Eco Christmas Trees and Good Green Festive Foods

Christmas crackers

By using real eco Christmas trees and taking good care over your food choices you can celebrate Christmas in real green style. Here are some ideas for greening your Christmas festivities.

Guest article "Eco Christmas trees and foods" with thanks to SimpleItalianCooking.com


Eco Christmas Trees and Foods


There are many ways to make your life a bit greener, all year round, through every holiday, whether it is Christmas or any other holiday season.

This article addresses a few ways you can green up your festivities amidst the hustle and bustle of the busy season.


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Real eco Christmas trees


One of the easiest ways to practice green living is to go natural with your Christmas tree. There are a variety of reasons why real Christmas trees are better than artificial ones. Here are three of them:


Reason #1: Real Christmas trees are better for the environment


Many artificial trees are made of plastics and PVC, both of which are difficult to recycle*. In fact, most people simply send their artificial trees to the dump where their tree ends up in a landfill. Plastics take thousands of years to disintegrate and if they are burned they can release harmful toxins into the air which are unsafe to breathe.

However, a real tree can be easily recycled and should it make its way to a landfill, the tree will decompose on its own, causing no harmful effects to the environment.

If you are unsure how to properly dispose of your tree, call your local recycling pick up service and they will be happy to help you.

*PVC can be recycled - but often isn't.


Reason #2: The real Christmas tree industry helps improve the environment


The real Christmas tree industry does not have to make much effort to “go green” because it already is*.

For every tree which is harvested, two or three seedlings are planted and grown in its place. The trees are grown and harvested by tree farms all around the country. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the air and in turn release healthy oxygen back into the air.

Many larger cities are trying to add more trees into their landscaping projects because trees help clean the pollution from the air. Tree farms are doing that already!

So if you want to contribute to improved air quality, buy a real eco Christmas trees and help tree farms plant even more trees.

*(Editor's note: This is only partially true. Whilst organically farmed trees are of benefit, workers on commercial non-organic Christmas tree farms have suffered from organophosphate poisoning. See here for a list of chemicals used in Xmas tree production in North Carolina, for example.)

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Eco Christmas trees and safety


Reason #3: Real Christmas trees are safer than you might think


Christmas tree leaves

Picture: A well-watered Christmas tree is not a fire hazard


A tree which is watered properly is able to retain moisture and is termed a “wet” tree. A wet tree, as illustrated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology website, is extremely resistant to catching on fire.

The NIST conducted a study whereby they used eight Scotch Pines and put them in stands. They did not water the first seven for three weeks and the eighth one they did properly water on a daily basis. Once the three weeks were up, each of the seven trees were able to be easily ignited and consumed by a single match.

The eighth tree could not catch fire. It was not until they used a blow torch that the eighth tree ignited, but once the blow torch was moved away the fire self-extinguished in the tree and the tree was not consumed. A wet tree is the only truly safe tree there is.

cat and Christmas tree
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Plastic trees can melt and when they melt, chemicals and gases are released from the plastic material which are toxic to inhale.


Picture: Even pets appreciate a real tree!



Organic festive foods

Celebrating Christmas doesn't only involve putting up an eco Christmas tree, but is also celebrated with good food.

Different cultures celebrate with different traditions, but good food is truly a tradition which everyone takes seriously. If you are concerned about what kind of food to buy, here is a tip - go organic.

Organic meat


Organic meat unfortunately is not the norm in our society. If you are opposed to the way the general meat industry operates in its mass production facilities and the way they treat and raise animals - do not feel you have to go meatless to make a point.

To make a more powerful impact, support the companies and local farms which raise and process their meats organically and humanely. These companies often have a harder time due to the competition from larger corporations and they could use your support. Choose to buy meat from those who treat their animals kindly, feed them natural and healthy foods, and provide proper grazing conditions such as open fields where the cows, chicken and other livestock can roam and exercise freely.

Another benefit to buying meat from a local farm is that the meat is fresher and healthier. When buying from a retail store, the meat has already been packaged at the plant, sent to the butcher and processed again. When purchasing from a local farm, you can talk directly with their butcher (who is often an owner) and request that they prepare the meat for you. They will use their own professional meat grinder, or if you own your own grinder like the home grinder waringmg800, you know your meat has been handled by just a few people and the chain of distribution has greatly been shortened - lending itself to better quality control.


Organic vegetables


Another advantage to buying organic food is the absence of pesticides and chemicals. To be truly organic, a producer cannot use any type of chemical - not just in the form of pesticides for the produce, but also in the soil and water supply. Unnatural elements used in food production - especially in the soil cause the soil to become depleted in the nutrients it stores. The less nutrients the soil holds, the less nutrients the produce will contain. This affects growth and health.

There are many advantages to buying organic foods and other products. Whether for environmental reasons or if you are simply trying to get back to a more natural lifestyle without synthetics and chemicals, there are ways you can support the industries which are courageous enough to stand up and offer products produced with our well being in mind.

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This article was contributed by SimpleItalianCooking.com, a recipe website which offers advice and reviews for common kitchenware appliances perfect for holidays and entertaining from an automatic food slicer to decorative pasta bowls.


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Some reading and campaigning on organic and free-range meat


If you want to read possibly the best ever book on meat, get Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's excellent book The River Cottage Meat Book. It not only tells you everything that is wrong with modern factory farm production methods, it also tells you how it should be done and gives lots of excellent cooking and preparation methods, too. We have this book and can highly recommend it. Hugh continues to work for animal welfare with the Chicken Out campaign and Hugh's Fishfight.


Light fantastic!


Real Christmas trees look magical when decorated with low-energy multi-color changing LED lights like the ones shown here. There's no comparison with a plastic tree - which always looks plastic! Except that some of the pricier models are now quite durable and recyclable.

If your circumstances mean that a real Christmas tree is out of the question, take a look at another guest author page: The best artificial Christmas trees and the green tree debate. She makes some good points!

If money is tight - or you need more beautiful shrubs for your garden, you could also consider just buying an evergreen shrub rather than a Christmas tree and planting it in your garden after the festivities.


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Copyright Greenfootsteps.com and SimpleItalianCooking.com, 2011


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