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The Green Life: O Christmas Tree...

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December 01, 2007

O Christmas Tree...

...O Christmas tree, Much pleasure doth thou bring me! And much consternation, if the inquiries we get about whether to buy real, fake, or none at all are any indication. Here are some things to keep in mind when decking your halls:

Istock_000004399687xsmallCut trees generally come from tree farms. See if there's an organic one near you on this list, or ask around at your local farmers' market. Avoid buying trees with flocking (fake snow) on them, and be sure to have your tree composted or mulched after the holiday season is over. Many cities now offer this type of program; some even provide curbside pickup!

Fake trees are often made of nasty plastics like polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and some even have lead in them. Most are also made in other countries and shipped long distances. If you do decide to go faux, be sure to buy a sturdy one and use it for many years.

Living trees are a good option since they can be kept in a pot on your deck during the rest of the year and planted in your yard once they grow too big to bring inside. Just be sure that the tree isn't an invasive species for your area (check with your state forester or a local nursery, cooperative extension, or tree-planting group) and take care of it properly. Some cities even have programs to collect your potted tree and plant it in a low-income neighborhood that needs more trees.

No matter what kind of tree you choose, string it with energy-efficient LED lights!

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