Guidelines for Recycling Your Tree

Guidelines for Recycling Your Tree

Complete the cycle of your tree’s life by recycling it after the holidays! Google Christmas tree recycling to see what’s available in your area.

Real trees are biodegradable and recyclable, and during their years on farms, they actually support the environment. Each spring, growers plant one to three seedlings for each tree harvested. 

Christmas tree recycling programs are available nationwide, and many are quite creative. A farm-grown Christmas tree is 100% biodegradable, so it can be used for all kinds of things in nature, from mulch to erosion control. 

Here are some guidelines for recycling your tree and making sure it gets back into nature in a manner that supports the environment:

1. Trees 6′ or taller should be cut in half

2. Do not place your tree in a bag

3. Remove all ornaments, lights, garlands and other decorations. 

And if you live outside the Austin or San Antonio areas, be sure to look up tree recycling programs in your area. 

A Year We Will Never Forget

A Year We Will Never Forget

The 2012 Christmas Season was one to remember at Papa Noël Christmas Trees. That was the year, a very special Papa Noël tree spread joy in America’s most famous home; The White House.   A Papa Noel tree was also in the White House in 2021!





2012 NCTA Grand Champion



We were delighted that we were the winners of the 2012 National Christmas Tree Association’s Grand Champion Christmas Tree Competition. Our champion tree was selected out of 700 farms in 29 different states to present to First Lady, Michelle Obama. Since 1966 a panel of long-time growers and past winners unite each year to select the finest quality Christmas tree in America. The Grand Champion tree, which was grown on one of Papa Noël’s farms in North Carolina, traveled almost 400 miles and was the centerpiece for The White House holiday celebrations!



We Grow Quality Trees



The Grand Champion Christmas tree represents the quality we have aimed to provide those of you in Austin and San Antonio, Texas for the past 35 years. It is a distinct honor for all of us at Papa Noël to win such an honorable award and provide the tree that will journey all the way to Washington D.C., and into the Blue Room in The White House. As the tree prepares for its journey to The White House and the Christmas season approaches, we will keep you updated at Be sure to check back for updates and an exciting look back into the The White House’s Christmas celebrations!



JFK continued the white house tradition





The Papa Noel Tree delivered





Christmas Traditions At The White House



The season would not be complete without the official White House Christmas tree. Each year a special tree is featured in the Blue Room of The White House and acts a the centerpiece for the President’s joyful celebration.



The First Tree



In 1889 the first recorded Christmas tree was lit in the The White House under President Benjamin Harrison. First Lady Caroline Harrison, an artist, facilitated the decorating of the tree and paved the way for a tradition that has since become the responsibility of our First Ladies. In 1929, First Lady Lou Henry Hoover decorated The White House’s first “official” tree and in 1961, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, began the tradition of selecting a theme for our Nation’s official tree. Since 1929, no Holiday season has gone without an official White House tree.



Traditions Continue



Since 1966 The National Christmas Tree Association has provided the Blue Room of The White House with its official Christmas tree. Each year, The Grand National Champion is selected by a panel of judges and long time growers, who vote for the years finest quality tree. Over the years the official tree has acted as a symbol of unity for our country. After President Kennedy’s assassination, First Lady “Lady Bird” Johnson selected themes of comfort and nostalgia, while First Lady Laura Bush selected “Home For The Holidays” in 2001. Last year, First Lady Michelle Obama chose the theme, “Shine, Give, Share,” with a tree decorated to honor America’s servicemen and women.


All Tree Sales Lots Opening Late November

All Tree Sales Lots Opening Late November

All lots are open November 17

After hearing hundreds of times; “can I buy my tree before Thanksgiving”, we are finally able to say ‘yes’! The most common reason folks seem to want to buy their tree early is they want to jump into Christmas decorating right after the Thanksgiving meal.

Come see our friendly staff before Thanksgiving

It’s a tradition in many families to decorate the tree together and families always come together for Thanksgiving. Just yesterday a lady called asking if she could buy her tree the Saturday before Thanksgiving and when I said yes, she was absolutely thrilled. She said her daughters come home for Thanksgiving break and Christmas break but the parents didn’t want to wait until Dec 18th when the girls came home to decorate the tree, they wanted to do it at Thanksgiving. She went on to say that “since your trees are so lovely, we want to have it up as long as we can and buying it before Thanksgiving allows our daughters to join in the decorating.”

We have fresh shippments arriving Every Week until Christmas!

The truth about Real Christmas trees

The truth about Real Christmas trees

Fake Christmas trees are NOT better for the environment! 85% of fake trees are imported from China and are made of metals and plastics that contain PVCs. Because of the unacceptable levels of lead, California requires that they carry a warning label.

Myths about Christmas Trees

From the National Christmas Tree Association

MYTH #1: Real Christmas Trees deplete our forests.

BUSTED: Seriously, do people still believe this? To be completely accurate, in a few locations around North America, the Forest Service sells permits for people to harvest wild trees so that they can create fire breaks. Commercial Christmas trees (nearly half a billion) grow on family farms; each spring growers plant one to three seedlings for each tree harvested. 

MYTH #2: Real Christmas Trees aggravate allergies.

BUSTED: A person may be allergic to tree pollen or even tree sap, but a real tree produces pollen in the spring, not in the fall and winter when it is dormant. Studies show that of the 50,000 species of trees, less than 100 have been shown to cause allergies. 

Christmas trees can collect pollens, dust, mold or other allergens as they grow. Of course, so can the artificial tree stored in the attic or basement. Whether you use a fresh Christmas tree from a farm, or an artificial tree stored in a box, if you are sensitive to dust or molds, you can simply hose the tree with water and let it dry before bringing indoors. At Papa Noel, we use a shaker to help remove allergens and dead needles so these don’t end up in your home!

Resources pertaining to holiday allergy prevention

MYTH #3:  Fake trees can be re-used it each year.

BUSTED: Whether you use a fake tree for the average 6-9 years or 20 years, it will end up in a landfill. Real trees are biodegradable and recyclable and during their years on farms, they actually support the environment.

MYTH #4: Christmas trees are a fire safety hazard and frequently catch on fire.

BUSTED: The reality is, a tree being accidentally ignited is EXTREMELY rare because they are rich in sap and water. As in 0.0004%. According to a report from the National Fire Protection Association, 28% of home fires involving a Christmas tree were started with fake trees.

MYTH #5: Real Trees cost too much.

BUSTED: You will find a wide range of prices for the size you want. If I spend $20 on a Christmas tree from a farm each year and you spend $300 on a fake tree, you’d have to use it for 15 years (way past the average) before I will have spent the same amount as you.

MYTH #6: Real Christmas Trees have pesticides and chemicals on them.

BUSTED: Myths such as this often get a foothold due to the disconnect that most people have with agricultural practices. Christmas tree farmers do not use chemicals in a “harmful” manner. Chemicals are used only when needed and only according to the specified instructions and regulations of the EPA, the USDA and the FDA. Christmas tree farmers live on their land and raise their families there. They would not engage in an activity that would put their families, employees or the people they sell their product to in harms way. To suggest otherwise is at best uninformed, and at worst, offensive.

There has never been a scientific research article suggesting that harmful levels of chemical residue exists on Christmas Trees, and in fact there have been studies looking for it. On the flip side, there have been studies showing a potential health danger of lead dust coming from plastic trees. The state of California requires a warning label on fake trees and wreaths. Watch this clip

MYTH #7: Real Christmas Trees end up in landfills.

BUSTED: Christmas tree recycling programs are available nationwide, and many are quite creative. A farm-grown Christmas tree is 100% biodegradable, so it can be used for all kinds of things in nature, from mulch to erosion control. 

MYTH #8: Real Christmas Trees are a hassle and a mess.

BUSTED: It’s all relative. You may have to vacuum some needles. Does that mean you don’t vacuum normally? Vacuuming should be a regular household chore all year long, so if the tree drops some needles, you’re going to vacuum anyway right?

The time invested in buying and maintaining a farm-grown Christmas tree is nothing compared to what you get out of it. A good feeling. Memories. A home that “smells” like Christmas. Knowledge that you made a good environmental choice. That’s not a hassle, that’s a blessing.

How To Select A Christmas Tree

How To Select A Christmas Tree

Making Christmas Dreams True

Selecting the best tree for you home is a very personal choice. Species, height and width can all come into play. At Papa Noel Christmas Trees we have selected the finest and freshest trees from the farms where we grow them. We also have chosen a select group of species especially for you. Visit your local Papa Noel lot this holiday season for help choosing your Christmas dream.

Things to keep in mind

  1. Be sure you know what size (height and width) you need before heading to a Papa Noel Christmas tree lot.
  2. Decide where you will place the tree at home or office: against a wall, corner, center of the space. This will help you look for a shape to best fit the space.
  3. Check out the species we offer (listed on this page) as these are the fir that retain their beauty in the Texas climate. If you know which species you like best, great, but if you want to try something different, ask a lot manager for assistance with options.
  4. Ask the lot manager about help with delivery and recycling.
  5. Involve the whole family in the selecting and plan fun things for everyone to do during the trip.
Your Christmas Begins at Papa Noel’s Farm

Your Christmas Begins at Papa Noel’s Farm

Farming A Renewable Resource

The Christmas tree industry supports some 350,000 acres of green space throughout the U.S. with a renewable, recyclable resource. For every tree harvested, one to three seedlings are planted in the spring. It may take 12-15 years for that seedling to mature into a 6′-7′ beauty through proper feeding and grooming. Papa Noel is one of 15,000 farms growing Christmas trees, employing more than 100,000 people. 

Our tree farms in North Carolina.

Caring For Your Tree

When a Christmas tree is cut, over half of its weight is water. Below are some tips on keeping your tree fresh: Displaying trees in water in a traditional reservoir type stand is the most effective way of maintaining their freshness and minimizing needle loss problems. Once home, place the tree in water as soon as possible. Most species can go 6 to 8 hours after cutting the trunk and still take up water. Don’t bruise the cut surface or get it dirty. If needed, trees can be temporarily stored for several days in a cool location. Place the freshly cut trunk in a bucket that is kept full of water. To display the trees indoors, use a stand with an adequate water holding capacity for the tree. As a general rule, stands should provide 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter. Devices are available that help maintain a constant water level in the stand. Use a stand that fits your tree. Avoid whittling the sides of the trunk down to fit a stand. The outer layers of wood are the most efficient in taking up water and should not be removed.

More Than Just Trees

Keep displayed trees away from sources of heat (fireplaces, heaters, heat vents, direct sunlight). Lowering the room temperature will slow the drying process, resulting in less water consumption each day. Check the stand daily to make sure that the level of water does not go below the base of the tree. With many stands, there can still be water in the stand even though the base of the tree is no longer submerged in water. Use of lights that produce low heat, such as miniature lights, will reduce drying of the tree. Always inspect light sets prior to placing them on the tree. If worn, replace with a new set. Always turn off the tree lights when leaving the house or when going to bed. Monitor the tree for freshness. After Christmas or if the tree is dry, remove it from the house. Never burn any part of a Christmas tree in a wood stove or fireplace. Prepared by Dr. Gary Chastagner and Dr. Eric Hinesley, Edited by the Scientific Research Committee of the National Christmas Tree Association