For good news Monday, we have tips for getting the best Christmas tree and keeping it fresh and healthy throughout the holiday season.

For beginnings, the best trees are live trees, not artificial ones, because the latter often are imported and contain toxic materials, such as lead.  If possible, try to purchase a tree from a local tree farm.  This will guarantee the freshness of your tree.  Also, buying local reduces transportation and shipping costs, along with reducing carbon emissions.  An excellent website to find local businesses for family farms and organic products is http://localharvest.org.

When purchasing a precut tree from a nursery or local group, such as the Scouts or churches, inquire about the freshness of the trees as well as the location

A Christmas tree farm in Iowa, United States.

A Christmas tree farm in Iowa, United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

which they were shipped.  When inspecting trees for purchase, check the needles to ensure that they are flexible and not dry.

Once you have selected a tree, it is important that you get it home and in water as soon as possible.  Try to select a place for display that is out of direct sunlight and away from fans, heaters, or humidifiers in order to avoid drying out prematurely.  Decorate with inflammable, nontoxic ornaments  and LED lights, which burn much cooler than incandescent lights.  Once the holiday season is over, please check local community directories for programs that collect trees for mulch.

Let’s make getting a Christmas tree and decorating it a green family activity.  Have a Merry Green Christmas and live green, be green.

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