The Windfall Tree 
The new, environmentally friendly and creative way 
to experience a real tree in your home for the holidays.


The Pros and Cons of the Four Options



Picture(s) Harvested Tree Farm    And Tree lot at local store parking lot





The Live Harvested Tree
For those of us who are baby boomers, childhood memories of bringing a real tree into our living room and helping to decorate it with our parents is high on the list of cherished childhood memories. The aroma of the real tree mixed with a cornucopia of holiday delights gives substance to the phrase “Home Sweet Home.”  The benefits of a real tree include the aroma, the natural beauty, a connection to nature and of course, the memories that come with staying true to tradition.  But much has changed in the last 50 years.  With busy lives, population density and the pace of life, many of us no longer go out and harvest our own tree now - so a downside is the high cost of buying a harvested tree every year.  In addition to the cost of a new tree every year there is also the environmental impact involved in the growing of a farmed tree.  A typical Christmas tree is 8-12 years old and, while the farming methods of growers have improved greatly over the years, many growers still use pesticides and chemicals to accelerate growth.  But even when you factor in the energy needed for the duration of cultivation, harvesting and transportation, this is still a greener choice than an artificial tree.  Still, it seems, well, illogical to kill a tree each year so we can enjoy the tradition. 

Picture cookie cutter tree  and little girl by tree branch


Having not bought a live harvested tree for several years and not ever taken a close look at a tree farm, I was struck by how…..shrub-like these trees looked. I have been told that this “Pringles/cookie cutter style” is driven by the public demand for a perfect, conical tree with no variations of depth or density. I found it very unappealing. It is as if Edward Scissorhands had groomed the trees. With this style of tree you cannot hang an ornament in mid air. There few open branches per se, everything just lays against the tree in a canvas/one dimensional fashion. I do not think my cats would like it either.








Picture(s) of Fake trees in big box store. Fake tree in Garbage dump too.









The Artificial Tree
The first artificial trees were created in the 1930s by the Addis Brush Company.  They used the same machinery that made their toilet cleaning brushes. Obviously, artificial trees have come a long way since then and one obvious advantage is the cost savings 






The Windfall Tree 
The new, environmentally friendly and creative way 
to experience a real tree in your home for the holidays.
The Pros and Cons of the Four Options









The Live Harvested Tree
For those of us who are baby boomers, childhood memories of bringing a real tree into our living room and helping to decorate it with our parents is high on the list of cherished childhood memories. The aroma of the real tree mixed with a cornucopia of holiday delights gives substance to the phrase “Home Sweet Home.”  The benefits of a real tree include the aroma, the natural beauty, a connection to nature and of course, the memories that come with staying true to tradition.  But much has changed in the last 50 years.  With busy lives, population density and the pace of life, many of us no longer go out and harvest our own tree now - so a downside is the high cost of buying a harvested tree every year.  In addition to the cost of a new tree every year there is also the environmental impact involved in the growing of a farmed tree.  A typical Christmas tree is 8-12 years old and, while the farming methods of growers have improved greatly over the years, many growers still use pesticides and chemicals to accelerate growth.  But even when you factor in the energy needed for the duration of cultivation, harvesting and transportation, this is still a greener choice than an artificial tree.  Still, it seems, well, illogical to kill a tree each year so we can enjoy the tradition. 













Having not bought a live harvested tree for several years and not ever taken a close look at a tree farm, I was struck by how…..shrub-like these trees looked. I have been told that this “Pringles/cookie cutter style” is driven by the public demand for a perfect, conical tree with no variations of depth or density. I found it very unappealing. It is as if Edward Scissorhands had groomed the trees. With this style of tree you cannot hang an ornament in mid air. There few open branches per se, everything just lays against the tree in a canvas/one dimensional fashion. I do not think my cats would like it either.













The Artificial Tree
The first artificial trees were created in the 1930s by the Addis Brush Company.  They used the same machinery that made their toilet cleaning brushes. Obviously, artificial trees have come a long way since then and one obvious advantage is the cost savings of being able to use the same tree over and over…….and over and over and over. The ease of putting up an artificial tree cannot be disputed, and not having to clean up the mess that a real tree leaves behind is a plus too.  This may be the best bet for those who like to put their tree up before Thanksgiving and take it down right before Valentine’s Day.  But before you race off to the big box store to buy your plastic tree, there are some downsides to consider.  When you buy a real tree from a local or regional grower, you are supporting local families and the local economy.  When you buy a plastic tree made and shipped all the way from China, the only green involved in that transaction is the money that goes to the multi-national corporation and the green in the PVC that the tree is composed of.  Did I say PVC?  Polyvinyl chloride or “PVC” is one of the most environmentally offensive forms of non-renewable, petroleum-derived plastic.  Most artificial trees are made in China where working conditions are poor and environmental protection standards are low.  Many known carcinogens are generated in the production of PVC including dioxin, ethylene dichloride and vinyl chloride. Workers at the factory and the communities that surround these factories are unwittingly exposed to these chemicals.  Pollution emitted from factories in China is even showing up here in the US.













If you are not yet convinced that a plastic tree may not be such a great choice, consider this.  Next time you are in a big box store stroking and marveling at how lifelike that fake tree feels you might want to go wash your hands right away.  In addition to PVC, those beautiful, soft, lifelike fake branches also can sometimes contain lead and other additives.  Ironically, it is these additives that make the tree so soft and lifelike.  Unfortunately many of these additives have been linked to many diseases in humans and children are most at risk. Fake trees may shed lead-laced dust into your home, onto your gifts below the tree and on to the hands of every child who touches the tree. (Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like “lead poisoning.”)  It could also be harmful to pets.









The Potted Live Tree
The most environmentally friendly way to enjoy a tree indoors during the holiday season would be to buy a living potted tree with roots intact.  Other than the size limitations, you get the smell of a real tree, you support the local economy, no lead or chemical poisoning from the branches and when you are done with it, you can plant it in your yard (if you have a yard and if you have not already planted ten trees in your yard from the last decade of Christmases). Also you must be careful where you plant, as these trees will grow to be quite large someday. This option is pretty labor-intensive. For a potted tree that is four to five feet tall, it will have a pretty large pot and they are heavy. 








The other caution regarding living potted trees is that they are in a state of winter dormancy. If these trees spend more than a week in your warm “Home Sweet Home”, there is a good chance they will wake up.   Then, when they are moved back outdoors into the cold winter air they often will not survive the transplant.  









The Windfall Tree

The Windfall Tree is a really fun and environmentally friendly option. You do not kill a tree. You do not bring poisons into your home. You get the real tree aroma, and the whole family can quickly and easily enjoy collecting branches from friends and family and build your tree.  Also, once you buy your Windfall Tree Trunk, your “real tree experience” can be monetarily and guilt-free forever. While a Windfall Tree does not last as long as a harvested tree that is put in a tree stand with water, so you are not tempted to have your tree up to greet the Easter Bunny (or Great Pumpkin).  We recommend that you spend the first few weeks of December collecting branches. You can leave them outside in the cool wet weather with the stem ends in a bucket of water until you are ready to build your own tree. We typically assemble our tree a couple days before Winter Solstice and then take our tree down on the first days of the New Year.  We also recommend spritzing the tree a couple times a day (morning/evening) with a spray bottle of water. You can replace branches if you like.  Of course, the types of branches you choose, when you put your tree up and how warm you keep your house throughout the day will affect the dryness of your tree. 

















Another option to help keep your tree fresh is to use a product like Wilt Stop. Wilt Stop safely reduces moisture loss by spraying the product on the branches before you assemble your tree. It is an all natural, organic product derived from the resin of pine trees. 

We also strongly recommend the new LED lighting systems. They do not get hot, thus they are a much safer on any holiday tree option. See How To/Step 6 for more information on lighting.