Christmas Tree Alternatives for a Sustainable Christmas

This Christmas, give the gift of a more sustainable future. With wastage increasing around Christmas time each year, ensure you’re trying to be more sustainable with these alternative Christmas trees and waste minimisation tips.

While some may think fake Christmas trees are more sustainable than real ones, this is not entirely true. The plastics and petroleum-based materials used to make fake Christmas trees are harmful to the environment, cannot be recycled and their production takes 5 times more energy than a real tree. 

On the other hand, real trees help clean air while they’re alive and you can even buy planted Christmas trees to make sure they don’t die once Christmas is over. If you don’t want an artificial or real tree, we’ve come up with 6 different sustainable Christmas tree alternatives for you to try this December. Additionally, we’ve provided some extra tips on how to reduce your waste this year with 7 easy tricks.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.

Did you know?

Christmas waste facts from National Storage:

  • $11 billion is spent annually on Christmas gifts in Australia.
  • Each Christmas, Australians receive more than 20 million unwanted gifts.
  • Nearly 90% of Australians reported that Christmas put a strain on their finances.
  • 150,000km of wrapping paper is used by Australians each Christmas.
  • More than 5 million tonnes of food is wasted every year in Australia, with 90% of Australians tossing more than 25% of their food out during the holiday season (Dec 1 – Jan 1).
  • Tossing out one burger wastes an equal amount of water as a 1.5 hour long shower.

6 Types of Sustainable Christmas Trees & Alternatives

1. Create a Christmas tree out of yarn!

You can save space (and the environment) by using yarn to zig-zag out a tree on your living room wall. Tape the yarn down and add photos or other decorations you can stick onto the wall. For a tree topper, use the yarn to create a star or make one out of gold card.

If you’re renting or cautious of damaging the wall, avoid duct tape, scotch tapes and masking tape as it can damage the paint. There are specific tapes made for walls, so look for paint-safe or wall-safe labels.

2. Recycled Christmas trees.

A recycled Christmas tree is another great alternative to fake ones. You can find second-hand Christmas trees made out of recycled wood, plastics and other materials. This is a great way to still enjoy a Christmas tree, without harming the environment. 

Before decorating your tree, check out these eco friendly Christmas decorations.

Decorate one of your plants!

I know it’s hard to pick a favourite plant, but hey, one’s gotta be the best! Pick your favourite (or strongest) plant to be your Christmas tree. Place it on a small stand or table and add mini baubles or make your own with recycled paper. This is an easy way to enjoy Christmas using something you already have. 

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have more plants than you can count and love them all, which is why I’ll probably end up decorating all of them to show them equal love…

Rustic Christmas tree.

You can grab a ladder and make an abstract Christmas tree. To do this, use yarn, string or any kind of rope to hang baubles at different heights under the arch of the ladder. Add any other decorations you like and pop a star on top. 

It’s not bad luck to walk under a ladder if it’s Christmas.

5. Vase Christmas tree.

You can also make a Christmas tree using a vase and baubles. To make this simple, yet unique tree, fill a large, clear vase with baubles and place a star on top for a modern, minimalist Christmas tree! This is a great way to still use Christmas decorations in a clean, mess-free way.

6. Buy a planted Christmas tree.

If you want to be original, you can still buy a Christmas tree in an environmentally friendly way. Although we don’t stand for cutting down trees, Christmas trees are planted quicker than they are chopped down and help clean air in the 7 years they are growing.

You can buy pre-potted Christmas trees to make sure they don’t dry out and die while you enjoy them over the Christmas period. Or, you can even plant one in your yard to decorate outside.

It’s best to buy a tree from a local farm, ensuring transportation is kept to a minimum. Furthermore, by selecting a farm that will recycle the tree for you by wood chipping ensures it will not end up in landfill. 

However, this can be hard to do in Australia with few Christmas tree farms around. Therefore, opting in for an easy DIY recommendation above may be the easiest and most sustainable option.

7 Ways to Have an Eco Friendly Christmas

1. Minimise waste.

Send e-cards instead of regular cards to save paper and prevent landfill. We all appreciate the thought and love that comes with Christmas cards, however this can also be done via the web. 

You can also help minimise Christmas waste by buying boxes, pouches or other reusable present wrapping containers to prevent throwing out wrapping paper and ribbons each December. Additionally, you can also wrap presents with newspaper or other compostable/recyclable materials to minimise your waste.

2. Buy eco friendly gifts.

You can find local eco friendly stores, which offer products which are generally more environmentally friendly and often sell reusable products. Buy someone something they’ll find useful like reusable coffee mugs, straws, containers, skincare and other goodies! 

Or even better, buy people donations in their name to a charity they love! One of my favourite presents growing up was when my aunt made a donation in mine and my brother’s names to an animal sanctuary, which sent us a package saying we each adopted a monkey. We thought it was the coolest thing ever.

3. Give the gift of experiences.

Give the gift of life! Gift a loved one an experience they’ll cherish rather than a tangible gift. From wine tasting, rock climbing and massages, there are so many ways to spoil your friends and family without wasting. 

If you want to take the pressure off of your finances, opt to both give each other an experience. For example, you could treat them to an amazing meal you’ve made or make each other a voucher book with a bunch of experiences they can select from throughout the year.

4. Only buy and reuse eco friendly decorations.

As seen above, we are 30% more wasteful around Christmas time. Although we love wrapping gifts, buying new decorations each year and throwing out all the packaging, we haven’t been trained to stop and think about all this wastage. 

Even the wrapping paper we buy comes in a plastic sleeve, wrapped around a cardboard tube. We then throw away this wrapping paper after we open gifts, so we’re essentially paying for a product we will entirely throw away.

5. Solar panel decorations.

We all love Christmas decorations, so here’s a better way to decorate! You can get solar panel decorations, using the earth’s natural resources to light up your festive decorations. Even better, you buy recycled Christmas decorations to help reduce landfill and have a sustainable Christmas.

6. Recycle!

With so much packaging for presents being bought and thrown away, ensure you recycle the packaging you can. While it’s best to have compostable or reusable packaging, it’s hard to tell people how to wrap your gifts, which is why recycling or reusing the materials is the best way to deal with this situation.

7. Avoid Christmas ham.

Avoid Christmas ham this year and treat yourself and your family to a healthy Christmas meal. Cutting down on meat saves the environment as the meat industry is a leading cause of climate change. Addressing these issues makes for a more merry Christmas, and world for future generations. 

Ham is also dangerous for cats and dogs as it is high in salt. By not having ham this Christmas, it will be a healthier Christmas for you and a safer Christmas for your pets.

If you’re looking for your perfect Christmas tree (or plant),  you can find them on!

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      Chloe Thistle

      Junior Marketing Administrator

      Chloe Thistle is a Junior Marketing Administrator at Localsearch, bringing her talents and background in digital and social media marketing to her role. She has sharpened her marketing skills across many different industries, including entertainment, fashion and in the B2B field. In her spare time, Chloe can be found either lounging at the beach or five coffees deep at one of her favourite local cafés. No stranger to adventures, she’s trekked to Mt. Everest Base Camp — fueled by coffee of course — has completed the Kokoda Challenge and is always looking for the next mountain to climb! Chloe loves looking for ways to combine her passions for adventure, sustainability and marketing, always chasing the latest trends in both marketing and fashion. Now, she’s utilising her vast life and digital marketing experience to blog and assist in the content with the Localsearch Marketing Team.