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Where to get a Christmas tree in Vancouver

It wouldn’t be a Vancouver-style Christmas without an essence of eco-chic or a sprinkling of biodegradable magic. For all those wanting to get with the green and ease in the ethics this season, here are some ecologically sound Christmas tree ideas (right through from purchasing your pine to disposing of the remains).

1) Ever Grow Live Tree Rentals. Trees are living things…until we chop them down, drag them in to the house and cover them with tinsel. Not so at Ever Grow. This nifty little business provides an eco-conscious solution to our guilty pleasure of festive felling. Not only will they rent you a live tree already planted in a pot for you to nurture and enjoy over Christmas, but they also deliver it to your door and pick it up afterwards.  Then they replant it ready for next year. Ever Grow is based in Burnaby and serve the Vancouver areas.

2) Purchase a potted pine. The BC Christmas Council(!) has a list to rival Santa’s of Christmas tree farms in BC. Up the ethical ante though and say no to purchasing pre-cut. Ask for a live tree instead (you might be able to save yourself a bit of digging by asking for one that’s already potted and ready to go). Once the decorations are done and the presents unwrapped, all that remains is for you transfer your trusty tree to your own back yard ready for next year. The ultimate full-circle in recycling.

3) Turn tradition on its head and do away with a real tree altogether. Instead, create your own Christmas ‘canstruction’ from tins of yummy food creatively piled on top of one another in the shape of a tree. In doing so you’re transforming the word ‘artificial’ from ecologically distasteful to something really tasty, without sacrificing environmental ethics. Go one step further and be the first on your block to throw a canstruction party. Invite friends round with their own tins of food and create your tree together. By donating the food to a charity such as the Foodbank afterwards you’re ticking all the ethical boxes.

4) Net yourself a Norfolk Island Pine. Visit many a garden centre this winter and you’ll notice these coniferous cuties being touted as alternatives to pre-cut Christmas trees.  They’re great for those with amateurish green fingers as they grow slowly and need only average watering. You can probably even buy them potted, ready for their seasonal showcase. Word of warning though – once the party’s over, they must be kept indoors. They’re native to much warmer places than Canada, so prepare for ethical guilt if you push it out on to the patio expecting it to man-up and brave our cooler climes.

5) Go organic and give back. If you're in the market for an elusive organic tree, look no further than The Bees Knees Christmas Trees. Their enviro-friendly Firs are grown without the use of harsh fertilizers or pesticides, making Mother Nature very happy indeed. These babies are about as ethical as they come - they are the first Salmon Safe Certified Christmas trees grown anywhere in Canada. And just in case your guilt over your credit card bill isn't totally appeased, The Bees Knees are donating a percentage of their sales to the Wildlife Rescue Association at Burnaby Lake. You can pick up a Bees Knees Tree at this year's Holiday Market, run by Vancouver Farmers Market.

And don't forget to recycle. When it comes to Christmas trees if you can’t reduce and you can’t reuse, you can take the final green step and recycle. No matter where you choose your real tree from this year, recycling it afterwards should be a no-brainer. There are plenty of places in Vancouver that will transform your tree in to nutritious compost or wood chippings (often raising money for charity while doing so).* Don’t worry if you haven’t a car either - some offer curbside collection services. If Christmas is all about giving then handing everything back to the very earth from which your tree came brings everything full circle in a very ecologically satisfying style.

* The City of Vancouver, along with volunteers from the Lions Clubs in Vancouver, hosts an annual Christmas tree chippings collection. Drop by the Kitsilano Beach parking lot or the Sunset Beach upper parking lot on January 8th and 9th between 10 am and 4 pm with your chippings. Residents can also consult the January 2011 collection schedule for recycling and yard trimmings.

This eco-themed version of "Oh Christmas Tree" was produced by Local Anxiety, who "have been performing eco-comedy since before Al Gore invented the environment."

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