An annual tradition...
...(aka "Challenge") for all you environmentally focused and sustainable living gurus (and those who are flirting with becoming more so) is the fantastic IKEA "Rent-A-Tree" event, where for a mere $14.99 (and $10 deposit) you can "rent' a delightful live 5-7 foot Douglas Fir to ring in the holidays.
Need I mention that you'll be hard-pressed to find a nursery to sell you a live fir for $14.99 (or $24.99) of similar height, and that a similar non-living (aka "cut") Christmas tree at a Christmas tree lot runs from $30 upwards (or $50 or $60!)
At the end of the holidays, you can return the tree to be recycled (not tossed out or composted, but re-used) January 4-6th, and claim your deposit refund in the form of an IKEA giftcard, or plant it in your front yard.
The biggest challenge to becoming a greater environmental steward is not "not knowing" what to do, but learning a new pattern, and for Christmas, establishing a new "Tradition". So here's the scoop:
Visit your local IKEA Friday November 30th through Sunday December 2nd to claim your tree. You'll need a total of $24.99 (tax may be applicable). Take the family, the kids, a friend, a long lost relative, or maybe someone you want to shock by your new "tradition". (After all, this Christmas tree comes in a pot!!!)
Take it home, decorate it, make hot chocolate, light a fire, sit next to it and tell stories or bribe your children with the benefits of being good (isn't that what Santa is for?). If you're going to learn a new tradition, you may as well start or re-adopt all the other traditions you've been fond of, especially if they've been neglected since your childhood or you've not made time. Allow your "Rent-A-Tree" to motivate you into fostering other Christmastime or life changes.
Call ahead to confirm your local IKEA is participating, and have a merry time! IKEA is a 1998 recipient of the Evergreen Award for their environmental and conservational practices.