7 Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Christmas Tree Alternatives

eco-friendly sustainable Christmas tree alternatives

It’s that time of year again!
The holidays are upon us, and we need to start thinking about Christmas trees.

Christmas trees come in different shapes, sizes, colors, and styles. They range from small tabletop trees to large floor models. But what kind of tree should you get? Real or artificial? And if you don’t want a real tree, how can you make a DIY Christmas Tree that is a sustainable alternative to the traditional one?

We have answered these questions and more in this article.

Are Traditional Christmas Trees Sustainable?

Christmas trees are not a very sustainable choice when reducing your carbon footprint.

Real Christmas trees are grown on farms and often require a lot of water and pesticides. In addition, once the tree is cut down, it must be transported to your home, which creates even more emissions.

Fake Christmas trees are made of plastic, a petroleum product, and will never decompose. So even if you reuse your artificial tree for many years, the emissions from its manufacture will continue to impact the environment. Instead, consider a potted plant if you’re looking for more sustainable tree options.

Real or Fake Christmas Trees: Which One is More Eco-Friendly?

Every year, we hear the same debated question: “Are real or artificial Christmas trees better for the environment?” But ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preference.

Here’s a quick overview of the benefits and drawbacks of natural and artificial trees to help you make the best decision this Holiday Season:

Real Christmas Trees Pros:

  • Real Christmas trees usually are pine trees or beautiful fir trees. They are biodegradable. They can also be recycled into mulch or used as firewood.
  • You can usually find real trees sourced from sustainable tree farms.
  • When replanted, they continue contributing to the absorption of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  • There’s nothing like the smell of a real tree in your home during the holidays!

Real Christmas Trees Cons:

  • Real trees can be expensive.
  • They contribute to more carbon emissions when transported.
  • Deforestation contributes to the reduction of natural habitat for wildlife.
  • They require more upkeep than artificial trees (e.g., watering, vacuuming fallen needles, etc.).

Artificial Christmas Trees Pros:

  • Artificial trees are usually less expensive than real trees.
  • They’re easy to set up and take down.
  • You can reuse them year after year, which cuts down on waste.

Artificial Christmas Trees Cons:

  • Most artificial trees are made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride), a type of plastic that is not biodegradable. This means they will eventually end up and stay in landfills for years to come.
  • Some plastic trees are flammable, so you need to be careful if you have them near any heat sources (e.g., fireplaces, candles, etc.).
  • Fake trees also have a large carbon footprint because they’re often shipped from China (where most are manufactured).

So, which is the better option? If you prefer the convenience of a fake tree and you are looking to use it for years to come without getting caught up in the “latest trends” then go for it but try to source your tree from a local store; even better if it is a thrift store. However, a real tree is the way to go if you’re looking for a more planet-friendly option.

Are Christmas Trees sustainable? Alternatives to traditional Christmas Tree

The Best Eco-Friendly Christmas Tree Alternatives 

There are many different ways to help you stay green this festive season. If you can’t decide between a fake or a real tree, we are happy to announce that there are plenty more options to choose from! Below, we have listed five eco-friendly Christmas Tree DIY projects and other ways to source your Christmas Tree sustainably.

DIY Your Christmas Tree

Time to get on the ladder and string up the lights. But this year, you’re going to do things a little differently. You’re going to DIY your Christmas tree!

There are plenty of sustainable Christmas tree alternatives, but why not recycle and reuse what you already have? We have shortlisted our favorite DIY projects to create your eco-friendly Christmas tree alternative. Ready to get crafty and get yourself a sustainable, eco-friendly Christmas tree that will last for years to come? Read on!

1. Driftwood Christmas Tree

A driftwood Christmas Tree is an eco-friendly way of decorating your home during the holiday season. You don’t even need to buy a tree. Then use it to make a beautiful Christmas tree.

The driftwood Christmas tree is a popular choice for a beach-inspired Holiday season. Driftwood trees are unique and add a touch of coastal charm to any home. So if you’re looking to get crafty this holiday season, consider making your driftwood tree.

Driftwood trees are relatively easy to make. All you need is some driftwood and some wire. Just gather some driftwood you find along the beach or riverbed. Attach the branches with the wire and decorate with sustainable Christmas decorations, and voila! You have a beautiful, one-of-a-kind driftwood tree.

Driftwood trees are the perfect way to add a unique vibe to your holiday decor.

Driftwood Christmas Tree Sustainable Alternative eco-friendly Christmas
Rosemary bush Christmas Tree Alternative Sustainable Eco-friendly

2. Rosemary Christmas Tree

Rosemary bushes are the perfect miniature Christmas Trees; they smell great and last for years, indoors or outdoors. They are super easy to care for and require very little maintenance; however, you must water them regularly. A rosemary tree will live up to 10 years if it receives proper care.

Like the pine tree, the rosemary plant has small leaves resembling pine needles. It’s ideal for small spaces, gift baskets, office decorations, and party favors.

For the perfect “dress up” as a Christmas tree, trim the ends to give it the ideal Christmas tree shape.

3. Ladder Christmas Tree

Sustainable Eco-Friendly Christmas Tree Alternative Ladder Christmas Tree

A ladder Christmas tree is a fun and unique way to add holiday cheer to any space. You can use a ladder you may already have around the house and have fun decorating with your family. You can hang ornaments from the ladder rungs, and you can even put lights on it. Ladder Christmas trees are also great for displaying Christmas cards and other sustainable holiday decorations, such as garlands. It’s a fantastic amazing way to get into the holiday spirit and fun to decorate your home.

Christmas Tree Book Stack Alternative Sustainable
Photo Credit IG @readingwithmegan

4. Book Stack Christmas Tree

A Christmas tree made of books is the perfect decoration for any bookworm. This unique tree is sure to start a conversation and can be customized to fit any book lover’s taste. 

This project requires no glue, tape, or nails, just patience and creativity. You’ll need a strong base, string lights, and about twenty large books plus ten small ones. Choose a variety of different-sized and colored books to create a cohesive look. Start by arranging the big books into a circle on the ground. Then stack up the smaller books on top of each other, leaning them inwards until you’ve got a pyramid shape. Finally, add some finishing touches like lights or garlands and a tree topper when you’re finished. 

Your book Christmas tree is now ready to enjoy!

5. Hanging Christmas Branch

Hanging branches is one of the most popular ways to add some Christmas cheer to small spaces. This simple DIY project is inexpensive, easy to make, and perfect for adding holiday cheer to your front door, porch, deck, or patio.

Head to your local park, woodland, or backyard and look for a suitable branch that’s already fallen to the ground. Next, hang the tree branch from the ceiling using string, fishing wire, or whatever else you have lying around. Then, decorate it to add that festive feel.

suspended branches Christmas decorations sustainable Christmas alternative
Image Credit Lushome.com

6. You Don’t Have to Own One: Rent a Christmas Tree

Christmas tree rentals are a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to buying a living tree.

Renting a Christmas tree is, in many ways, more convenient than buying one.

Renting a tree eliminates the need to dispose of it after Christmas and reduces your carbon footprint. Plus, you can choose from various sizes and styles, including sustainable options, to match your home style.

Living Christmas trees are often cut down and discarded after just a few weeks of use, but renting a tree means you can repurpose it year after year. This will allow you to reduce waste and protect our environment.

So why not rent a Christmas tree this year? It’s a sustainable, convenient, and festive way to celebrate the holidays!

7. Buy a Second Hand Christmas Tree

A secondhand Christmas tree is an ethical and environmentally friendly way to celebrate the holidays. Fortunately, many places sell secondhand fake Christmas trees.

These trees are often just as good as new and can be bought for a fraction of the price, making them an excellent option for budget-conscious shoppers. You’ll be able to find one fitting your home decor style and preferences, and you’ll be doing your part to help the Planet.

Another option is a potted tree. Potted trees are usually easy to find on Facebook buy-sell groups. They are sold in pots filled with soil, sometimes directly by the local nurseries. Because they’re already growing in containers, they use less water than standard trees.

Get Creative, and have a Merry, Eco-Friendly Christmas

We know that buying a tree from a store seems the most convenient but expensive. That’s why we love these eco-friendly alternatives. From DIY projects to thrifting your evergreen tree, there are plenty of other options to help you swap from traditional trees and celebrate the holidays.

Whatever type of tree you choose, you’ll be helping the environment and saving money at the same time.

To stay green for the whole festive season, don’t also forget to check out our sustainable gift wrapping guide and, to keep crafty, our eco-friendly festive Decoration Ideas.

Happy Holidays! x

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