Real, fake, potted, planted — I've tried out many a holiday tree.
Three years ago, I accidentally killed a potted cedar. Last year, my houseplant, a Norfolk Island pine, did the trick. (It's still alive.) This year, I have a real table-top tree (toddler-sized) destined for the chipper.
Bringing a tree into your home seems kind of weird. But it has occurred to me why people prefer a real one:
- They're eco-friendlier than fake trees.
- That smell. It's a form of forest bathing — breathing in natural substances, called phytoncides, or wood essential oils, can help fight cancer!
- Contact with nature reduces stress and blood-sugar levels and makes people happy.
- You own an indestructible vacuum.
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Here are six options for holiday trees:
Real Christmas trees
- Buy local.
- Choose trees from farms that minimize (or do without) pesticides and herbicides.
- Support tree lots that donate a portion of the funds to community causes.
- Cut your own. Visit a tree farm or get a provincial permit, from lands that must be kept clear anyway. In many provinces, hydro rights-of-way have to be kept clear.
Artificial Christmas trees
- Avoid PVCs — the grinchiest of plastics — that are used to make most artificial trees. Not only are these hard on the environment, they're bad for your health.
- Make it last 20 years!
Note: Watch for recycling options. They don't exist yet, but they could in 10 to 20 years.
If you have the space, start a Christmas tree forest!
How to care for a potted tree:
- Don't keep the tree inside for much more than a week (two max).
- Water generously.
- Place the tree outside in the yard until the spring thaw, and then plant it.
Indoor potted pine
Rent a tree
You order it, they deliver it, you enjoy it and they pick it up! I'm aware of two B.C. examples:
DIY Christmas tree
Make a tree from items you already own — books, scrap paper, metal coat hangers, felt, etc.
Did I miss an option?
Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green