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Christmas tree rental provides a solution to the real vs. artificial tree dilemma
Alexandra Lautarescu/Twitter

It's Though many people are perfectly happy with their artificial versions (which have gotten more realistic over the years), there's nothing like the look and feel—and smell—of a real Christmas tree.

Both options come with an environmental cost, however. The Nature Conservancy states, "In the U.S., around 10 million artificial trees are purchased each season. Nearly 90 percent of them are shipped across the world from China, resulting in an increase of carbon emissions and resources. And because of the material they are made of, most artificial trees are not recyclable and end up in local landfills."

Real trees support tree farms, which only cut down and sell a fraction of the trees they grow and don't have the intensive carbon emissions that artificial trees do to produce and transport. However, if you go the real route, you're still killing a tree every year to decorate your home for the holidays.

This conundrum is why people are going ga-ga over the idea of rented, potted Christmas trees.


The concept is quite simple. Instead of buying a cut-down tree, you rent one in a pot for the holiday season. Alexandra Lautarescu shared a photo of her tree-in-a-pot from London Christmas Tree Rental and explained how it works. In January, the gets returned to the tree farm, where it lives the rest of the year.

You can actually rent the same tree each year until it outgrows Christmas tree height, at which time it gets planted in a forest.

The tree comes with specific instructions for slowly introducing the tree to the temperature of your home and for watering and care. Renters also have to pay a damage deposit that doesn't get refunded if the tree dies, so there is some extra incentive to be a good steward of the tree.

It's a small operation and a side business for owners Catherine Loveless and Jonathan Mearns—a woman who runs a ballet school and a man who works as a public servant.

"It all started when walking the streets of London in January and weaving between the Christmas tree graveyards that Jonathan decided enough was enough," the company's website read. "With 7 million trees going into landfill each year for the sake of 3 weeks of pleasure there must be a better way to do Christmas trees."

The idea has proven to be quite popular. Last year, they rented out 100 trees and have sold out of their stock for this year.

The price of a rental ranges from around 40 to 70 British pounds, which equates to roughly $55 to $95 U.S., which is around the same average price of buying a cut tree.

There are some companies in the U.S. that offer similar live tree rental services. In fact, a California-based company, Rent a Christmas Tree, has been renting out potted Christmas trees since 2009.

As the desire for more sustainable practices becomes more and more embedded into people's consciousness, choices like what kind of Christmas tree to get become more and more relevant. One household's choices might not seem significant, but our individual actions do add up.

And as demand for more sustainable options grows, so will the supply. Just imagine how many more sustainable solutions humanity has up their sleeves.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Co-sleeping isn't for everyone.

The marital bed is a symbol of the intimacy shared between people who’ve decided to be together 'til death they do part. When couples sleep together it’s an expression of their closeness and how they care for one another when they are most vulnerable.

However, for some couples, the marital bed can be a warzone. Throughout the night couples can endure snoring, sleep apnea, the ongoing battle for sheets or circadian rhythms that never seem to sync. If one person likes to fall asleep with the TV on while the other reads a book, it can be impossible to come to an agreement on a good-night routine.

Last week on TODAY, host Carson Daly reminded viewers that he and his wife Siri, a TODAY Food contributor, had a sleep divorce while she was pregnant with their fourth child.

“I was served my sleep-divorce papers a few years ago,” he explained on TODAY. “It’s the best thing that ever happened to us. We both, admittedly, slept better apart.”

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