Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Trees

There is a debate around Christmas trees this time of year with us environmentalists. To have a real tree, or a fake tree?

I stand firmly on the 'real tree' side of things. I understand that cutting down a tree for decoration may seem to some like a huge waste, but the fake trees are produced with PVC and all other kinds of toxins and hardly ever last more than five years... after which they end up putting all of that nastiness into the landfills.

I also live in the Pacific Northwest. I may have a very different opinion if I lived somewhere where we had to truck trees hundreds of miles to be used as decor... but here, I can cut a Douglas Fir off of a farmers property from less than fifteen miles away. I consider it supporting a local farmer. (It always reminds me of the pumpkin patch. After all, very few people considers jack-o-lanterns a waste.) Our winters don't leave us much of a vegetable or fruit crop, so many farms put a few trees on the land to subsidize their lean months. Most farmers use sustainable methods of growth to grow their trees, and it has been said that Christmas trees actually produce a bunch of the earths oxygen in the wintertime. They are evergreens and so unlike their deciduous cousins, they still work when the weather is cold.

There are a few farmers that use a bunch of pesticides to grow their trees... so always talk with your farmer if you can. Get to know his practices. Then it will be an easy choice.

As far as the waste is concerned; after we are done with our trees, they get picked up by the city and chipped for either paper or for the yard waste disposal compost. After a few months, they can use it as premium compost for gardens all over the city. In my area, it makes perfect sense to have a real tree in my holiday traditions.

What is your opinion? Real tree or fake tree?




Christina Scovel said...

I prefer the smell and feel of a real tree - but since I live in the desert it just seems wrong.

Tealah said...

Hmm, well, I always did prefer a real tree, but since my husband and I have traveled back to Michigan every year for Christmas since we've been married and stayed with family, we've just gone with whatever tree the families put up. Seems that for the most part that means fake trees. I don't really understand that - where's the smell of pine, the fun of going to pick out your own tree every year, even the fun of keeping it watered? But my mom's used plastic trees since I was in high school, so... *shrug*

Gardentyme said...

The question for us is real or none? Because we live in one of those places that trees ARE trucked hundreds of miles, it does just seem wrong for many reasons. I love the real tree in the house and the smell of course. We have used live trees before and planted them on our property but we now have plenty of pine trees. So, I am looking for an alternative to a Christmas tree. Any ideas? I am considering doing something with boughs from a redwood tree that needs to trimmed.

Rachel said...

I love the smell of a real tree, and all it's life and vitality! That said, my mother-in-law is allergic to evergreens, as Christmas is at our house, I think it is only polite to get a fake tree... I do miss the fresh smell though! Maybe I'll go light a candle.

Dawn D. Lion said...

Real for sure! I am a purist on the issue, and also like you think of them as a farmer's crop. The one thing that gets me is it can be an extravagant price, but its the one frivolous thing I splurge on this time of year.

anotherkindofdrew said...

We absolutely go real. In fact, we go real and we go local - purchased from a local tree farmer who is certified organic in his growing habits.

And like you we also have our tree chipped (courtesy of a neighbor) and for the past two years we have used those chips in one of our gardens.

It is actually kind of cool to know that everything you go to your garden you are celebrating a little of Christmas!

Lise said...

Real, for sure!

Anonymous said...

I'm from Toronto and we can donate our old trees to make a flu vaccine from the shikimic acid in the needles.
Now, the whole flu vaccine is a whole other story, but still a cool idea!

Katie said...

New to your blog. I love it! I was raised in the pacific northwest as well, so perhaps I'm biased, but Christmas isn't quite right without a real tree.

To Gardentyme: I have seen people use a rosemary topiary shaped like a tree. Certainly it isn't as big, or as piney smelling (although rosemary is nice too) it serves the purpose. And since it's a live plant it's useful year-round in your kitchen.

Sarah said...

I'm really happy with our fake tree- over 5yrs old and still going strong. I like that I can put it up as early in the season as I want and it doesn't get dry and become a fire hazard (at least not any more than anything else plugged in). I love that its pre-lit since I'm a complete drop out when it comes to applying lights to a Christmas tree. I love that it doesn't leave needles or spill or do anything else messy to my living room. I love not having to dispose of it, no matter how easy it is becoming to do so. I love that my husband doesn't try to throw it in our fireplace after the season and create a combusting inferno in my living room (first year of times). I love that I don't have to spend money on a tree each year (those things are pricey, even the cheap ones). I like your reasoning though and fully respect your 'real tree' stance.

Sarah said...

We go real here too. I see it as a crop- we get ours from a tree farm not even a mile from our house. Those trees were planted with the purpose of being a Christmas tree....and they benefit the earth as they grow to the appropriate size.

Shari said...

For all the reasons that Sarah said I love my fake tree. A few years ago I tried to get a real tree here in CA but a 3 foot tree was $50! I like that I don't have to buy one at all now and just get my 6.5 foot tree out of the box as early as I want too.

I can adjust the limbs for the decorations, take the top off and put the lights on sitting on the couch, and bend the top so the star fits. Just my cup of tea. I don't miss the dust, spilled water and pitch on the rug.

Just put mine up and it looks great and will last until the 6th of January with no problem.

I like the smell of the real trees too and like to support the farmers but the trees we get are cut in October and are dry before you even put them up. We had three houses on fire last year from "real" trees.

NW yes CA no. If you live where you can cut your own that is different.

Chell said...

We do fake because I am so allergic to the real ones, no fun breaking out in hives when trying to decorate or having a migraine for the weeks it ins up in the house. Our fake trees tend to have to 10 + year life span..

Bethan/Scarlet said...

I used to be firmly on the real tree side until I realised that they were making my kid sick. Fake tree all the way now.

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