Along with Santa Claus, the mistletoe, and other symbols of Christmas, the Christmas tree is a time-honored custom that has evolved into an essential part of any home.
The spruce, pine, or fir trees used for Christmas can be living or artificial, electronic (like those used for Christmas lights), or both. They can be a few to dozens of feet tall, and, believe it or not, there are even “half” and “quarter” Christmas trees. Yes, I did use the word “shapes” quite literally.
But things don’t stop there. Renting is an option if you enjoy the real thing but want to practice environmental responsibility. Yes, as it turns out, you can rent a tree in London that comes to your house in a pot, celebrates with you, then waits for the following year in the wild.
Turns out, people can rent a Christmas tree for the holidays, after which it’s returns to its farm or forest
Alexandra Lautarescu, a PhD candidate and Twitter user (@AleLautarescu), recently posted on the social media platform to express her excitement and fascination with what she called a “sustainable X-Mas gem.” She shared a picture of the unadorned, roughly 6-foot Christmas tree she had rented from London Christmas Tree Rental.
She explained in the tweet that people can rent trees in pots from the London Christmas Tree Rental. Then, in January, it returns to live on the farm while it waits for the following Advent season. The tree is cut down when it reaches 7 feet and is then planted in a forest to revert to its natural state. The tweet received over 62,000 likes and 7.3k retweets, instantly becoming popular.
Twitter user A. Lautarescu recently shared her joy of a tree she rented from the London Christmas Tree Rental, after which the tweet went viral
Speaking of the rental service, Jonathan Mearns and Catherine Loveless, who we contacted for an interview, founded it. One January, while strolling through the streets of London, Jonathan and Catherine came across what can only be described as a graveyard of Christmas trees—used and abandoned after the holidays.
There must be another way to do Christmas trees, they reasoned to themselves. In our investigation of the rental idea, we discovered that 7 million cut trees are disposed of in landfills annually, where they rot and release greenhouse gases. The typical 6 foot tree that is rotting emits 16 kg of CO2. When we came to this realization, we knew we had to try to make the rental concept work, according to Chatherine Loveless, one of the company’s co-founders.
It works like this: a customer chooses one of four tree sizes—3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 feet tall—each of which is aptly named Mr. Kensington, Miss Fulham, Mr. Westminster, Miss Islington, or Mr. Bromley. The 3-foot Mr. Kensingon is the shortest and costs £39, or just over $50, while the 6-foot Miss Islington is the tallest and costs £69, or $92 during the holiday season.
Jonathan Mearns and Catherine Loveless established The London Christmas Tree Rental in an effort to lessen the number of Christmas trees that end up in landfills.
“The trees have names based on London boroughs according to their size. Our smallest tree, Mr. Kensington is because Chelsea and Westminster is the smallest borough in London. Mr Bromley, our mighty 7 footer is due to Bromley being the largest borough. Miss Fulham comes in at a delightful 4ft, Mr Westminster is our 5 footer, and Miss Islington is our 6 footer,” elaborated Catherine. “We encourage the family to give them first names so that they can welcome them into the home each Christmas, on the whole, the trees are very well behaved and make perfect house guests!”
Then the living tree of your choice is delivered to your doorstep for you to place wherever you want around the house (avoid warmer parts of the room or else the tree will think spring came early) and to decorate however you please. Just make sure you also water it with about half a liter of water a day (it comes with its own drip plate, so things won’t get messy.)
Once the season is over, you then set up a time to have the company come pick up the tree, give you back the £30 or $40 deposit, given that the tree hasn’t been obliterated by the kids, the pets, and/or that one family Christmas dinner that nobody talks about. And if you liked the tree, you can reserve it for next season!
Co-Founder Catherine Loveless said the average rotting 6ft tree produces 16kg of CO2 and there’s around 7M of them annually in landfills
“All the trees are returned to the farm in January where they are cared for till the following year. If a customer has liked their tree, then it can return to them the following year. 97% of these rollover trees survived the 2 heatwaves this summer and were able to return to customers this year. They become part of the family and the customer is excited to see how much it has grown,” said Catherine.
Now, Catherine did explain that their business has two delivery options—one is where a customer can come to a local pop-up hub and choose the tree they have paid for, but this means that the customer will also need a car and the pot weighs a lot, while the other option is to rent it blind online and to have it delivered to you. And we both know Christmas trees are such a subjective thing.
BUT, despite this, this way you’re making sure your Christmas tree isn’t one of the aforementioned 7 million that have been cut down and met their fate in a local landfill, but one that will continue living and helping fight climate change.
The company offers several sizes of Christmas trees, each named after London’s smallest to biggest boroughs
And if you’re wondering how you can turn this into an educational thing for the kids, the people at the London Christmas Tree Rental got you covered:
“We have a sister company, Holly Berry Trees, where Holly Berry, who is Father Christmas’s next door neighbour, posts out mini pot grown Christmas trees. These are predominantly to children and come with lights, decorations, reindeer poop (compost) and a beautifully illustrated story about life in the North Pole living next to Santa,” elaborated Catherine.
She continued: “They are not rented, but bought. After Christmas, the child can either keep the tree in it’s pot and it can come back into the house again the following year, or they can plant it directly into the garden. It is the child’s own tree, to name and care for. It educates the child from a young age to the importance of the environment and learning to care for something living, whilst wrapped up in a magical Christmas character.”
Depending on the size, renting a tree for the holidays will net you anywhere between £39 and £69 ($50–$92)
If you happen to live in the London area and haven’t got a Christmas tree yet, why not get in touch with the London Christmas Tree Rental? You can also follow them on the various social media that they’re on, including Facebook and Instagram.
But before you go decorating and Christmas shopping, why not let us know what you thought about this and what Christmas tree you’re going for this year in the comment section below!