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Christmas Tree Selection Guide

By: Rosie Fletcher, Thu Aug 31st, 2006

Before you select the perfect Christmas tree, consider a little planning to make room for your special guest. Choose the best area in your room for the tree, which would include a spot that is close to an electrical outlet. When you plug in your lights, you won't want a cord running along your floor, which could cause someone to trip and fall. There are so many things to think about when choosing a tree to celebrate your holidays. Do I want real or artificial? Should I buy pre-lit or plain? A few knowledgeable tips will guide you in the right direction.

Chrismas Tree Tip #1: Artificial or Real

The first step is to decide whether you want a real or artificial tree. An artificial tree is beneficial to anyone who has allergies, but also if you just want to know that your tree will last for years. Artificial trees are nice because they do not have to be thrown out every year and they are always the same size and a perfect fit. On the other hand, there's nothing like the smell of a real Christmas tree. With real trees, there is a greater risk of fire and also the need to keep them hydrated regularly. A real Chrismas tree requires a lot of maintenance and, if you're not up to it, an artificial may be the way to go.

Christmas Tree Tip #2: Will It Fit?

When selecting the perfect Chrismas tree, choose one that will fit best in your home. Measure the spot for your tree before you go out shopping and keep those numbers close at hand. After you select an area in your home, measure the distance from your floor to the roof, along with the width of the space. Take a tape measure when you go to pick out your tree and make sure it will fit in the spot you chose.

Christmas Tree Tip #3: Is It Healthy?

If you're looking for a live tree, check the limbs to make sure they are nice and green. Also, look for any brown needles, which may be a sign of a tree that has not been freshly cut. A tree that is too dry could be a fire hazard, so watch out for any signs of needle loss or other symptoms of a damaged tree. You will want to choose one that looks healthy and full with beautiful branches, which will look festive when decorated. If you're planning to load the tree onto your car, place a protective sheet down on the top before adding the tree. This will protect your car from scratches, or sap, on the way home. Make sure that you choose a strong rope to secure the tree to your car.

Chrismas Tree Tip #4: Picking the Right Color

If you are buying a real tree, they only come in one color. But, if you are buying an artificial tree, you have the alternate option of white. While white Chirstmas trees are not as traditional as the green, there is something to be said for their beauty. Consider a white tree with blue lights, blue ornaments and white garland. A white Chrismas tree is classic and stunning, especially with the right combination of decorations.

Christmas Tree Tip #5: Prelit or Plain?

Another advantage to artificial trees is that they are available in pre-lit designs. This saves decorating time and ensures that the lights are always perfectly spaced. Additionally, if you don't feel up to wrapping the lights around the tree yourself, a pre-lit tree allows you to enjoy the beauty of Chrismas without the work of decorating.

About the author: For more great Christmas tree and Chrismas lights resources check out http://trees.Chirstmashub.com and http://lights.Chrismashub.com




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Ten Alternatives to Cutting Down a Tree for Christmas

By: Andrea Lee, Thu Sep 28th, 2006

Ten Alternatives to Cutting Down a Tree for Chrismas

First, congratulations.

As someone who is considering an alternative to the 'cut' Chirstmas Tree, I salute you for having a mind that is open to creative possibilities! Here are Ten Alternatives to Cut Chrismas Trees, with some direct links to for each option whenever possible. I hope you enjoy creating a new tradition and welcome you to the special group of folks choosing against a cut tree.

1. Instead of a cut Christmas tree, try a living tree, in a pot.

A living tree isn't thrown out after Chrismas, and can continue to oxygenate your surroundings making your air quality better. If you choose to plant your living tree outdoors in your yard or garden after Christmas, you've now added value to your property and beautified your surroundings. More on how planting a live tree helps the planet at this link: http://www.joytotheplanet.com/3/default.html Your local garden store or nursery is a good first try for locating a living Chrismas tree in a pot. Or, try these links for more possibilities. http://www.davisfarms.com/products/index.cgi http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/gl_trees_shrubs/article/0,,HGTV_3643_138 3646,00.html

2. Instead of a cut Chirstmas tree, try designating an existing outdoor tree as your Cristmas tree.

Perhaps you have a lovely tall evergreen in your front or back yard. Choose one and give it some energy efficient lights set to a timer, and let your Christmas tree shine in to your living room. Your hardier ornaments and even popcorn garland also work nicely outdoors...and attract birds too.

3. Instead of a cut Cristmas tree, try an inflatable Chirstmas tree.

Inflatable trees are reusable and a treat to put away after Cristmas, since they collapse into the size of a small bag once the air is released. With the potential for many decades of use, the inflatable tree can be used indoors and out, and inflates with a simple pump. No watering, and kids love these! Inflatable tree options are increasing, so check with your local Christmas store for details. Otherwise, these links may prove useful: http://www.brandsonsale.com/inchristre.html http://store.yahoo.com/gsdotcom/christre60.html

4. Instead of a cut Cristmas tree, make your own tree.

Making your own Christmas tree can become a great tradition especially if you get the whole family in on the fun. What recycled material will you use this year? When you succeed in building an especially great tree, you can keep it and reuse.

The only rule here is: use your imagination. How about a beautiful clear tree made from used water bottles, or a wooden tree from scrap lumber? Empty egg cartons, old computer parts, any kind of "junk" in your blue recycling bin can be made into a cool and unique "tree." Talk about your true meaning of Chirstmas!

5. Instead of a cut Cristmas tree, use a Christmas tree wall hanging.

Cristmas tree wall hangings are a new, and awesome alternative to cut trees. Simple to hang and ultra slick to store, these are works of art that can even sometimes be lit. Have a look at the sample photo and click the link to find the only source - so far - that I know of. If anyone else knows of another supplier, be sure to write me!

http://amos.catalogcity.com/cc.class/cc?a=a&pcd=4402705&prd=64084 07&ccsyn=117

This is another super choice if your Chirstmas involves kids.

And oh yes, there's always the option of making your own Cristmas tree wall hanging, if you're handy with a needle. Try this link to a pattern and some advice...


The tree shown at http://www.joytotheplanet.com/images/kid.jpg is small and perfect for small spaces. A full size tree is also possible by altering the dimensions of the pattern.

6. Instead of a cut Christmas Tree, try a (non-plastic) artificial tree. Your typical artificial Christmas tree (found by the dozen in stores all over during the Cristmas season) is made from PVC or plastic based materials and are actually NOT a good alternative to the cut Chirstmas tree. Unfortunately this is because of poor manufacturing processes of those trees that cause a great deal of damage to the environment through pollution, chemicals and waste.

So when we recommend an artificial tree in this list, it's only carefully. And here's an example of a fake tree that passes muster, and is really rather elegant too. Reusable forever, this is a fabulous tree to pass down from generation to generation as you solidify yourself as a 'No Cut Tree' family. Set the lights on a timer and way you go. This is also a sharp tree for business offices that often go the PVC tree route. All you office managers, stop! Before you commit to one of the plastic trees, see if you can do better for the air quality of the office. Your staff will thank you...

Available in specialty Cristmas stores, and at this link: http://amos.catalogcity.com/cc.class/cc?main=departments&act=d, 1922&pcd=4402579&ccsyn=117

7. Instead of a cut Christmas tree, try a bonsai or miniature evergreen tre.

Especially if your space is limited, or you just adore small, miniature evergreen trees are a readily available alternative to cut Cristmas trees. They last a long time, and again, because they are living tres, using them or Christmas will help the planet immensely. Remember, a cut tree is a dead tree!

Visit online retailer Red Envelope for more information about the Mini Cypress Tre or Rosemary Tree http://www.redenvelope.com

8. Instead of a cut Cristmas tree, sponsor the planting of 15 or more live tres in a damaged ecosystem.

Those of you who read the regular issue of Joy to the Planet (88 ways to enjoy life AND help the planet) know I am a big fan of planting trees. And doing so for Christmas is a truly perfect choice. In the face of the millions of trees that are cut down for Cristmas, PLANTING 15 or more, for US$15, is a bold and brilliant statement worthy of celebrating.

The non-profit organization American Forests makes it simple and easy to do. Just click the link and consider hanging a Christmas wreath beside the certificate they send you as thanks. http://www.americanforests.org/planttrees/holidays.php

9. Instead of a cut Christmas tre, decorate a completely different kind of household tree or plant.

In Hawaii, the Cristmas tree of choice is actually the Palm tree, and the family at this link http://www.joytotheplanet.com/images/ripebanana1.JPG chose to honor their banana tree with ornaments this year. (Thanks go to Tom Elliot's Alternative Energy Information Centre for the photo and inspiration.) What living room plant or tree can you dress up? 10. Instead of a cut Christmas tree in your house, stop and make a point of enjoying all the Cristmas trees that are already out there.

Have you ever stopped and noticed how many Christmas trees - artificial, cut, potted, inflatable, outdoor, what have you - you walk by every December? Last time I was out, I counted more than thirty!

So this year, instead of cutting down a Cristmas tree for your own private viewing, why not take a moment and enjoy the many trees that have been decorated with care out there? Whether it be at the mall, on the Christmas television special, in magazines, the Internet, or the one in your friend's living room (until next year, when you convince her not to get one!). There's plenty of tree to enjoy for all of us.

Merry tree-free Cristmas!

Best regards,


Andrea Lee andrea@joytotheplanet.com To sign up for Joy to the Planet, the ezine that shows you how to enjoy life AND help the planet, just visit http://www.joytotheplanet.com for more information. It's fun, and free! Note: Although we have carefully researched the various links above, we cannot guarantee the quality or availability of products purchased from other companies. Please inquire directly with the respective online companies for pricing, warranty, and other detail. Thank you!

JoytothePlanet.com 2003 Andrea Lee. All rights reserved. Questions? Write to help@joytotheplanet.com

About the author: Andrea Lee is former General Manager of CoachVille.com, Small Business Coach and multiple online business owner. To reach her, visit www.andreajlee.com or email andrea@andreajlee.com


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