Christmas Trees

The corner of Lougheed hwy and 216 Street, Maple Ridge
The corner of Lougheed hwy and 216 Street, Maple Ridge

Leanne is a Cub Scout Leader (our daughter is a Cub Scout) and I am a Beaver Scout Leader (our son is a Beaver Scout). These are great programs and we have some great leadership who have some great ideas such as fundraising by selling Christmas Trees.

Scouts Trees are high quality and very reasonable. Most are grown at Giesbrecht’s Tree Farm in Langley where I think you can go and cut one yourself. We also get some Douglas Firs from Karding Tree farm in Mission. For us, they sell very quickly and give all the parents and kids who volunteer at the tree lot a great holiday experience. We meet people who are excited about the holidays and putting up their tree.

When it is time to take down your real tree, Scouts offers another service to make things even easier. The 1st Haney Rover and Venturer Scouts will come to your house and pick up your tree over the first two weekends in  January for chipping. The chipping is done by Ridge Meadows Search & Rescue (here is last year’s link for their service–the dates are different but the location is the same). This service is by donation. Just e-mail [email protected] and request a pick-up. Easy-peasy!

I have to give a shout out to Cap’s Westwood Cycle who let the Scouts use a part of Win a bike!their parking lot on Lougheed Highway at 216th Street. This is the third year they have accommodated us and they even made fancy posters to make sure everyone knows you can win a bike when you buy a tree!

Bikes and real Christmas trees. What could be more sustainable than that?

Wait, are you still thinking maybe an artificial tree is a more environmentally friendly option? I wondered that for several years until I finally settled it last year. If you talk to someone selling artificial trees, you may think there is a debate. But it doesn’t take much digging on the interwebby thingy to find that the impartial sources all confirm a real tree is the better choice.

Here is an article from National Geographic and another one from the Canadian guy in Ontario, Enviro Dad. (Good name, wish I’d thought of it first.) There are many more.

The Christmas Tree lot
The Christmas Tree lot

These two articles alone paint a clear picture, but the most compelling details for me are, to quote National Geographic:

“Artificial trees are made from a kind of plastic called polyvinyl chloride, which is derived from petroleum and can contain lead or other harmful toxins. Furthermore, according to the U.S. Commerce Department, about 80 percent of fake trees are manufactured in China, where most electricity is generated by burning coal—one of the dirtiest fuel sources.”

We all lament the loss of our agricultural land. We know that farming is good and that extends to tree farming which is done on land not suitable for other types of farming.

The argument you hear from people who prefer artificial trees is that they are reuseable. In theory, if you never bought another tree in your life, I suppose it might be reasonable. But let’s face it, after 5 or 6 years (the average life-span of an artificial tree), even if you care you will be tired of it and want a new one and there is no place for your old tree to go but the landfill. If you hate the idea of bringing a real tree into your home, that’s OK, just don’t tell yourself it is the environmentally-friendly option because it is not.

Maybe you don’t need a tree. Is there a Christmas Tree app?

If you want to go further and don’t like the idea of cutting down a tree, you can rent a potted Christmas Tree! Evergrow Christmas Tree Co. includes delivery and post-Christmas pick-up in Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Port Moody, Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam. Yay! But they are sold-out for 2014. Boo!

However, there is another option for renting trees. Another local company called CarbonSync does the same thing and they will deliver all the way from Whistler to Seattle! Yay! But their web-site doesn’t say if they are sold-out yet. Hmmm! Better send them an e-mail to find out.

I would love to hear your ideas about how to make Christmas sustainable!

Happy Holidays!

The tree in its spot--semi-decorated. Lights by parents, the rest by kids. That bow has got to change
The tree in its spot–semi-decorated. Lights by parents, the rest by kids. That bow has got to change

Published by

James Rowley

James lives in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada with his amazing partner, Leanne Koehn, and their two amazing kids in their beautiful house. He studied Science and English Literature at the University of British Columbia where he met Leanne. He also studied acting for a while at Studio 58 in Vancouver. He works as a teacher of English and curriculum writer for new Canadians.

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