An evergreen holiday for you, and a second life for trees

Living tree photos

We know that the holiday season is one of the most festive times of year. We also know that the season of giving can be one of the most stressful times to endure.

Before you know it, the December calendar is booked to the gills as we scramble to host dinner parties for friends and traveling in-laws; attend events, school plays and theatrical concerts; bake dozens of cookies for workplace exchanges; decorate poorly constructed gingerbread houses; sign, lick and stamp a pile of holiday cards; and trim our homes from top to bottom without missing a square inch.

Does this sound like you? Whew! Wait, we also like to throw in a little budget-busting holiday shopping in between. Did I miss anything?

There is no way around it: The holiday madness will consume us for the next month. However, there are at least three easy ways (you pick!) to take one of the most popular traditions of all – the Christmas tree – and make it even more meaningful to you AND for our open spaces.

Give your tree the gift of life after the holidays

King County Parks has partnered with Swansons Nursery to offer a living tree program that will ensure your tree’s life will continue well beyond the holidays and for many years to come in one of King County Parks’ protected open spaces. Plus, planting trees can help restore salmon habitat by reducing water runoff – who doesn’t want that gift under the tree?!

Here’s how it works: Three easy ways to make your holidays evergreen

1. Purchase a living tree at Swansons Nursery – For every living Christmas tree purchased, Swansons will donate a native plant for volunteers to plant at a King County Park restoration site. You take the tree home and plant it in your yard (see care instructions) – OR –

2. Donate your living tree – Choose one of the species available for your living holiday tree signed with a “Donate This Tree.” After the holidays, simply return your tree to Swansons Nursery and it will be added to trees destined for the restoration project. Interested in planting the donations with your own hands? Volunteer to join a scheduled living tree planting event.

3. Show your support with a gift – Purchase a $5 “Sammy” medallion at the cashier during your visit and Swansons Nursery will donate another plant towards the restoration effort. Hang the ornament on your tree at home or give it as a gift!


There you have it: Three truly easy ways to add a meaningful twist to your holiday season! How will you decorate your living tree? We’ve decorated our tree with photos from some of the great parks, trails and open spaces throughout our King County Parks system. Check out more photos on our Pinterest board!

King County Parks Living Christmas  Tree decorated with Polaroid pictures of parks, trails and open space


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