If you live in a condo in Chicago, in a co-op in New York, or anywhere in the city of Philadelphia, you may be counting yourself as part of a growing segment of the American population, who is forced to forgo a live tree for Christmas. Last week, we received a notice from our condo association reminding residents that real, live, Christmas trees were not allowed in any of the units.

That’s a tall order for a Christmas tree-loving Scandinavian.

We live in Philadelphia, where a city-wide ban on live Christmas trees have been in effect since 1982 and carries a fine of $300 a day. How could we possibly celebrate Christmas without a Christmas tree? Growing up in Denmark, the beautifully lit and decorated tree always took center stage for children and adults alike. To most Americans, the Christmas tree – typically a thick, cone-shaped Douglas fir – is equally symbolic and essential for creating that warm and fuzzy Christmas spirit.

See our Scandinavian Living Christmas Pinterest board, where we’ve picked a few of our favorite potted looks for this year’s Christmas tree.

In recent years, more and more multi-unit housing associations, whether condo or co-op, have introduced a no-live-tree policy due to the potential risk of fire when the tree is lit. And we’re not even talking about putting live candles on the tree, as is tradition in Scandinavia. [Before you jump to conclusions about the insanity of such a tradition, read our blog post on Scandinavian Christmas traditions to try this holiday season.]

The facts speak for themselves. Each year fire departments around the country respond to about 200 fires started by Christmas trees. Truth is though that artificial trees are just as likely to be the culprit as real trees.

The real reason behind the ever-more popular ban might be that natural trees create a lot of extra work for building staff having to tidy up dirty elevators, damage to hallways, and broken light fixtures. You might be more lucky if you live in an apartment building, where the management team will often offer clear protocol for bringing in the tree and removing the tree after the holidays. Some even provide complimentary tree removal to minimize the mess left by falling needles from a dried-out tree.

Here’s an idea for how you may get around this rule: A potted Christmas tree!

The fire-code in most states allow for live trees in high-rise buildings as long as they are potted and treated with a flame retardant. That way, the tree can be watered and kept from drying out. Here at Scandinavian Living, we love the idea of a potted Christmas. It looks modern and minimalist and easily complements a Scandinavian interior.  Not to mention it’s a much more eco-friendly choice.

Check out ou SL Pinterest board for ideas to style your potted Christmas tree.

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