There are a few things that can always be counted on in the month of December: eggnog and cookie tummy aches, Mariah Carey’s Christmas album playing on a loop in Rite-Aid, and the great Christmas tree debate.

I’ll be delving deeper into the Christmas tree conundrum later this month in an Ask Mother Nature column but you might be already be accustomed with this perennially hot topic: what type of Christmas tree is better for the environment? A long-lasting, low-maintenance faux tree constructed in China with one of the planet’s worst enemies, PVC? Or the real deal, a farmed tree that’s possibly treated with pesticides, ripped from the earth, and then displayed in your home for a month before being dragged to the curb?

In my opinion, the real vs. fake Christmas tree debate is anchored more in holiday tradition than in any kind of eco-altruism and my answer to the above quandary may not please everyone (go for farmed, organically and locally grown trees, if possible). Turns out, a new, eco-progressive company in Los Angeles called The Living Christmas Co. is offering a third option: rentals of live, potted trees delivered to and picked up from your home in a biodiesel truck.

The concept behind the Living Christmas Co. is ingenious, and, according to the Los Angeles Times, not exactly a new one on the West Coast. On the Living Christmas Co. website, you can choose which type of tree you want to rent — Leylandi Cypress, Monterey Pines, Little Sequoias, Aleppo Pines, and Blue Cedars — and pick a specific delivery and pick-up date.

The over 8,000 in-stock trees rent for between $85 and $185, delivery and pick-up included. You can also purchase an assortment of fetching fair trade and eco-friendly ornaments and strands of LED lights to decorate your rent-a-tree with. “Adopting” a Christmas tree that returns to you year aftef year (it spends the “off season” growing and thriving in the company’s nursery) is also an option.

There are some obvious no-no’s associated with Christmas tree renting like flocking, trimming, not watering, and general neglect. In the event that you inadvertently kill the tree, you can say adios to the deposit.

So what say you Los Angeles residents who live within the delivery zone of the Living Christmas Co.? Will you be renting your Christmas tree this year? Or will you continue to unearth a plastic one from storage or buy a farmed one from a Vons parking lot? 

Via [Los Angeles Times]

Photo: Brandonlaganke

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

O rent-a-tree, O rent-a-tree
Most Christmas tree buyers fall solidly into two camps: farmed or faux. In Los Angeles, a company offers a third option in form of Christmas tree rentals.