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Fake vs Real: Which Christmas Trees are Greenest?

Alternative Trees
It was a puppy-shredded down pillow that inspired the crafting of my feather tree (as in, oh my goodness, all these feathers, what to do?!). And although it falls firmly into the Charlie Brown class of Christmas trees, it is sweet and has become a tradition in our home. If you don’t have an old down pillow in need of re-use, you can buy a feather tree kit here.

Some people swear by ornament trees—sculptural arboreal forms to hang ornaments from–and some of those trees are pretty cute. Ornament trees can be decorated seasonally and thus used all year, and can be used to clip photos and mementos to as well—visit this site for a huge selection of ornament trees. You can also make a natural ornament tree by gathering some dramatic dormant branches from outdoors and setting them in a large, weighted vase.

And of course, you can always decorate a houseplant. I have seen some fabulous ornament-bedecked, twinkling cacti, or how about a giant rosemary bush (like the one above) that can be planted outside when the weather turns from frightful to fruitful.

Read more: Christmas, Green, Green Home Decor, Holidays, Home, Life, , , , ,

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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2:21PM PDT on Apr 20, 2015

Thank you Melissa.

10:08PM PDT on Mar 28, 2013

Thank you for info.

10:07PM PDT on Mar 28, 2013

Thank you for info.

7:02PM PST on Mar 5, 2011

Where I come from in Louisiana, all the trees become sandbar reinforcements after christmas, which helps slow coastal erosion. So I don't mind my parents buying a new one every year. Plus, the smell adds to their worth! But for myself, when I grow up, I think I'd like to have a living tree or cactus. That would be superb! And I could use some pine and cinnamon oils for cleaning during december to sort-of mimic the smell in my home. ^_^

10:27AM PST on Dec 10, 2010

Quite ironic is the fact that the "Christmas" tree is supposed to be an icon of immortality and life in the harsh winter nights, but millions of trees en up dead after a sad decay under flashy lights and plastic ornaments...

Imagine what would happen if instead of chopping down a tree for these annual rituals we would plant one every year.

Millions of new trees planted every year would really make a merry little Christmas for me.


8:52PM PST on Dec 9, 2010

The living tree is the greenest because it can be used year after year if taken care of. And each year it will be better than the year past. When it gets too tall, then plant it outside and decorate it there.

8:33PM PST on Dec 8, 2010

I would love to have a real tree for a Christmas Tree.:) I am planning to have one this Christmas with all the natural trimmings and natural decors to adorn the Tree:) Yehey!!!!

12:43PM PST on Dec 8, 2010

Well no tree here, I tree is the beatifulest outside in the woods. And plastic I found not needed. But then again ,, I have cats :)

11:20AM PST on Dec 8, 2010

not to mention that the farm land if not used to grow trees could be developed and exploited for something else...

11:17AM PST on Dec 8, 2010

Well, I think of it this way. Fake trees are made in China. Real trees are farmed in the US and Canada, giving jobs to more local folks - not just the farmers, but also the truck drivers and many retail distributors including non-profits that benefit by selling them. A good way to spread a dollar these days.

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