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Thursday, 22 October 2020
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree!

Decorating a Christmas tree is one of the most beloved Christmas traditions, and one which we can enjoy while also protecting the world’s forests.

Real or Artificial?

The Carbon Trust advise purchasing a real Christmas tree rather than an artificial one, as it has a significantly lower carbon footprint. If you do opt for an artificial tree, you would need to use it for around 10 years for its environmental impact to be lower than a real tree.

FSC-certified trees are grown as part of a well-managed forest, minimising the use of pesticides, and protecting forest plants and animals. For Christmas 2020, Forestry England will be selling around 1,600 homegrown, Norway Spruce trees labelled as FSC certified. All sales sites will have to meet the government’s Coronavirus rules at the time, and they hope for 2020 to be selling trees from approximately 8 forests in England.

If you can’t get an FSC tree, you could try to find one that is organically grown or locally-sourced, which can provide benefits in terms of pesticide/carbon footprint reduction.

Replant or Recycle

If you want to go a step further and reuse your real tree, you could opt for a potted tree. Potted trees are smaller than a typical Christmas tree, but can last a lifetime, and after the festivities are over can be taken outside to spruce up your garden for the rest of the year.

Real Christmas trees are recyclable, as they can be shredded into chippings and used in parks or woodlands. Find your local Christmas tree recycling spot here. Artificial trees cannot be recycled.


The most sustainable (and nostalgic) option is to use your decorations year after year. If you are feeling creative and want to make your own paper ones, a quick Ecosia search will bring up countless tutorials. Just don’t forget to use FSC-certified or recycled paper!

Click here for a guide to purchasing and disposing of cards and wrapping paper.

© Forest Stewardship Council® · FSC® F000231