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Live, cut, or fake trees, what's your Christmas tree choice?

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This time of year is always a great one for many reasons. The cookies being one, but also the decorations, and of course, the trees. For many, it means heading out to the local tree farm and picking out that perfect tree that speaks just the right amount of Christmas. Many families won't hesitate to say that a cut Christmas tree is all they will ever go with, but what is actually the best choice for you, your home, and the environment? Let's weight the options.

1. A cut Christmas tree: For one, a cut Christmas tree, that was grown on a farm, has been grown for that very purpose. For many farms when the tree is cut, another gets planted in its place either that year or the following spring. Depending on where you purchase the cut tree depends on how important replanting is to you. If you go out into the woods and hack a tree down randomly, of course a tree won't be planted in its place, unless you do it yourself. Going with a cut tree from a farm will insure that this process is indeed done. Also, after the season is over, the tree can be mulched and used completely. The cycle of the cut Christmas tree may seem like a sad one, but using all parts of the tree will guarantee that the tree did not die in vain. Christmas tree farms also help harbor wildlife, especially birds. There are many Christmas tree farms around Oregon and finding one that's close to you will also guarantee that it's local, as well. Yay, two environmental pluses right there! To find a good Christmas tree farm in your area try Pick your own Christmas Tree.org, and to learn how to keep your tree alive throughout the season, check out the tips from The Neighborhood.

2. A live Christmas tree: This method is pretty much the most environmentally-friendly as you can get. Not only is the tree alive the entire time, once you are done with the tree inside your home for the holidays, it can be planted into the ground to complete the rest of its life. Live, potted trees are becoming more and more popular than they were say, 10 years ago, so it's really easy to find a lot of dealers on and offline. Live Christmas trees are sold just the same as regular trees, in a pot with soil, and pretty much that's what you get. You can find all sorts of trees, from Douglas Fir, to Colorado Blue Spruce (Pictured with this article).

3. A fake Christmas tree: Oh the dreaded fake tree debate. For many, that are vegan, this is pretty much the only other way to go if the live Christmas tree option isn't available. But for others, this is a horrible thought, of replacing a real tree with a fake one. Nothing is better than the smell of a live Christmas tree throughout the home during the season. Even on the movie A Christmas Story, the dad jokes with the tree lot about fake trees and how silly they seem. It's been the topic of conversation and A lot of environmentally-sound folks won't touch a fake tree because of the sheer fact of what it's made out of. A lot of fake trees are made overseas and shipped to the U.S. or vice versa, meaning that it won't at all be local. Not only that, but many artificial trees are made of plastics and metal that can't be recycled and pose environmental hazards alone. And the break down of the tree in a landfill can take decades, therefore slowly leaching those chemicals into the ground over time. According to an article on USA Today, The American Christmas Tree Association, which represents the artificial tree industry, notes that,

PVC has some environmental advantages. Producing PVC uses only 70% of the energy needed to make other plastics, which "translates into less carbon dioxide emissions, making it more environmentally friendly."

So it comes down to what's more important to you and what you find more environmentally friendly in the end. Of course, using a fake tree year after year keeps it out of the landfill, but is also helps save many trees from being cut. But also going with a cut tree can help keep PVC and other plastics from even being produced. It seems this debate on what kind of tree is best will never end.

And don't forget to keep things green all the way around. Here are some quick tips to "Green your Holiday Routine" from Ford's Green Living Expert-Danny Seo.

1. Give Live Gifts that Will Actually Live: A live plant is something that people can enjoy year-round, but many people don’t naturally have a green thumb. If you want to give your holiday hostess a thank you gift for putting on a fabulous dinner party, choose ones that require little to no up keep. Think flowering succulents, colorful cacti, mini olive trees and even potted evergreens that can be left outside during the cold winter months and planted when spring comes around.

2. Don’t Only Wear Your Tie: Dress up your home for your next holiday party by creating a necktie wreath. To me the more tacky and crazy the ties are, the better your wreath’s overall look will be. To make it, use a metal wreath frame that you can find at any craft, furniture or vintage store and wrap the necktie completely around it and pin it into place. Repeat these steps until the entire frame is covered. For a Thanksgiving dinner feast opt for fall colors like yellow, red and orange.

3. Do it the Green Way: One great green way to save time and money during the holiday season is to drive a fuel-efficient vehicle while picking-up your dinner ingredients or heading to a holiday gathering. Choosing a fuel-efficient vehicle that fits your needs is the key, that’s why Ford offers the power of choice whether you are an urbanite who can charge up your Focus Electric between stops or drive a mix of highway and city in a one of Ford’s hybrids. For me, it is the Ford C-MAX Energi plug in hybrid – getting me over 100 MPGe. Can you believe I can make it through the entire holiday season without ever filling-up my tank? Talk about an eco and efficient holiday ride.

Check out all eight tips from the Ford site. Download a copy for yourself and keep on hand this season. They are a great way to remind yourself of little tips to keep the holidays green and merry!

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