O Christmas Tree

If you want to be as eco-savvy as possible this holiday season, get a real tree — then replant it

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Ben Stechschulte / Redux for TIME

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Alas, those who can't garden to save their lives are out of luck--unless they happen to live in or near Portland, Ore. There the Original Living Christmas Tree Co. delivers potted trees for a holiday rental. A little after New Year's, workers pick them up and deliver them to parks, schools and other institutions that pay $10 to have a tree planted on their property. "We're set to do over 400 trees this year," says founder John Fogel. "I want people to feel good about [live] trees."

Perhaps that's the real benefit of having a fresh tree in your home. "Kids today are so out of touch with nature," says Bob Schildgen, the Sierra Club's environmental-advice columnist. "Just having a living thing in the house can enhance environmental values in a way you can't measure in dollars and cents." So may your days be merry and bright, but may all your Christmases (and any other holidays) be green.

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