For those who hate to have a cut-down tree and then throw it out, but can't bring themselves to love an artificial tree, Germany's Happy Tree company has a solution. They'll rent you a festive tree, and then take it back after the holiday.
A startup last year when they rented 400 trees to customers in Cologne and Dusseldorf, this year they are aiming at 3000, in 12 cities, including Hamburg, Bremen and Hannover. Last year, about 75% of the trees survived the holidays; the company is aiming for 90-95% in future.
The company's plans are a riff on an industry long active in other countries, providing plants, even large ones, grown in pots for temporary landscaping. Usually the customers for that have been large organizations or owners of shopping malls and office buildings.