ornaments. It is always best to reduce the need for harvesting new materials, so choose used ornaments when possible. Whether your ornaments have been passed down from generation to generation, or you must buy your own, opt for used. Check thrift stores for great deals on old ornaments. We found a bag of 30 brightly colored ornaments for $4!
  • Recycle your tree. Most local cities or towns offer a christmas tree recycling program. If your tree is real, but not living take advantage of the program and ensure your tree becomes useful energy!
  • Buy less. This is really tricky with the excitement of the Holidays. Keep new purchases of decorations to a minimum, practice restraint, and decorate your tree tastefully. Apply the same restraint to gifts as well. This strategy saves you money and helps you focus on what the Holidays are really about—FAMILY.

Does your family take any steps to be more sustainable around the Holidays? We’d love to hear them!


  1. Also saw an idea for putting your discarded real Christmas tree in the yard to make a home for birds, plus you can put treats for them in the branches.

    Merry Christmas!

  2. I donated my tree last year, I use the same ornaments although differently each year. this year I dragged a fallen tree branch back to my home which is now hung on the wall with natural decorations adorning it. I also gave away my lights and have opted to use candles and plants to give a festive look to my home. A pretty poinsettia is much nicer to look at than lights IMO.

    • These are fantastic suggestions! Reusing ornaments is definitely important, and love your idea of incorporating natural beauty into your home for the holidays! Thank you so much for sharing, and keep on living beautifully simple!

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