I can remember as a child, the excitement of bringing down the dusty decorations and Christmas tree box from the attic as it officially marked the beginning of the holidays. For most of us, the anticipation of opening presents, being with family and consuming immense amounts of food, really does make it the best time of the year.
Recently, we have become more aware of the impact the festive season can have on the environment and so at CC we have done a little bit of an investigation into how you can decorate a Christmas tree sustainably without compromising on aesthetics.
sourcing the tree – real vs fake
There is always a debate on whether a real or fake Christmas tree is worse for the environment. The verdict is that buying a real Christmas tree is better for the environment, as they require fewer resources to produce. Certified trees are grown on land that has already been cleared rather than the common misconception that they clear forests. Fake trees on the other hand, are generally produced in China and out of PVC plastic which pretty much never breaks down in landfill. In saying that though, if you’ve already got a fake tree then definitely keep using it for as long as possible. If you can use it for 20+ years then it will become equally ‘green’.
When buying a real Christmas tree there are further steps you can take to make sure it is even more environmentally friendly. Firstly make sure your tree has been grown sustainably by looking for the FSC – certification and ideally look for one that is certified as organic and pesticide free. Opting for a tree that is grown as locally as possible will also cut down the carbon footprint in transportation. If you would like to go one step further, we would highly recommend purchasing a potted Christmas tree. The tree will live for longer in a pot and once the festivities have ended, all you have to do is remove the decorations and move the plant to your garden or balcony. They are pretty hardy trees, so with a little bit of love they will flourish and can be easily moved inside the following year.
Below are CC’s recommended suppliers for potted Christmas Trees –
christmas tree lights
Buying Christmas tree lights for the first time or if your existing lights are more than ten years old, then investing in energy efficient LED lighting is the way to go. They can save you up to 90% on power costs and last much longer than traditional bulbs. It is also worth getting lights that have a timer which saves the hassle of having to remember to turn them off which will massively reduce the amount of electricity used. Even though it can be extremely frustrating, spending some time to investigate a blown bulb and replacing it is a much more sustainable approach than buying a new set.
christmas tree decorations
Re-using existing decorations is the most sustainable approach to decorating a tree. If you do however need to top up your decorations then choose sustainably sourced decorations such as those locally handmade and using FSC-wood or recycled materials. Edible decorations are another option, a fun activity making gingerbread stars with your kids will not only look great hanging from the tree but also delicious to eat leading up and post Christmas a, win win in my opinion