The trees we decorate so festively each year are the first way we can get greener. Although an artificial tree may seem like a greener option, it actually isn’t, what with the plastics involved and the long distances it probably had to travel from manufacturer to retail store. Plus it’ll have to be disposed of at some point, unless you’re like my Mother-in-Law who’s kept her white metallic tree for the past 20 years.
So if you’re going to go with a real tree, you can feel pretty good about it, because basically, since Christmas Tree farms are constantly planting new trees to replace the ones cut and sold each year, their practice is really quite sustainable. Please note that the greenest way to have a cut Christmas tree this year is to find the tree farm closest to you, so you can reduce the number of miles it travels to get to you. And if you do use a cut tree this year, be sure to recycle it in the Green Bin after you’re through with it. That way, it will be turned to mulch to help new plants grow.
We also have a creative option here in LA: Tree Rental. The Living Christmas Company (profiled here: http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2010/12/02/want-a-live-christmas-tree-how-about-a-rental/) is a service that rents live trees for the holiday season. Simply pick out which type of tree you’d like from their website, and it will be delivered to you for use during the month of December. And when the rental period is over, they’ll come and pick it up again. So simple, and so green. The company sells out of trees as demand for eco-friendly holiday solutions increases, but you can also find ornaments and other gifts there, too.
The Living Christmas Company
800 S. Pacific Coast Highway #443
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
The greenest thing to do when it comes to shopping is to stay local. This post about small-towns within LA will give you great ideas about where to shop close to home. (http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/guide/where-to-find-that-small-town-feeling-in-and-around-los-angeles/) But if you’re looking for actual eco-friendly gifts to buy for your friends and loved ones, there are a few specialty stores in LA you ought to check out: LivingGreen, Reform School and The Green Life Store.
10000 Culver Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
3902 West Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90029
The Green Life
2409 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Wrapping The Gifts
Whatever you do end up buying, the way you wrap it matters, too. Using paper that you’ll only throw away afterwards is the least green thing you can do. Instead, consider using the funny pages from the newspaper, which is not only fun but also completely recyclable afterwards. Or try aluminum foil, which gives your gifts a festive, shiny look, and again, is recyclable afterwards. Another option is to use a reusable bag, like a pretty canvas bag, that can be used again as a shopping bag after the holidays are through.