Action 333: Consider alternatives to the traditional Christmas tree

Alt Christmas TreeDate: 29 November
Action: 333
Cost of taking action: LOW


From our guest author Anna Dawson in the UK

We all love Christmas traditions, especially the tree!

However, as our planet changes it may be time to consider a more eco-friendly alternative to the traditional Christmas tree.

What’s the issue with traditional Christmas trees?

The average artificial Christmas tree is responsible for around 40kg of greenhouse gas emissions, is made of non-biodegradable plastics and transported across the globe racking up the carbon footprint still further. This is double the footprint of the average real Christmas tree, which if chipped or replanted has almost no emissions.

However, real Christmas trees currently usually end up in landfill. You may think that the tree will just rot away, but it actually produces high volumes of methane as it decays which is even more damaging for the environment then carbon dioxide.

Not very jolly, is it!

The alternatives

Fear not, here are some great alternatives to consider for this Christmas.

Renting a tree

This is a great, relatively new practice. A company will carefully dig up a Christmas tree from a Christmas tree farm and deliver it to your door in a pot. It is your responsibility to look after it but then at the end of the Christmas period, the company will pick up the same tree from your home and replant it back at the farm, where it grows for another year.

This makes sure that the tree doesn’t die, avoiding the environmental damage caused by the its death.

However, do make sure to pick a tree from as local as possible, otherwise the transport emissions could overshadow the environmental good you are doing!

Here is a link to a London Rent-a-Tree – – but they are quite widespread so you can find a company that covers any location with a simple internet search.

Driftwood or sticks

Make a driftwood/sticks Christmas tree – now this is a fun one!

Alt Christmas TreeWhen on a winter walk, pick up as many sticks that you can find of a range of widths and thicknesses. You will need a whole range like the one in our picture. Then, arrange them into a triangular shape and secure some ribbon to each of the sticks to connect them, and you can now hang up your DIY christmas tree. Check out a guide to making one as

Decorate a tree you already have

This can be indoors or in the garden – there is no such species as “the Christmas tree”. One shape of tree just became popular for use at Christmas, so really any tree you have can be a Christmas tree!

Whether it’s an indoor birds of paradise tree, an acer or apple tree in your garden, decorate it as normal and have that as your Christmas tree! If you don’t have a tree in your house, you can use an outdoor potted tree and pop it into your living room.

A recycled cardboard tree

You could try a recycled flat pack cardboard Christmas tree. They are made of recycled cardboard, and can be life size with perfect grooves to decorate with tinsel. Here is a smaller tree – – but there are many larger ones. Have a browse!

Get really creative!

You could arrange bottles into a 3D Christmas tree or even knit a massive Christmas tree – the list goes on and is limited only by your own imagination and creativity. Go wild; there are no rules for a christmas tree, as long as it is triangular in shape and you can hang some decorations on it, you are onto a winner!!

Take action

Although it may seem odd at first, an alternative to the traditional tree can add another novel dimension to your Christmas, create a talking point, and reduce your plastic and carbon footprints. It will also prompt people to ask why – so you can tell them about the importance of taking action to protect our planet.

Out with the old, in with the new, eh?

This article was contributed by “Outdoorsy Anna” Anna Dawson
Twitter: @OutdoorsyAnnaa
Insta: @outdoorsy.annaa