At my house we try to be environmentally friendly. When it comes to Christmas, we cut different tree-branches while walking in the forest, and make arrangements the front of our house and inside our dining room table. This cuts down (no pun intended) on destroying a tree for our Christmas fun, and still retains the smell of spruce and the holiday spirit. We also use the trees and bushes outside our house for Christmas lights.
But for many who celebrate Christmas, the question comes up every year: real tree, or artificial? Real and artificial Christmas tree enthusiasts both have legitimate reasons for choosing a tree they want to represent Christmas.
What is your take on the Christmas tree debate?
- – It takes approximately 15 years for a Christmas tree to reach its typical height of 6-7ft. The average is growing time, however, is thought to be 7 years.
- – Before the time of Jesus Christ, evergreen trees were used as a symbol of fertility in the winter.
- – There are around 30,000 bugs and insects in your average real tree. Yikes!
- – The first use of the term “Christmas tree” in the English language was in 1835. Not that long ago, really
- – The first manufactured Christmas tree ornaments were sold by Woolworths in 1880.
- – 34-36 million Christmas trees are produced on an annual basis, and 95% are shipped and sold directly from Christmas tree farms. The industry therefore produces 100,000 jobs.
- – There are 10,000 Christmas tree farms in the Canada growing 300 million trees. The trees benefit the air, groundwater, stabilize soil and help wildlife. After harvest, replacements are planted.
- – Real trees aren’t 100 percent friendly to the environment. Pesticides are used for growing. Cultivation requires fuel. Trucks burn gas hauling trees to market. Even cut-your-own tree operations require fuel consumption as buyers drive to the tree farm. New tree must be purchased every year.
- – Artificial trees, are used for an average of six or more years. Their carbon footprint includes shipping on diesel freighters from coal-fired Chinese factories, where 80 percent are made. Their polyvinyl chloride plastic is non-biodegradable in the eventual landfill.
So which type of tree is best for the environment?
Depending on the data you wish to side with, there are points for both opinions. The good news is there is a break-even point between real vs artificial trees. Most sources conclude that real trees leave a smaller carbon footprint than artificial trees, unless the artificial are used for at least nine years, or possibly longer (some sources indicate up to 20 years). When kept for between 9 and 20 years, artificial trees result in a lower carbon footprint than purchasing real trees year after year. So there you have it. For us, we still prefer to prune and leave the trees where they are; in the ground.