OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – This is the time of year when many folks welcome living trees into their homes for the holidays, but their lives usually end as the holidays wind down.
Often, the trees are simply thrown away, releasing carbon dioxide into the air.
However, one Oklahoma City family rents trees that will start a new life after they finish their Christmas career.
Fluffy, vibrant and full of life, hundreds of living Christmas trees have been delivered to Oklahoma homes.
Much like the trees she rents, Samantha Walker says The Green Tree Project has roots.
“In 2016 we had a 4-year-old child placed in our home,” Walker said. “He had been through 7 homes in 6 months. He was a brokenhearted kid.”
Walker and her husband foster children with special needs.
That Christmas, they went all out for the little boy – a fresh-cut tree, gifts- the works.
But at the end of the holidays, they found the child in tears again.
He didn’t understand why his family would toss out the tree that brought joy to their home, mirroring his life in foster care.
“Like I had been welcomed and I had been thrown away,” said Walker.
So the Walkers started doing some research and found trees that can grow and thrive in Oklahoma long after the presents are unwrapped and ornaments are packed away.
“These are Leland Cypresses,” Walker said. “We can’t work with conventional Christmas trees such as Noble Firs and Douglas Firs simply because they’re not meant to be in this environment.”
Because they are living trees, they still have their root ball and can be pretty heavy.
“We’re the only way you can order a Christmas tree from your couch,” said Walker.
The biggest ones can weigh as much as 250 pounds.
That’s part of the reason The Green Tree Project brings the trees to you.
“You schedule free in-home delivery, we bring it to you,” said Walker.
It’s white-glove service for living trees that don’t shed.
The Green Tree Project crew trims them to fit your space.
“We come back and pick it up after Christmas unless you request an invoice to purchase your tree,” Walker said.
Trees that aren’t purchased go to the Green Tree Projects partners, including OK Tree Bank Foundation and OKC Beautiful.
They give the trees their forever homes, just like the Walkers did with the little boy and his four siblings.
“He just has the purest heart and has inspired a legacy for our family,” said Walker.
Rent-ready trees range in sizes and prices from $100 to $375.
Right now they operate in OKC and Tulsa but hope to branch out.