Happy December!  It’s officially Christmas tree season so let’s talk eco-friendly Christmas trees!

I’ve already seen Christmas trees a-plenty twinkling away merrily in living rooms around where we live.  Have you put your Christmas tree up yet?  I’m putting our tree up this weekend!

If, like me, you haven’t put your tree up yet and you’re looking to make your Christmas a greener affair then why not start with the centrepiece of Christmas – the tree.  I’ve put together four ideas for an eco-friendly Christmas tree to help you out:

eco friendly christmas trees

4 Ideas For An Eco-Friendly Christmas Tree

1. Buy a Potted Christmas Tree

One great option for an eco-friendly Christmas tree if you have a garden is to buy a potted Christmas tree.  You can buy potted trees easily from most garden centres.  For a lower carbon footprint, look for UK grown varieties, like Blue Spruce or Nordman

Once Christmas is done simply pop it in your garden in its pot.  The following year you can bring it back into your house and decorate it, before putting it back in the garden again once Christmas is over.

Potted trees tend to be small – around 3 – 4 ft when you first receive it. Therefore, this option is great if you have a small house, or want to use it as an additional tree until it grows in size.

Potted Tree Care

Your tree probably won’t need re-potted for 2 to 3 years. At this point, you can simply transfer it to a bigger pot and continue to bring it indoors until it gets too big for you to carry.

When your tree gets too big you can plant it in your garden as a permanent reminder of all of the great Christmases you’ve had.

To care for your potted tree, keep it away from radiators or fires. And do make sure the soil is kept moist (but not waterlogged).

We had a potted tree a few years ago.  While it was great and didn’t drop its needles as much as cut trees do, we kept ours indoors for too long.  I think it was indoors for a month. As such, it got a shock from going from a centrally heated house to an exposed Scottish garden. It took a couple of years to recover.

A potted tree is therefore a good eco-friendly tree option if you don’t put your tree up too early, and can acclimatise it slowly to life outdoors again. To do this, once you’ve taken the decorations down, leave your tree outdoors during the day. Then bring it back indoors at night for a while. Keep doing this for a few weeks until its hardened off and can handle cold weather.  

Our tree is now planted in the ground in our garden, flourishing. I smile every time I look at it and think of one of our first Christmases together as a couple.

2.  Rent a Tree

If you don’t have a garden, or don’t want the hassle of potting and re-potting a tree then there are several companies that rent Christmas trees. This includes companies like Christmas On The Hill.

They’ll deliver a potted tree to your door and collect it at the end of the festive period. They’ll then put it back outside and care for it, ready to be delivered to someone the following Christmas.  Once trees grow to be too big to rent, they are typically planted out in forests. This makes potted trees a great eco-friendly Christmas tree option.

3.  Fake Trees

eco friendly christmas tree options

Fake Christmas trees aren’t the worst thing in the world if you use them year after year after year.  Depending on how long you plan to have your tree for, a fake tree may be preferable to chopping down a live tree every year.

We have a fake 6ft Christmas tree that we bought several years ago secondhand on eBay. I’m are in no hurry to replace it, and I sincerely hope we can still be using it in 50 years’ time!  We also have a smaller tree that my mum and dad have had for about forty years!  We used it last year as our main tree – we had a very inquisitive almost 1-year-old and I foresaw disaster with using a big tree!

If you want a fake tree then buy the best you can afford in a green classic tree shape. This style won’t date unlike some of the more modern fake Christmas tree styles (like this one).  I’d also recommend buying one without in-built lights as they are difficult to fix if they break. And buying secondhand via eBay or Facebook Marketplace would make for the most eco-friendly Christmas tree.

4.  Real Trees

What if you don’t have a garden, and don’t live near a tree rental company, and feel that Christmas isn’t Christmas without a real tree?  Well, rather than buying an imported tree with a hefty carbon footprint, try and buy one that has been locally grown.

If you’re in Scotland then without a doubt the best place to purchase a real tree from Caring Christmas Trees, part of the Bethany Trust.  All of their trees are sustainably grown in Scotland from local growers. What’s more, the money raised also helps homeless and vulnerable people in Scotland.

If you’re in England then the Forestry Commission has Christmas tree sales centres where you can buy a sustainably grown, local, and eco-friendly Christmas tree.

Once Christmas is over, trees can be shredded and composted, or used in your wood burner (if you have one). If this is the case, do leave the wood to season for as long as you can, as burning green or unseasoned wood is not good in terms of particulate emissions.

 Alternatively, most Councils offer a kerbside recycling scheme, where they will collect your tree in early January. They then shred them into chippings, which are typically used in parks.  Contact your local council for advice on tree recycling in your area.

So there we have, lots of advice on eco-friendly Christmas trees.  If you are after more ideas on how to have a greener Christmas here are some zero-waste Christmas decorations to make, as well as 10 vegetarian Christmas dinner ideas. I also have lots more ideas in my Christmas tag!

Guide to eco friendly Christmas trees

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