Dumping Christmas Trees

It is that time a year again – and to be more specific, today was the local pick-up day for the old Christmas trees. Our local Abfallkalender (rubbish pick-up planner) informs us about all these times, dates, and places where to dispose our trash. Waste removal and recycling is quite a big industry in Germany, not to mention the bureaucracy that goes with it….

My husband had had a hard time pulling up our tree four flights of stairs back in early December and for various reasons I had a hard time getting it over the balcony this morning. It was our biggest tree ever, and it kept getting stuck on this extra guard rail, upheaving pots, and getting tangled up in a rope. It seemed as if it did not want to go over the balcony.

Out of the corner of my eye, I’ve seen Christmas trees falling for the past few days as I’ve typed near the window. The building next door has 10 storeys, which makes for quite a drop-off. In the blink of an eye, it looks as if a big black bird is dropping out of the sky.

Here is a photo of the Christmas tree, which refused to come down.Christmas tree getting dumped


  1. One reader wanted to know why we had to HAUL it UP.

    Well, we had to haul it up the stairs (four flights) to get it to our apartment to decorate it. Also four-storey buildings don’t come with an elevator. Although anything HIGHER than a four-storey has to be equipped with an elevator (German regulation).
    We don’t drag it down as it would leave such a mess with dry needles coming off. German style – if you live in an apartment – you throw it over the balcony. Then you run down and pull it over to the collection area.
    In my case, after all that work I had before I finally got it over the balcony, I forgot to drag it over to the collection area. A friendly soul – or a “German policeman” i.e. neighbor pulled it from the landing spot over to the designated area.
    Ordnung muss sein!!! (Order must be!)

  2. Or like many Americans, getting a nice fake one! Mine doesn’t leave a mess and I think it’s better for the planet!

  3. Thanks, Thea. Your comment got me interested even more into what happens to our trees AFTER the pick-up.
    We recycle them, therefore they are more eco-friendly than artificial ones.
    More here:

  4. A German man threw himself out of a third storey window along with a Christmas tree during a late-night attempt to dispose of his festive decorations.
    Maybe artificial trees are safer after all…:(

    More here:


  1. […] Traditionally in Germany, the tree is decorated on the late afternoon/early evening of December 24th, when children will be sent outside to play. The tree is put up and then the children are called in for dinner. After dinner, Christkind would deliver the presents and then the children would enter the living room, seeing the brightly lit Christmas tree for the very first time. This is the reason why every store is closed on the afternoon of Dec 24th. Families need this time to cook, decorate the tree and make last-minute preparations. So the tree gets set up on Dec 24th  and is taken down on Jan 6th (Epiphany). That same week the German Christmas tree pickup truck goes around to collect them. Some go out easily, some don’t. […]

  2. […] for Oberursel was on 9 January, 2009. The day before, we Germans in high-rise apartment buildings dump our Christmas tree over the balcony like in  the following IKEA […]

  3. […] could not have imagined writing another post about Christmas trees, but one reader’s comment prompted me to do some more research on what happens to our biological Christmas […]

  4. […] aware of the truck’s size. And this year, our Christmas tree was very compliant in regards to getting dumped from the 4th floor balcony. Black truck and green men coming for our […]

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