Are you the type to put up your Christmas tree the minute the Hallowe’en pumpkin is com- posted, or do you leave it until weeks into December? Either way, there’s little doubt that this tradition, often believed to have been introduced to this country by Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert in 1840, has a large role to play in making a home feel festive.
Sadly, it also has rather a large role to play in the wastefulness associated with the festive season: it’s estimated that an additional three million tonnes of waste is generated during this period in the UK alone and, according to sustainable plant delivery service Muddy Trowel, the carbon footprint of a traditional Christmas tree is equivalent to that of 500 plastic shopping bags.
For those who would argue that having a reusable plastic tree is the more eco-friendly option, the Carbon Trust estimates that they have a carbon foot-print substantially higher than a real tree. That said, not all real trees are created equal, so this season, look for Christmas trees that give back.
Made from recycled cardboard, this laser-cut tree stands at 52in, making it ideal for smaller spaces. It doesn’t require any tools or glue for assembly and packs away flat after use. Best of all, the fact that it’s made from reclaimed cartons means that each tree may have fragments of lettering on one side, which just adds to its uniqueness. £140.50. Etsy.Com/uk
Caring Christmas Trees
Based in scotland, this arm of bethany christian trust sells nordmann firs locally farmed in west lothian and puts all profits towards helping the home- less. Each tree is wrapped in oxo-biode- gradable netting for shipping. From £40. Caringchristmastrees.Com
Christmas on the Hill
This was the year that put rental wedding gowns on the national radar, but why stop there when you can rent christmas trees, too? This company works with a Gloucestershire farm to produce Norway spruce trees from seedlings, which can be hired and replanted year after year, until they grow too big for domestic use and are planted in the forest. From £60. Christmasonthehill.Co.Uk
Green Elf Trees
Locally sourced trees and offset carbon emissions are just the start of it: Green Elf trees also provides jobs for out-of- work musicians and entertainers, whose livelihoods have been affected by the pandemic, and donates £3 from the purchase of each tree to the charity of the customer’s choice. The company saves used trees from landfill by offering a responsible removal service, and sells ornaments made from natural materials. From £55. Greenelftrees.Co.Uk
Fancy a pre-Christmas break and a spot of festive crafting? Holiday rental company luxury coastal, based in the south west, has curated a range of workshops in seaton, devon. You can make a Christmas tree from driftwood under the guidance of artist Alison Bowskill. Dates are December 2 and 5. £25 per session; self-catered accommodation from £387 for two nights. Luxurycoastal.Co.Uk
Doris Brixham driftwood
If from-scratch DIY is not your bag, you can order a self-assembly kit and put together a festive masterpiece of kiln-dried driftwood. Fantastically sturdy and guaranteed to last a lifetime, these trees stand 5ft high and can be decorated as simply or as lavishly as you wish. When the festive season is over, disassemble and re-pack in the storage container until the following year. £495. Notonthehighstreet.Com/devondriftwood
Supplying trees from the same growers who furnish Downing Street with its festive fir, the stem is a one per cent for the sustainable Christmas trees to enjoy guilt-free planet member, contributing one per cent of all profits to environmental charities and non-profit organisations. The company’s ongoing partnership with Eden reforestation projects sees them plant 10 new trees for every Christmas tree they sell – trees that are delivered to customers in 100 per cent electric vans. From £50. Thestem.Co.Uk
Rivington Terraced Gardens
Proud Lancastrians should make their way to this 10-acre site, which features no fewer than 11 listed structures. Maintained by volunteers from the local community, the gardens cost more than £100,000 a year to maintain; buying a tree harvested from the site will not only fund the upkeep of its conservation project but also help to make way for foliage that’s more suited to local wildlife. £40. Rivingtonterracedgardens.Org.Uk
Bombus birch tree
Made from FSC certified birch, this tree comprises two interlocking pieces that form a 4ft tall, freestanding tree. Its clean lines make it the perfect complement to a minimalist, Scandi aesthetic, with an additionally festive touch created by the star-shaped cut-outs, through which lights may be threaded. £750. Notonthehighstreet.Com/bombus
Habitat mango wood tree
This contemporary Habitat tree is ideal for smaller spaces, thanks to its sleek lines and easy-to-store design. Additionally, it is crafted from mango wood – one of the more sustainable natural options. Standing at a respectable 5ft, it’s also very well priced for a tree with years of use in it. £45. Habitat.Co.Uk
“A tree is for life, not just for Christmas” according to this sustainability-driven delivery service – so its range of UK-grown Nordmann firs come potted in Elho eco-pots, which are made from recycled plastic using wind energy. At the end of the season, it can be planted outside until it’s ready to make a reappearance – otherwise, the company will collect it for free and plant it elsewhere. From £67. Muddytrowel.Com
Catsfield Christmas trees
Based in East Sussex, Catsfield Christmas Trees has chosen various charities to support over the years, including the Spinal Injuries Association and local air ambulance. This year, 25p from the sale of each tree will be donated to two local scout groups. From £28. Catsfieldchristmastreefarm.Com
Pines And Needles
Royal favourites Pines And Needles grow all of its trees in the UK – and, while most of the company’s vans are currently diesel or lpg, it is working towards a fleet of electric-only delivery vehicles. Once the festive season is over, Christmas keeps on giving for the animals at London Zoo, with the trees being chipped for bedding. From £36.95. Pinesandneedles.Com
Nordmann firs, either pot-grown (3-4ft tall) or cut (5-8ft tall) can be ordered from this multi-service, London-based business. They can either be planted in your garden by company professionals at the season’s end, or collected for recycling, right up until the end of January. From £39. Fantasticservices.Com
Serving the Surrey and Hampshire areas, these Nordmann firs are locally grown and can be collected after the festive season to be chipped and spread across the farm as a mulch for next year’s crop of trees. In addition, the growers have teamed up with just one tree, so for every tree that is sold, another one is planted. From £49. Santatrees.Co.Uk
Ideal for a petite approach to the season, this potted Picea conica tree stands just 15-20in high, and can be removed from its pot to be planted in the garden after Christmas. It comes complete with decorations made from sustainably-sourced, fully-recyclable paper and is delivered in packaging that can either be composted or kerb-side recycled. £30. Beardsanddaisies.Co.Uk
May all your Christmases be green
Further polish your halo by decorating your tree with “kind” ornaments: Sue Ryder (sueryder.org), the charity offering palliative, neurological and bereavement support, has a range of felt decorations, ranging from robins to reindeer, which are handmade in Nepal and Fair Trade. They are also sustainable, biodegradable, plastic-free and glue-free.
If festive interiors aren’t your primary concern, how about a tree that lasts a long time and benefits many? Download the Trees for Streets (treesforstreets.org) app, sponsor a tree in your neighbourhood and contribute to greening your local streets.