The Christmas Tree Decision: Real Or Fake?

November 24, 2014
Christmas. Christmas tree, real or fake Christmas tree, sustainable Christmas

My husband and I only decorated a few branches for Christmas until we had kids. But when you have a child in the house you need a Christmas tree. We bought an artificial tree because we didn’t like the idea of cutting down a real one. It turns out we should have done our research better.

RELATED: Get your home ready for Christmas

Real Christmas trees are greener

  • Real trees are not taken from a forest. They are planted and grown as crops.
  • Real trees are grown locally and require minimal transportation.
  • Fake trees are made from plastic, they don’t disintegrate and cannot be recycled. Once you’re finished with them, they end up in a landfill and stay there.
  • Most fake trees are produced overseas and require considerable resources to be manufactured and transported.
  • The most optimistic research results show that you need to use your fake tree for at least 8 years to make it a more sustainable option than a real one. From my experience, keeping the same tree for 8 years is not easy. We’ve only had ours for 5 years, it’s already starting to break and we’re getting bored with it. The only reason we’re keeping it is because of our efforts to live sustainably. We’re trying to reach that 8-year mark!

Other considerations

Real Christmas trees can be messier, but then you’re more likely to pack them away as soon as the holidays are over and not let them just stay in the corner until Easter (or is that just me?). And you can’t beat the smell of a real tree. We always had a cut tree at home when I was a child and the smell is the one thing I miss about Christmas.

Fake trees can be more convenient. You just need to take them out of the box and there’s no need to look for a tree every year. On the other hand, choosing your tree can turn into an exciting family adventure that the children will love.

Another option – potted trees

It’s an option that didn’t even get on my radar when we were making a decision about our Christmas tree and I wish it had. You are not using plastic and you’re not cutting trees, you’re growing trees instead. Plus it would be exciting to watch your children and your tree grow together.

Potted pines start out very small, but they’ll grow a lot in just a few years. That’s why they may not be the best choice for you if you live in a small apartment. But if you have a garden, a verandah or even a large indoor space, consider getting a potted local pine like Wollemi.

Image by PublicDomainPictures via pixabay.com

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