Sure, you know about environmental toxins, personal care products with their myriad of chemicals, and how you should eat organic foods and pastured animal meats for optimal health. But have you considered the toxins in your Christmas tree, decorations, and ornaments? Here are some products and chemicals to avoid for a non-toxic Christmas.
Avoid: Artificial Christmas Trees
Fake trees are commonly made with PVC, otherwise known as polyvinyl chloride or just “vinyl.” It is the third-most commonly produced type of plastic, and is often used because it is inexpensive and durable. Chemicals used in its production include chlorine and plasticizers such as phthalates. Vinyl chloride has been linked to liver cancer. The plastic also off-gases dioxins and phthalates on a continual basis into the air in your home. These have been linked to cancer and other problems.
Artificial trees produced in other countries may also have lead. This is a metal that is particularly dangerous to small children.
Instead: Real Christmas Trees
If you buy a real Christmas tree, you’ll avoid all of the chemicals used in artificial trees. A potted Christmas tree is another option.
If you must buy an artificial tree, make sure to buy one made in the U.S. since lead is not permitted in trees made in the United States.
The one thing to keep in mind with a real tree is that some trees are grown using chemical pesticides. Choose one grown locally and ask about the pesticides and fertilizers used.
Avoid: Commercially-Prepared Christmas Tree Food
Christmas tree food that you purchase in the store is basically chemical plant food, and can be toxic to children or pets. It likely contains an anti-fungal or anti-bacterial chemical that will prevent mold growth and bacteria while helping the tree retain its needles.
Instead: Make Your Own Christmas Tree Food
You can use one part of lemon, lime, or orange juice three parts water to help it retain its needles, stay hydrated, and prevent mold and bacteria growth. It’s also totally safe for pets and children to consume.
Avoid: Painted Christmas Tree Ornaments
Many ornaments you hang on your tree are painted with lead paints. This can be a hazard if a young child or pet licks it, chews on it, or eats it.
Instead: Homemade Ornaments or Non-Toxic Wood Ornaments
You can paint pine cones with non-toxic paints, hang greeting cards on a string or individually, or make garlands of popcorn and cranberries. You can also buy wooden ornaments painted with non-toxic paint.
Avoid: Artificial Garlands and Wreaths
You should avoid these for the same reason you avoid artificial Christmas trees: they are made from PVC.
Instead: Make Your Own or Use a Real Garland or Spray
You can make your own garlands from non-toxic ingredients – think popcorn and cranberries. Instead of an artificial evergreen garland, wreath, or spray, buy a real garland, spray, or wreath.
Most artificial decorations, Christmas trees, garlands, and ornaments are made using toxic chemicals that can cause illness, brain damage, and cancer. If you take a few minutes to consider the chemicals that go into the production of these items, you will realize that there are better options that are more sustainable and safer for you and your family.