Artificial or natural tree?
Artificial trees are less of a fire hazard and don't drop needles to create a mess on the floor like the natural ones do. If pre-lit, all you have to do is plug them in (a big time-saver). You don't have to worry about getting this tree recycled. For many, those factors are the tipping point for the artificial tree.
On the other hand, if you love the smell of a fresh evergreen and keep it watered regularly to reduce fire hazard and slow the needle drop, a fresh tree might be the one for you. Even though it seems wasteful to remove a live tree from its natural habitat, you're actually acting sustainably.
An artificial tree must be used 20 years to have a lower carbon footprint than a natural tree. One acre of Christmas trees growing on a tree farm creates enough oxygen to support 18 people. So, if you like the fragrance, are willing to control the mess, and keep your tree fire safe, go for the natural one.
Other ways to go green
Reduce energy with LED lighting. Whatever your tree, light it up with LED lights. They are safe because they generate no heat to ignite the tree. They require less power and many less outlets. Many strands can be plugged end-to-end and into one single outlet. They are energy efficient.
Reuse what you have.
- Use the lowest branches cut off a natural tree to put in a vase and bring the evergreen fragrance to other rooms in your home.
- Gather pinecones and branches with berries from the yard and make them part of your fresh holiday décor.
- Look for branches such as red twig dogwood to add interest in outdoor containers and indoor arrangements.
- Re-purpose materials such as turning pinecones into fire starters. Dip, dry and re-dip pinecones 4-5 times in melted wax to create fire starters for a fireplace or outdoor fire pit.