Holiday Trees and Report Card on Leading Countries

Ever wonder about the origins of the Christmas tree tradition? We were surprised to learn that the use of evergreen trees to symbolize eternal life goes back to ancient Egyptians, Chinese and Hebrews as a custom, while western Germany is credited as the origin of the modern Christmas tree tradition which was set up in homes on December 24th and strung with apples to symbolize a “paradise tree” in celebration of the religious feast of “Adam and Eve”. (For more history on this, click here for the Britannica Encyclopedia site,, and, stay tuned for a special guest blog in February 2020, on the origins and meaning of the Tu B’Shevat Tree Festival in Israel).

Living Christmas Trees:

Have you considered buying a Christmas tree that you could later plant in your yard? Here’s what we have found so far on this option in the Toronto GTA.

Sheridan Nurseries in and around Toronto carries these varieties:

  • 4’-5’ Blue Spruce for $299.
  • chubby  3’-4′ Blue Colorado Spruce for $150
  • 3’-4’ Norwegian Spruce ON SALE for $70.

We did a thorough search and could not find such trees for sale in Edmonton, so let us know if you have seen this available. There are places like LLBean selling table top trees of 18”-24”, and  we have seen those for sale many places.

If a living tree is a new holiday tradition you would like to explore, please review this information on choosing the best tree for your planting location, and caring tips for the survival of these trees. For example,  they should be inside up to 10 days only, and eased outdoors – Please read full care tips at,

Gifting Tree Saplings:

One Tree Planted: 11 Reasons to Gift a Tree

  • 1. It is a unique gift
  • 2. Good for the environment
  • 3. Will last a lifetime 
  • 4. Gives animals a home
  • 5. Cleans the air
  • 6. Benefits future generations   
  • 7.Helps end hunger
  • 8. Keeps people safe
  • 9. Saves money
  • 10. Reduces waste
  • 11. You can’t go wrong.

See our menu section on Tree Planting and Donating and check out TreeCanada ($4- per sappling) and One Tree Planted ($1 USD a sappling), two sites we have used to purchase bulk trees for gifts. We have bought some for a Christmas gift and received a certificate, and the person receiving this gift will also receive a certificate just before Christmas. Tree Canada issues tax receipts. These sites are so great to go through, to get the scope of all the things they are doing. For example, we both plan to buy tree saplings whenever we fly, for more peace of mind as we intentionally begin to offset our carbon footprints.

There are other great sites too. One is Arbor Day, and a Canadian Site: Forest Recovery Canada, an arm of Forests Ontario. They sell trees too. See menu: “Tree Planting and Donating” for more details about these two.

Of course Readers are encouraged to do their own due diligence to feel assured that these or other sites are legitimate non-profits, and are not only planting trees, but choosing the best sites and ensuring the best possible success of the trees. 

We realize that a living tree may not be a good option for everyone. Rest assured that there is good news about the tree benefits of live cut trees that we want to share from this Home Depot site (although not intended as an advertising promotion or endorsement).

Live Cut Trees: Home Depot’s View on the Environmental Benefits

“Live Christmas trees are a renewable resource, with hundreds of thousands of acres dedicated to their growth. Christmas tree farms raise and harvest different varieties of trees, virtually eliminating the harvesting of trees in the wild, which can deplete valuable forests.The average tree takes approximately seven years to reach maturity, and for every tree that is harvested, anywhere from one to three more seedlings are planted. Learn more about the benefits of real versus artificial Christmas trees with our guide.Recycling programs located in most communities turn your used tree into useful mulch. Many Home Depot locations across the country offer Christmas tree recycling free of charge. Call your local Home Depot store to find out if they are participating. In some areas, recycled trees are also being used to create habitats for fish and other aquatic life in local ponds and lakes, as well as helping to slow erosion.”

Eco-Friendly Coffee

Another holiday gift option that is tree friendly is purchasing coffee that is grown under tree canopy. You may find it locally, but we were able to order it online through the Audubon Society. There are various sites selling this coffee. Because the coffee is grown without clear cutting, it has the added benefit of being bird friendly.

The Climate Change Report Card: The Countries that are Reaching the 1.5C Target

Just a few countries get an A grade as they are meeting the target towards their contribution to not exceeding 1.5C in temperature rise overall globally, as written in this 2019 article by National Geographic, at

  • Gambia, Africa: restored 10,000 hectares of forest; gets 1/5 of energy from a  renewable photovoltaic plant
  • Morocco: has  42% renewable energy with solar power fields the size of 3500 football field
  • India: will have 40% renewable energy by 2030 and likely much sooner
  • Costa Rica: has  almost reached 100% renewable energy (2021) and has a moratorium on oil and gas from 2020 until 2050; every two years will replace 5% pf public transport to electric busses and 10% taxis
  • Getting a C Grade:  EU – set target for 32% renewable energy by 2030; inspite of this, the EU is not on track for 1.5 degrees but rather 2 degrees; Sweden – will have  49% renewable  energy by 2030;                    Norway: 60% of new cars are electric and their electricity is 96% renewable; is investing $1 Trillion in renewable stocks and taking out $13 Billion from oil and gas stocks; 60% of new cars are electric and their electricity is 96% renewable
  • Canada does not even get a C grade but rather is scored as “insufficient” because we are going towards >3C.

Personally, we find what countries like Costa Rica or Norway and Sweden are doing on policies such as renewable energy, electric cars and green investments to be promising directions for Canada to consider. Now that a new federal cabinet is in place, with Jonathan Wilkinson appointed as the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Readers may want to consider letting him and/or their elected representative know their views on global warming and climate action. For example, see the Resources menu item for a sample Member of Parliament.

Next week’s blog post will look into Canada’s current Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, as we begin to turn attention to the bigger picture of the international community’s forty-year long commitment, through the United Nations’ Paris Accord, on global warming and climate change. See you next Thursday!

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