Why I buy an organic Christmas Tree (and lead free Christmas lights)

When I first read about organic Christmas trees I thought you have got to be kidding me.  Then I realized that most Christmas trees are sprayed with pesticides and potentially other toxic chemicals.  We bring the trees into our homes and our kids help us decorate the trees, we put their presents under the tree, etc.  A lot of us are trying to lead a non-toxic lifestyle, buying non-toxic toys, eating organic but one big way of keeping chemicals out of your house during the Christmas season is to buy an organic tree.  Here is a list of organic Christmas tree farms in different states.  You can also do a search specific to your area.  We found a great, small tree farm run by a really nice family that doesn’t use any pesticides (they were not on the list above).  They aren’t certified organic but they never spray their trees with anything.  We have made it a yearly tradition to buy our tree from them and it is the same price if not a little cheaper than the lots or bigger farms nearby.  If you aren’t a fan of buying a tree each year then consider buying a live tree.  Since writing this last year I did a post on organic, no spray, sustainable Christmas Trees in Washington State (so if you live in the state take a look at the list of tree farms).

I highly recommend staying away from artificial trees.  Most artificial trees are made with PVC which is a toxic substance.  Most PVC also contains lead (lead is a stabilizer in PVC).  Lead is extremely dangerous for kids to be exposed to.  It’s best to stay away from artificial trees all together.

Christmas lights also typically contain lead.  Environmental Lights makes lead free Christmas lights.  The lights are much more expensive than traditional lights but in my mind it is worth it.  Nothing like stringing lights on your tree that have lead on them.  If you aren’t able to purchase lead free lights then make sure you wash your hands after touching them and do not let children touch them.  I’ve read that possibly IKEA’s Christmas lights are lower in lead (not lead free) than most other brands (I never researched it any further than what I read).  The rational is that IKEA’s lights are also sold in Europe with stricter standards on lead than we have here in the US.

I hope you have a safe, toxin free Christmas!

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15 thoughts on “Why I buy an organic Christmas Tree (and lead free Christmas lights)

  1. Karen

    Hi –

    Thank you for this post. Our family has always gotten a real tree for Christmas and it didn’t even dawn on me that it could be toxic. I too am in the Seattle area and have gone to a local tree farm for our tree. The organic one listed is very far and I was wondering which farm you go to.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      The farm we go to is far away also – about 45 minutes to an hour. I LOVE it though, every tree is $50 no matter the size. They have a wood burning fire place, and indoor store with cute homemade gifts. The family that runs it is so nice. It has become our yearly tradition 🙂 Here is their link, they don’t say they are organic but sustainable. I talk to them each year and ask if they are still organic and they say yes. It’s always good to ask but they are committed to not using chemicals. http://bowenchristmastreefarm.com/

      Reply
      1. autismsupermama

        Hi! I love your blog ! I am pregnant with baby #2 and my first son was diagnosed with autism a year ago (he’s 3) we moved to seattle for better services for him. Anyways I am totally committed to buying non toxic things for this baby as I think part of his developmental problems are due to all the chemicals that were around him . I wish I had known about it sooner!

        Anyways I was wondering what lights from the Christmas lights website you used on your tree ? And if the Christmas tree farm you recommend is still organic ? Or if there’s another one .

        God bless you for helping inform parents of all the harmful chemicals and taking the time out of your day to do so 🙂
        Meg

      2. naturalbabymama Post author

        Hi! Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I’m pregnant with #2 also and have been exhausted! I feel like I turned a corner though 🙂 I love that you are in Seattle! I hope you are enjoying it here and are getting the services you need for your son.

        I can’t remember the exact lights we bought from Environmental Lights but they are the certified lead free lights and they are white. They claim all their lights are lead free but only some are certified. I figured they are expensive enough that I wanted them to be certified.

        The Christmas tree farm is still organic as far as I know. I quiz them each year and the kids running it (they are in their late 30’s or early 40’s) are very committed to not using chemicals. It’s family run and most of the interaction I’ve had is with the kids and not the parents. It doesn’t hurt to try and contact them via facebook and see if they respond.

      3. naturalbabymama Post author

        Hi again! Just found out that the tree farm we were going to now has to spray half of their trees. So just wanted to give you the heads up on that. The trees are all pretty close together. They spray in late May / early June for a fungus. I’m working on finding a few other farms and have some strong contenders (and they are a little closer). Just wanted to give you the heads up. I’ll post more when I have a few more answers from the other tree farms 🙂

  2. sage

    We don’t have a local organic tree farm. Any thoughts on a safe alternative? In years past, we have had an artificial tree, but I’ve always despised it. This year, I had planned to buy a real one, but no organic farms here. I can’t imagine not having a tree!

    Reply
    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      Where do you live? The tree farm I go to is organic but not certified. They list themselves as sustainably harvested. Then I followed up with them to find more info and that’s when I found out they don’t use any chemicals on their trees. It took some digging but it was worth finding them 🙂

      Reply
      1. autismsupermama

        Oh no !! We were going to go tomorrow . Do you have the names of any other farms that don’t spray in seattle area ?

        Thanks for letting me know I really appreciate that

  3. Pingback: Organic Christmas Trees in Washington State | naturalbabymama

  4. Emma

    My husband and I did buy Christmas LED lights from Environmental Lights a year ago and fell in love with them. However, we just bought another set of lights for this Christmas and though it does claim to be made without any lead, we got the package in with the California prop 65 label on it warning that the lights did in fact have lead in them. We are surprised by the misrepresentation of saying ‘lead-free’ when apparently any product that contains more than 300 ppm of lead must get the prop 65 label on it. Just wanted to let you and others know– there is no such thing as lead-free with the Christmas lights.

    Reply
      1. Emma

        I emailed them instead and got this reply: “Are your Christmas light strings lead-free?
        Generally, yes…Some of our lights are marked RoHS and some aren’t, but we believe they were all made without lead. The reason some are not marked RoHS is because they were made before we realized some people cared a lot about lead. Marking the packaging or tagging the strings in all our warehouses is cost prohibitive.

        Some of our lights have California Prop 65 warning tags on them that state that the strings may contain chemicals known by the state of California to cause cancer or other bad things. We have always taken the position that, given what the strings actually contain, there is no requirement to provide the Prop 65 warning, and that it needlessly worries consumers and confuses them. Some manufacturers may continue to apply the Prop 65 labels anyway due to an abundance of caution. The strings don’t need Prop 65 warnings and they were not made with lead…. If we say a product is RoHS on our web site, it will have a RoHS logo on the product page and it should have been marked RoHS at the factory. If we don’t say a Christmas light product is RoHS, it is probably not labeled RoHS, but it should be lead-free anyway.”

        So I gather you have to take their word on it that their products must not contain lead. Still scary cause the lights are made in China and the email doesn’t really explain why ~some~ of their lights have the Prop 65 especially the ones my husband and I bought that were specifically designed not to have lead.

      2. Emma

        Yep. We figure that particular factory where the lights were made just happen to put the Prop 65 warning on it. We checked on the lights we had bought a year ago to see what kind of tags were on it. The lights from last year actually had a RoHS tag on it and no prop 65 one. Interesting. It seems some of the products are given appropriate tags (RoHS) and as well tags that shouldn’t belong there (prop 65). While other ones are not. This is why my husband and I figure maybe some products are made at one type of warehouse who follows what correct tags should be used while others are at another one who does not.

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