There are many options for Christmas trees that are more earth-friendly than your run of the mill Home Depot tree. Christmas trees are grown on farms and some display sustainable practices in earth remediation and care. Some folks plant a tree in response to cutting theirs down. Others visit family tree farms and support local businesses. Chicago mulches spent Christmas trees for use in our parks. I even found a company that rents living trees: they drop them off before the holidays, pick them up afterwards, and plant them for a fee.
Yet we could not, in good conscious, justify the waste that such a tree brings, of money and resources, but we still hold this tradition close to our hearts drawing on the magic of our childhoods.
So Jimmyredhed and I built our own.
We wanted a tree that was straight forward, used minimal supplies, and would last for the rest of our lives. We wanted a tree that would stand three dimensionally, display our sentimental ornaments and tokens, but would pack down easily for storage the remainder of the year. I sketched out the design, Jimmyredhed calculated the angles, gathered the materials, and cut the boards. I stained them (he helped with that too) and assembled the tree. He screwed hooks into each board for our ornaments to hang on. You can read about the beginning of the process here.
Our tree stands about 6' tall and cost around $60. There is a 4"x4" wood block that screws into a regular Christmas tree stand. A threaded metal rod stands prostrate from that wooden base. The 2"x2" boards have holes drilled through the center and slide onto the rod in size order. They are angled to mimic the pyramid look of a tree. They also swivel to fit the space. We will store the whole tree in a cloth bag for the remainder of the year.
As we gathered our gifts this year, wrapped in hand-sewn cloth bags, I gave many thanks for our little home, for the traditions we're building together, for a partner with a conscious and creative mind that strengthens my own ideals.