We love the Friends of the Urban Forest’s living Christmas tree program—but they’ve sold out their allotment this year. Here’s an alternative: Sloat Garden Centers have living Christmas trees; everything from a dwarf Alberta spruce (growing to just eight feet) to a Monterey pine (pictured; and grows up to 90 feet!). Pick out your choice and take it home. Remember: Caring for a living tree is like caring for a pet—it needs some attention (and that means more than just an outfit of ornaments; don’t forget the water!). But here’s the real beauty of the living Christmas tree: After you’ve adorned it, adored it, and watched it glitter and glow, you can plant it in your yard or donate it for replanting at a local park or school. Now that’s a gift that keeps on giving.
There are 10 Sloat Garden Centers in the Bay Area. Living Christmas tree prices range from $30–$150. Pick up their four-page brochure on taking care of the tree. Contact your local department of parks and recreation or local school to find out about living tree donations.