Vancouver's best Christmas tree shopping guide

Photo sourced from Bees Knees Christmas Trees website

If you're putting up a Christmas tree, there's really only question: real or fake?

Once you've decided that -- and for most of us, it's really not a decision, we're pretty much Team Real or Team Fake from birth -- then the game is on. For fans of the artificial, you either haul your tree out of the storage locker or track one down in a store. Maybe even scout one out used on eBay.

For those who celebrate au naturel, there's many more options: Live tree in a big pot, to be recycled after Christmas? Trek out to a farm and cut your own? Or find the perfect evergreen, already trucked in to a corner lot?

No matter what you've decided, we've got the skinny on how to find tree of your dreams.

The green options:

A live tree with its roots intact, bought or rented from a local grower, is the way to go here. You can plant it in your yard, or gift it to house-proud friends, once the holiday's over. Or find another eco-friendly option from our classic list:

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. Not only will they rent you a live tree already planted in a pot for you to nurture and enjoy over Christmas, they'll 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 serves the Vancouver area.

2) Purchase a potted pine. The BC Christmas Tree Council has a massive list of Christmas tree farms in B.C., and some of them offer live, bagged trees too. Once the decorations are done and the presents unwrapped, all that remains is for you transfer your trusty tree to your own backyard ready for next year. The ultimate full-circle in recycling.

3) Turn tradition on its head and make your own.  Create your own Christmas "canstruction" from tins of yummy food creatively piled on top of one another in the shape of a tree. You're transforming the word "artificial" from something 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 gems being marketed as alternatives to pre-cut Christmas trees. They’re great for the horticulturally challenged, since they grow slowly and need only average watering. A word of warning though – once the party’s over, they must be kept indoors. They’re native to much warmer places than Canada.

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. These babies are about as ethical as they come: they are the first Salmon Safe Certified Christmas trees grown anywhere in Canada. 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.

Real trees, cut your own:

1) Before heading out to the tree farm, you might want to pick up a few tips on how to choose a tree.

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