Christmas Trees!

Christmas Trees. There are great options for sustainable choices!

Open Mar Vista has brought a wonderful option to the Mar Vista Community - renting a living Christmas Tree! They have even taken it a step further and arranged for a 10% donation to Mar Vista schools and a bonus of a 5% discount. The trees are delivered to your door and picked up after Christmas. We got our tree from them this weekend and LOVE it but can offer some advise, having the benefit of the learning curve with what is a very busy new business. They have terrific customer support and are very responsive to phone calls and emails. Use these options to be clear on what you are ordering and make certain that the tree is delivered when you are there. When ours arrived, it technically met the minimum height we had ordered - but that is measuring from the floor of the pot to the tip of the center branch and the result was a tree that I could literally put my arms around. They immediately swapped it as they have extras on the truck and we were thrilled. Here is a note from their founder explaining the challenge -

"We understand the difficulties of viewing a tree over the internet and so it is our policy to have alternates on the truck in the event that a client is not 100% satisfied with their selection.
For very practical reasons, the height of the tree is measured from the floor. Pot sizes very in height, so you would not be able to determine true height unless it was inclusive. This is mentioned in the FAQ’s, but I hear ya and we could do a better job of explaining that.
Every tree is measured and inspected prior to being loaded on to the truck.
We tried to take as realistic pictures as possible for the website, and to if you click on the picture, three others are displayed to help you get a better feeling of shape/ texture/ and relative size"

For those of us who end up choosing a cut tree, there are a lot of options to make sure that it gets mulched and is still sustainable. If you are handy, cut it up yourself and put it in the green bin where it will become city mulch. I am not particularly handy but have usually found that my gardener had the right tools and was happy to earn a little extra for the effort. If it is too big to cut up, simply place it next to your green bin on pick up day and they will still take it. Easy! If you prefer, you can also take it to a city drop off center, but to me this seems much more challenging.

If you really want to be pampered, Recycle Trees will come in for a fee and drain the stand, remove the tree and even sweep up! They make a donation to Tree People from their proceeds and the tree is turned into mulch.

Think about purchasing LED Christmas lights! They are widely available (just Google them and price shop!). They use 20% of the electricity of conventional lights and put off absolutely no heat. Make sure you take your old conventional lights to a S.A.F.E. e waste drop off center.

Here's a thought - what about decorating without lights? Disposal of e waste is a major problem, even when we get it to the right spot. Our recycling centers are over overloaded and there isn't a market for their output - much of it is ending up in landfills anyway. And by 2012 it is predicted that our landfills will be overfilled. Anything we can do to enjoy the holidays with less 'stuff' is ultimately the best gift that we can give our kids and loved ones.

Have a wonderful, sustainable holiday!!