By SafBaby Co-Founder Samantha Fox Olson
I remember last Christmas. My baby girl was way more into the wrapping paper and the boxes than she was any of her gifts. And I had a blast sticking bows on her head and giving her a gypsy-like headband of ribbon. Oh, did we get some great photos of that ‘first Christmas’. Last year was actually the first Christmas that I have ever had a real Christmas tree. It smelled so wonderful! Growing up, my family always had the big, artificial tree that my dad would haul up from the basement every December.
Dangerous Toxins Ornamenting Your Tree
Have you ever considered what is on your Christmas tree?
Well, the ornaments themselves are just one of the things that may be of toxic concern if you have a baby/toddler in the home. Please know that many ornaments have lead-based paints that decorate them. Don’t let babies play with or put any ornament anywhere near their mouths.
Other Safe Alternatives to Lead Ornaments
If you have the time to make your own ornaments, here are some ideas:
- Paint pine cones (smells so good) with non toxic paints.
- Hang small holiday cards. Reduce-Reuse-Recycle!
- Cut star, Christms tree etc. shapes from felt or paper.
- String popcorn.
Also, please make sure the lights are out of reach so children don’t touch them since they contain lead. If they do touch them, make sure you wash their hands.
Artificial Christmas Trees
- Artificial trees are often made from PVC which produces cancer-causing dioxin during manufacture. PVC is a nonrenewable and non-biodegradable resource.
- Artificial trees are finished with fire-retardant chemicals. Not the best of combos when added to a closed home with the heat on.
- Remember to not use tinsel or spray your tree with fake snow as tinsel and white trees cannot be recycled.
Safe Alternative to a PVC Christmas Tree in Your Home
“A better choice, live potted Christmas trees, available at farmers’ markets, gardening centers and some tree farms, can later be planted outdoors, in the yard, a school or park (check if your parks department will accept donated trees). Or, before discarding your cut tree, check with your department of sanitation or public works, which may recycle cut trees into mulch or stack them as “fences” to prevent coastal erosion, as is done in southern Louisiana.” 1
Cut Tree, Certified by Coalition Farm Members
This Coalition Group of Christmas Tree Growers agrees to farm using methods that are conscious of the environment and to submit their farms to an ongoing series of independent physical audits that verify compliance with strict certification program standards.
Certifying their farms is the grower’s way of communicating with the public in such a way that the consumer can know with confidence that the Christmas tree they are buying for their home was grown in an environmentally friendly manner. Look for the certified tag on Christmas trees grown by Coalition farm members at your local area Christmas tree retailer or tree lot. Find a certified tree in your area!
A Statement from Holiday Tree Farms:
“Holiday Tree Farms is the only supplier of Christmas trees to Target stores in California, Arizona and Florida which will make it easy to identify our trees. Our trees have a tag with our farm name, as well as a tag with a statement of our certification. We manage pests using IPM (Integrated Pest Management). This means whenever possible we use alternative methods to pesticides. Although we cannot claim to be 100%-pesticide free, any applications we have made,were many months before we harvested the trees so any residues have disappeared by now.”
Holiday Tree Farms Trees are also available at Houston Garden Centers (20 locations in the Houston area), Delancey St Foundation (8 locations in Los Angeles and 8 locations in San Francisco).
Recycling Your Christmas Tree
You can also find local treecycling centers through Earth 911 and the National Christmas Tree Association.
1 Aisha Ikramuddin, The Christmas Tree Dilemma, Nov, 1998, http://www.thegreenguide.com/doc/61/christmastree, Dec. 7, 2007.
SafBaby wishes you and your family the safest of holidays this season!