The big holiday that many of us get ready for months on end is fast approaching, but if you’re like me, you’ve left things off to the last minute once again. Enjoying everyone else’s decorations and holiday parties has left me in a position to be that girl, the one frantically buying a Christmas tree at the last possible minute.
This year I’m trying something a little different and I’m going the eco-friendly route when trimming my tree. Don’t worry, from what I can tell, this is probably one of the easiest projects of the year to keep sustainable. Here are six suggestions for keeping your Christmas tree truly green:
Get a Reusable Tree
For those of you able to overcome the tradition of a live tree (I know there’s many of us that can’t and it’s totally alright), a reusable tree is a pretty sustainable option. No, it doesn’t smell like a fresh pine tree, but it also doesn’t require any water, will not leave mysterious sap stains on the wall and doesn’t shed pine needles after a week. However, for those of you set on getting a real tree, getting one off a lot actually isn’t that terrible. Most of these trees come from farms where they grow pine trees specifically for Christmas, so my advice would be to purchase your tree from a school, church or other charity you’d like to support.
Recycle Your Decorations
No, I’m not talking about putting your decorations in the blue bin. I’m talking about saving decorations from year to year. Personally, I use the same decorations most years. If you like to change things up a bit, just change things up a bit. Instead of hanging sleigh bells on the door, make them into smaller ornaments for the tree.
Use Natural Foliage for Decorations
Instead of using plastic baubles all around the house, incorporate traditional flora into your décor. Stash small pine branches around the house (the mantle is a great place to start) and create a tree garland by stringing together cranberries, dried oranges and cinnamon sticks. Not only will the decorations be beautiful, but the smell is also fantastic.
Use LED Christmas Lights
I can’t bear the thought of a tree without Christmas lights, but they can be a real energy suck when they’re running all day and night. They now make LED Christmas lights, which are much more energy efficient than the old lights. If you don’t feel like buying all new lights, at least buy a timer so that your lights automatically shut off at a certain point in the evening with no reminders needed for you to do it manually.
Create Ornaments from Upcycled Materials
One search on Pinterest will give you enough ideas on how to reuse or morph household items as tree ornaments to keep you busy until next year. You can have all sorts of fun making new ornaments from old ties, sweaters and even sheet music. You could even make ornaments as gifts for your friends and family.
Recycle Your Tree
For those of you who decide on a live tree, be sure to take it to a tree recycling center after the season is over. When you do this, the tree gets turns into wood chips for mulch so it’s helping out with that whole circle of life thing. Boulder County residents can take their tree to the City of Boulder/Boulder County Yard Waste Drop-off special holiday tree collection at Western Disposal’s 5880 Butte Mill Road location. However, if you have curbside compost pickup and your tree is less than six feet tall, you can simply put it out with the compost bin (if it doesn’t fit in the bin, you can lean it up next to it) and Western will take care of it.
Having an eco-friendly Christmas tree really isn’t that difficult and, honestly, many of us probably have traditions that involve a few of these suggestions already. However you celebrate the holidays over the next week, I hope it’s a happy and healthy time for you and your family.