Environmentally Friendly Christmas Tree Options

Amidst the stress of the pandemic, our jobs, and the challenges within our society, let’s talk about something we can all agree on – Christmas! There’s nothing like sitting on your couch with your favorite holiday beverage and admiring your Christmas decor. Between the quality time with family, the beautifully trimmed tree, the twinkling lights, and the little traditional trinkets you look forward to seeing each season, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year. 

But did you know that there are several eco-friendly options you can implement into your Christmas decor this year? If you haven’t started decorating for Christmas and you feel personally connected to positively impacting the environment, consider adding an eco-friendly tree into your home this year! Let us tell you more about some options. 

What are the different options for Christmas Trees?

Who says a Christmas tree has to be traditional? The beauty of a Christmas tree is that it can come in a multitude of sizes, colors, shapes, and styles. Millions of people have a Christmas tree in their homes during the holidays, and it is so exciting to see different styles and cultures represented. 

This year, there are lots of exciting varieties of Christmas trees that are not only unique and fun but also eco-friendly.

Here are some of our favorites:

  • Real/Live Christmas Tree
    • If you love the look of a traditional tree by your fireplace, you can’t go wrong with taking a trip to a local tree farm for a fresh tree.
  • Artificial Tree
    • Artificial trees can be found in almost every color and size these days! You can always find an artificial tree from a local thrift store or save some cash with a hand-me-down from a family member or neighbor!
  • “Rent a Tree”
    • An exciting trend going around is the option to “rent” a Christmas tree. Some local tree farms will allow you to rent the tree for a few months and then return it to be replanted. 
  • Ladder Tree
    • If you’re in the mood for something different this year, ladder trees are all the rage. You’ll need an open wooden ladder, some wooden planks to lay across the steps, and then any decor that meets your fancy! Get creative with the decorations! 
  • Bottle Tree
    • Do you love relaxing with a cocktail after a long day of work? Start saving your bottles and build them into a tree. You can easily add some string lights into the bottles for an extra glow. When the season is over, you can feel good about recycling the bottles or reusing them next year!  
  • Driftwood Tree
    • Natural looking trees – without all the lights and ornaments – have become an admired style recently. This tree is especially ideal for someone with an artful eye and a crafty hand. Collect pieces of driftwood (or any branches you can find), and work your magic at building a simple but elegant tree by stacking branches vertically – starting with the longer pieces at the bottom and ending with shorter sticks on the top.  
  • Wall Art Tree
    • Do you have some open wall space in your home? If so, placing pieces of art in the shape of a tree directly on the wall can be a great option to spruce up your home and still have a holiday feel. From magnets, pieces of jewelry, and sentimental trinkets to various ornaments, small paintings, and some garland, the options are endless with a wall art tree. 
  • Wine Cork Tree
    • There are so many trendy crafts out there that can be created with wine corks, including building a small Christmas tree! Simply place and hot glue wine corks in a circular shape for the bottom level of the tree and repeat the steps with smaller circles as you move up to the top. This choice is so cute and festive! 
  • Book Tree
    • If you’re an avid reader and you wonder how to make great use of some of your older novels, you may have found the perfect option. Relive the stories and characters within your favorite novels by arranging your favorite books into the shape of a christmas tree, starting at the bottom and working your way up. You can even add string lights around the books after it is built to bring out an even cozier vibe. 

What are the environmental impacts of each kind?

With all of these new, innovative ideas for Christmas trees, we have to ask ourselves, which ones are the most eco-friendly? While Christmas is just one time of the year, it is an important season to reflect on our choices and how we can give to others, including the environment. 

An article from Morning Consult states that, in 2020, 75% of Christmas trees in homes were artificial. That begs the question, are artificial trees more eco-friendly than real trees? You’d be surprised at the debate surrounding this question. Many people think that reusing artificial trees is the more sustainable option to save from cutting down so many real trees, while others argue that real trees provide far more nutrients to the environment and they decompose naturally. So, what is true? 

It is very thoroughly explained in an article by Earth Friendly Tips that, above all other options, live trees are the most eco-friendly option. Real trees would be considered the next best option followed by some of the unique ones listed above, such as book tree, bottle tree, driftwood tree, and wine cork tree, which can all be recycled or reused. Artificial trees would be the least eco-friendly of all the ones mentioned. 

Artificial trees are made from a variety of materials, including various metals, plastics, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which require quite a bit of resources and energy to produce. Additionally, traces of lead can be found in PVC and/or the paint used on a fake tree – none of which you want around your children or grandchildren.  

Recycling an artificial tree can also be extremely difficult. According to a study by the New York Times, to maximize its impact on the environment, an artificial tree should be used for 10-20 years. If you do have an artificial tree in your home, there’s no problem with that! Just be sure to use it for as many years as you can. If you feel the need to upgrade your tree, consider gifting your artificial tree to someone else rather than throwing it out or recycling it. 

Live trees, on the other hand, are by far the most eco-friendly trees for the Christmas season. So, what’s the difference between a live and a real tree? 

Live trees can be purchased from your local tree farm with the root ball still attached. The remaining root will allow the tree to be replanted at the conclusion of the holiday season, continuing to provide nutrients and oxygen to the environment. Perfect!

If you are unable to obtain a live tree, you also can’t go wrong with a real tree from one of your local farms. Many people argue that cutting down a Christmas tree is harmful to the environment, but in fact, a few new trees (usually 4-5) are planted for each one that is cut. In addition, during the duration of the tree’s life as it grows to an adequate height for selling, the tree provides the environment with wonderful nutrients and it gives a home for birds and other wildlife. 

How can I purchase these options?

There are a number of locally-based locations where you can purchase the perfect, eco-friendly Christmas tree. Shopping locally is our recommended option! You’re not only supporting your local Columbus neighbors, but you’re also cutting back on carbon emissions from a longer drive. Don’t wait too long though! Trees will sell out very quickly this year as a result of COVID restrictions. It is advised to check these local tree farms’ websites or Facebook pages before making the trip just to ensure they are still selling products. 

Check out one of these local gems in Franklin County: 

  • Campus Pitt Stop – Purchase pre-cut Christmas trees, wreaths, boughs, garlands, or other Christmas decorations. They will also tie the trees, and kids can visit Santa!
  • Hoffman’s Farm Market – Purchase pre-cut Christmas trees and enjoy a hayride, petting zoo, or farm tour. 
  • HTH Farm Market – Purchase pre-cut Christmas trees, wreaths, and garlands. They will tie the trees for you. You can also purchase fresh eggs! 
  • Mr. Tree Farm – Purchase pre-cut Christmas trees or choose and cut your own (saws are provided)! Live trees can be purchased here along with Christmas wreaths, garlands, and boughs. Make a day out of it with your family, and enjoy their Christmas-themed park, winter hay rides, Christmas festival, petting zoo, farm tour, and/or refreshments. ​​ 
  • Taylor Tree Farm – Purchase pre-cut Christmas trees, wreaths, boughs, garlands, and other decorations. Live trees are sold here! They’ll even shake and tie the tree for you. Don’t forget to visit Santa while you’re here! 
  • TNTrees Farm – Purchase a Christmas tree that you can choose and cut yourself (saws are provided)! Enjoy some free hot chocolate while you browse for Christmas wreaths and garlands as well.

Rest assured that when the holidays are over, you have several options to properly dispose of your tree. Check out our January 2020 blog for some specifics. 

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