Holiday Trees and Party Planning

Go to: Holiday Trees

Party Planning

Swedish Christmas

It only takes a little planning and creativity to plan a no-waste party.

  • Purchase your party supplies in bulk and buy only what you need. Buying the largest size you can use saves packaging.

  • Use reusable dishes, utensils, and cloth napkins and tablecloths. If you don't have enough, borrow or rent them.

  • If you need paper products, buy the products with recycled paper content.

  • Turn the heat down before guests arrive. You'll save energy and your guests' body heat will warm up the room.

  • Send your guests home with leftovers or bring food you can't finish to work.

  • Decorate with plants, fabrics and other greeneries instead of plastic streamers, Mylar decorations, etc.

  • Use last year's holiday cards as place cards.

  • See no waste party for additional tips on how to reduce waste at your holiday gatherings.

Holiday Trees

If holiday trees are a part of your holiday celebration, here are some important facts to consider when purchasing your tree.

  • Living trees can be replanted, or donated to be replanted, and allowed to continue living. For donation locations contact RecycleWorks at 1-888-442-2666. Here are a couple of examples where of where to rent trees.

  • Artificial trees can be purchased for prices that are comparable to real trees, and look amazingly like the real thing. An artificial tree can be used for several years, if stored properly. Look for less toxic trees made from polyethylene rather than polyvinyl chloride. You can tell if it is polyethylene because it will have three dimensional leaves rather than flat leaves. Also get trees that don't have lights on them already and put them on yourself to avoid more polyvinyl chloride. Check on Craigslist or Freecycle for used ones and when you are done with yours post it there so someone else can use it!

  • You can support local organizations when buying a fresh cut tree. Here are a couple of examples or you can check with your school or other favorite community organization for other locations.

    • San Mateo County Sheriff's Activities League, order here, or call 650-257-3408
    • Project 90 Tree Lot at 728 East 3rd Avenue, San Mateo, 650-579-7426, open weekdays 10 - 8 pm and weekends 10 am - 8 pm

  • Some holiday tree recyclers do not accept flocked trees. Flocked trees cannot be made into compost due to their chemical content. See tree recycling chart for further details.

  • Make your own tree ornaments. Jewelry can be taken apart for beads, which children could enjoy using as decorations on handmade ornaments. Your entire tree can be decorated with recycled items using soda cans, paper towel rolls, and CDs. Cut out images from cards for decorations. Using paper to cut out snowflake designs would also be a great way of contributing to an eco-friendly holiday theme. More ideas of easy crafts & tree decorations, including ones specifically for children. 

  • Try alternatives to tinsel, such as strands of popcorn, macaroni or icicle lights. If you do choose tinsel, make sure that you remove all of it before recycling the tree and reuse it next year. Tinsel cannot be recycled.

If you choose to buy a pre–cut tree, adhere to the guidelines above, and please, recycle it.

Locations that sell living trees

Bongard's Treescape Nursery
12460 Highway 92
Half Moon Bay

Wegman's Nursery
492 Woodside Road
Redwood City

Golden Nursery
1122 2nd Avenue
San Mateo

M&M Nursery
332 Woodside Road
Redwood City


To find out where and how to recycle your tree in San Mateo County, please see our tree recycling chart.