A Gluten-Free Vegan Mom Who Knows

A raw, grain-free, corn-free, soy-free, oil-free, celiac mama raising her two healthy celiac girls.

Our Eco-Friendly Christmas Tree Bought from a Local Family Tree Farm: Homestead Nursery


Photo taken at Homestead Nursery 2010

‘Tis the season to talk trees…

There are three options: an artificial tree, a live tree, or a tree substitute. Greg and I opted for the live tree option, but not all live trees are eco-friendly. We chose the next best eco-friendly live tree option.

Nevertheless, I have been advocating for a balled tree (to plant later) for the past nine out of fifteen Christmases that Greg and I have been together, and even though we still haven’t bought a balled tree, I am comfortable with our decision to buy and cut our tree from a local family tree farm. 

Photo taken at Homestead Nursery 2011

Before I share our Christmas tree tradition, let’s discuss the environmental impact of all three options.

Photo taken at Homestead Nursery 2011

Live Trees: balled tree, live tree from a local tree farm, mega-mall/parking-lot tree

The primary concern with live trees are the chemicals used to grow them, the road miles that they travel before we buy them, and the environmental impact of cutting down a healthy tree. I address these concerns buy buying my tree from a local family farm as opposed to the parking lots and megamalls that are packed with potentially toxic trees that most likely have travel thousands of miles to reach that destination. Also, the Homestead Farm plants an average of 1,500 trees each spring even though they sell an average of 500 trees each year. This year, however, they will be buying and planting 3,000 trees. Yes, we cut down a perfectly healthy live tree, but in the spring, we can return the Homestead Farm to watch those 3,000 pine trees of all sizes be planted on the farm.

Also, live trees can be recycled into mulch after our holiday celebrations have ended, and if you buy back that mulch from your municipality come spring, I’m sure you would prefer mulch from organic tree-farm trees verses from foreign trees that have been treated with toxic chemicals, especially if you have small children and/or pets.

The best live tree option, in my opinion, is the balled tree that can be planted in your yard or nearby park after your celebrations are over. One day, we will transition our tradition to the balled-tree option, just not this year.

Photo taken at Homestead Nursery 2009

Artificial Trees

Almost all of the artificial trees sold in the US come from China, and not only are these trees made from PVC (yes, even the newer “hyper-realistic” polyethylene models), but many of these artificial trees also contain lead. The EPA also lists some of its ingredients as carcinogens. Research has proven that PVC off-gases during it’s lifetime whether displayed in your living room or boxed up in your attic, garage or basement, and if that isn’t bad enough, an artificial tree will never, ever biodegrade (leave your artificial tree in your will because these artificial trees will be around for millions and millions of years). Not only do artificial trees pose a tremendous negative impact on our environment, they are also made and sold by global corporations – if you need a reason to Occupy Your Holiday. 

Photo taken at Homestead Nursery 2010

Tree Substitute

As a kid, there were many years when we couldn’t afford a tree let alone gifts to go under it, so to celebrate, we decorated large plants around our house. One year, we decorated a large cactus and honored that as our Christmas ‘tree’ (that was a painful choice). I know some people who decorate a pine tree in their yard and honor that as their sole Christmas tree. Nevertheless, you don’t have to decorate anything as substitute a tree as the energy within your home is all that is needed during this time year. It just matters what you are comfortable with and how eco-freiendly you want to be.

Photo taken at Homestead Nursery 2009

My Christmas Tree Tradition Continues

This is our 3rd year cutting a tree down at Homestead Nursery (our 15th year from cutting down our tree from a local tree farm in general). 
I do admit that I love the family who lives on and owns Homestead Nursery, and I love the fact that even though they only sell about 500 trees each year, they plant an average of 1500 trees each spring — 3000 trees this upcoming spring. 
Even though it saddens me to cut down our tree, it brings me comfort that I am supporting a local farmer, and when I’m done with my tree, the township will collect it with all the others and will turn those Christmas trees into mulch for gardens throughout our community. 


Every dollar I spend is a vote, and I like to use the power of my vote to keep it local and to keep it organic. 

Our tree cost $35.
75 feet of garland cost $22.

Happy Holidays to You and Yours!

Much Love!

Photo taken at Homestead Nursery 2011

(located off of the White Horse Pike)
219 S Cologne Avenue
Egg Harbor City, NJ 08215

Photo taken at Homestead Nursery 2011
Photo taken at Homestead Nursery 2011
Photo taken at Homestead Nursery 2011
Photo taken at Homestead Nursery 2011
Photo taken at Homestead Nursery 2011
Photo taken at Homestead Nursery 2011
Visiting Homestead Nursery is definitely one of our favorite holiday traditions!!

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