Last year, Americans spent almost a billion dollars on 27 million Christmas trees, according to the National Christmas Tree Association. It takes eight to 12 years for the average evergreen to grow into fluffy adulthood, at which point it's typically chopped down and trashed within a month or two. Most trees are grown on established farms that have been around for decades, meaning deforestation isn't a serious problem. But the pesticides used to raise them, and the fuel pollution that results from shipping them all over the U.S., have lasting consequences.
The fake ones have issues, too: Artificial trees are often made in sweatshops in China and rot for centuries in landfills. (Plus, their plastic leaves aren't fooling anybody). So where's the Yuletide greenery enthusiast to turn? Check out these creative and DIY alternatives to the traditional fir or plastic holiday centerpiece that rely on materials you've already got around the house.