The following Guest Post was written by
Kim at Nearly Natural Momma:
Hi! My name is Kim and I’m the owner of Nearly Natural Momma, a blog about living life as naturally as you can with out the guilt. I love writing about living green, healing through whole foods, weightloss through the paleo diet, my chickens (oh man I love my chickens), and homeschooling my two awesome kids. I’m the wife of a video game developer, which weirdly spurred on this whole topic of Christmas Trees. We move….ALOT. Actually in the past three years, I’ve lived in 3 states…some of these moves have been across country. Honestly I’d have it no other way, we meet so many people and get to see so many great things.
For years and years we have had a “faux” Christmas Tree. My thinking? I buy a tree once, and I keep it and reuse it for years. However when we moved cross country from Virginia to Colorado a few years ago, space in our moving truck was at a premium so we decided to sell our old Christmas tree. That following year I had made a decision to make: buy a new tree or get a real one. If you’re facing that same question I put together a list that hopefully will help you make your decision.
Fake Tree Pro’s
- One tree lasts for years, potentially up to 10 years or more.
- Saves on carbon foot print from having to shop around for a tree each year.
- If you kept said tree for 10 years, it could save you hundreds dollars over the life of that tree. Savings come from buying a new tree each year and the gas it costs to buy it.
- These trees are maintenance free, no watering required.
- They are convenient. Most artificial trees come pre-lit, so no dancing around the tree stringing up lights.
Fake Tree Con’s
- Most trees are made of petroleum based plastics, and may contain PVC, lead or other dangerous metals.
- Most artificial trees sold in America were made in China.
- These factories use more energy and create more pollution to produce artificial trees.
- Plastic artificial trees are not biodegradable and may end up sitting in landfills for hundreds of years.
Real Tree Pro’s
- Christmas Trees come from Christmas Tree farms, not forests so there is no need to worry about deforestation.
- Tree farms provide a natural habitat for animals.
- One acre of Christmas trees produces enough oxygen for 18 people. With over 1 million acres in production just in the United States that provides enough oxygen for over 18 million people every day.
- Christmas tree farms stabilize soil, protect water supplies and provide refuge for wildlife while creating scenic green belts. Often, Christmas trees are grown on soils that could not support other crops.
- Christmas Trees can be recycled into mulch for your yard. Find out more about Treecycling.
- Every state in the entire United States has Christmas Tree farms. That makes it very likely that yours didn’t travel far, unlike it’s artificial counterparts that likely came from Asia.
- Buying real Christmas Trees supports the local economy.
- Real Christmas Trees smell nice.
Real Tree Con’s
- Having to buy a new one every year.
- They require upkeep, and must be watered daily to make sure they don’t dry out and become flammable
- They tend to drop their needles and can lead to messy cleanups.
- Some Christmas tree farms use pesticides. Although the amount of pesticides used today is a very small amount (a quarter of an ounce over the life of a tree) and some states don’t use them at all, this may still be a concern to some. Research your State’s Christmas Tree Farms to find out if pesticides are used.
Let’s face it: You can’t beat the smell of a fresh Christmas tree.
Since we moved to Colorado and back again to the East Coast, our family’s “Black Friday” tradition has been to go get our tree. Sometimes we go to a farm if there’s one close by, but they are also available at local home improvement stores. I love the fresh smell of a Christmas tree in our home, and this year our tree was only $25. For us we like knowing we’re supporting farmers, and not polluting our home with who knows what chemicals. Also, when we are finished with it, it will become mulch in our new flower beds.
So what kind of Christmas Tree will you put up this year?
Kim is the creator and writer of Nearly Natural Momma. Kim lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two children on a one acre property out in the country. On this one acre, she raises chickens and tries to grow as much food for her family in their family garden. She home schools her two children using a classical secular approach. Over a year and a half ago she went Primal and I lost 50lbs. Since then, all her recent recipes are gluten free and typically fit the “primal diet” rules. Kim writes about the reversal of her disease through diet, casual homesteading on her one acre property, and the funny trials of homeschooling her children.
Kacey N says
I’d say a pro to buying a real tree is that it’s only $25-30 per tree. I’ve seen faux christmas trees in the stores go for several hundred dollars. It would take ten years of buying christmas trees to break even. Real christmas trees are the way to go in my opinion. Besides, who likes cluttering up their home with a fake tree?
Tree Service Buford says
Real Tree is the best! Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for the information.
[email protected] says
We cut one down from our woods each year, which makes it free and special to us. 🙂
Testing comment reply.
If we could have a real tree we would, but my husband is very allergic to just about each kind. That’s a big con for real trees and has always been the reason we don’t get a real one.
We go out in the woods and get our tree every year. Only costs $5 for a permit. The gas we are happy to spend for a fun outdoor adventure with out kids. We take sleds and hot chocolate and have a wonderful time. The house smells so amazing with a real tree. Thankfully we don’t have allergies to worry about. After Christmas the goats are more than happy to dispose of the tree for us. We actually have old Christmas tree trunks the goats cleaned off making up our garden gate. 🙂
With *our* kids, not with out. That wouldn’t be any fun…
As the parent of a 2 and a 3 year old, I would like to give my toddler tree survival guide.
We’ve had a fake tree we got 5 years ago for 12 bucks (including stand, skirt, and ornaments.) It has served us well but this past year it was a punching bag for the kids.
Fake trees can bend up on the ends to keep the garlands on for slightly longer. They can take abuse but they need to be reshaped and redecorated daily. Fences add an additional 10% ornament protection. Weaker ornament hooks are actually better to avoid ornament breakage (do not wrap them around the branches). Forget glass ornaments. Expect about as much needle drops as a real tree. Plan on securing the plug behind something heavy. Expect to find cookie cutters, wrappers, and socks embellishing your tree.
Real trees can come with SHARP NEEDLES. Problem solved. 😀
We’re using a used fake tree! Bought it on Kijiji 3 years ago for $20. Means that we worry less about the manufacturing process because we didn’t buy new and by using it we’re keeping it out of the landfill. Bonus? IT ROTATES! While I love the smell of real, I love that my tree can go up anytime and the rotating makes it easier to decorate! We’ll use it as long as we can.
Dana Solof says
I chose a small narrow artificial one because I don’t want to introduce pesticides, pollen, mold spores and bugs/spiders/mites etc. into my living room. Before I had a child old enough to care, we never had a Christmas tree.
I use an artificial and have had the same one for about 15 years or more now. We heat with wood heat and a real tree is a serious fire hazard. I have a small home so the trade off for me is sleeping at night and being able to enjoy the tree for a longer period of time. I do place freshly cut greens off of our property around the house because the fragrance is so wonderful. I would likely not buy one today and become more creative, since I have it I will use it…….
I don’t care either way what people choose to do for a tree but here are some fun facts from my family to yours. My mother has had the same artificial tree for 30 years. We have had ours for 8 and it still looks brand new. I am the one who decorates 90% of the tree & I am allergic to evergreens. When I touch “Christmas trees” or their friends I break out in hives, so….that won’t work. And our recycling centers recycle trees artificial/real & lights/cords etc. Merry Christmas to all! Enjoy your trees!
Stephanie @GoodGirlGoneGreen says
We will get a tree with roots to replant! 🙂
I gave up Christmas trees years ago. A beautiful rustic piece of pottery, clippings from fir, pine, and holly (and sometimes a magnolia tucked in) is all i do for decor. It fits with my busy life and smells wonderful while looking quite festive.
I love real trees, but not the mess from the cats eating the needles and getting sick!
Or you could go out and cut yourself one off of the side of the road. That’s what we do every year, no, they aren’t as pretty as a store bought one, but even $25 seems like a bunch of money for a decoration for a couple weeks.
Is that legal?
DaNelle Wolford says
It depends on the state.
I used a fake one before but this time Well i would say don’t use christmas tree. Sorry 🙂 but if u think the real purpose of having the tree is just for a “decoration”. It is not our basic needs and they r not good for the environment unless organic. Even if it’s organic, it would mean “deforestation” which also would results in contributing to the landfill.
You’ve forgotten a major drawback to real trees, I’m afraid. While you are supporting local agriculture, you are supporting a form of agriculture that does nothing to help support your local food shed. Christmas trees farms need irrigation, typically use chemical fertilizer (fossil-fuel based), and take up massive amounts of productive land that produce no food. For my money, artificial trees are the way to go and yes, they are recyclable, by the way, which means they’re carbon footprint is much lower over the long term.
We live in the heart of Christmas tree country in North Carolina. I wouldn’t put a real tree in my house if you gave it to me. They are sprayed to grow, sprayed for bugs and sprayed to be green. You know where all that spray goes. Right into the New River. I wouldn’t touch a fish that comes out of our rivers and streams.
When you buy your real tree and bring it into the house, guess who get to breath all those chemicals? You do when that tree gets nice and warm in your house. If you can smell the pine your breathing the same chemicals that were put on it to make it grow and look good.
My mother-in-law forced my hand 20+ yrs ago, and purchased an artificial tree for my family. Now, I grew up in a home where you went and cut a live tree down every yr ( of course she knew this too). And this was betrayal as far as I was concerned by my husband for even contemplating this wretched thought process.lol BUT, like a good married couple, begrudgingly, we came to an agreement. Every other yr, he gets to put up the artificial tree, of which we still have the same one from 20+ yrs ago, and I still get a real on the even yrs. And as it turns out, I’m pretty happy with both options 🙂
One of the cons of a “Real Tree” would be that they are a huge problem for people with hay fever/allergies!! My husband & I can not tolerate real trees for very long. Just a few hours in a friend’s house with a real tree is enough to cause us to have itchy runny noses & itchy watery eyes! I would love to have a real tree, but until our allergies get better its not going to happen. 🙁
It just doesn’t smell like Christmas without a real tree and it is a renewable resource that does benefit the environment while they are growing them. I only buy my trees from local farms that grew them on their property and are not clear cutting forests.
I LOVE real trees….but I can be in a house with one for about 3 hours max. 🙁 We’ve had fake trees in my family for about 30 years now because my brother is even worse than me, he’ll have asthma attacks. (I’m just sinusy and miserable) You CAN go a little greener by buying used (like the one Kim sold last year) and not upgrading every time you see one a little prettier/bigger/prelit fancier. Also, a smaller one set up on a table doesn’t use quite as much materials to create. And I do appreciate that the fake ones are not as much of a fire hazard for forgetful folks like myself that might not keep the water topped off all the time. For me, there is no real choice because of my allergies, but I do at least try and minimize my impact.
Shawn Jorgenson says
From what I understand, most real trees are spray dyed to be greener. Is this a concern? LOVE that pine smell though! 🙂
Not if you buy from local farmers. It is a concern if the farm does that, but you can easily ask and there is usually a small local lot that won’t have sprayed anything on their trees.
[email protected] says
We always go for a real tree! I like to support the local farmers who grow them… it’s a crop and it helps them make their living — and keep us in nice locally grown vegetables year-round!
Plus I love the smell! It’s worth it… even if I *will* still be finding pine needles in July!
In my area, I have seen forest logged, for Christmas tree farms. So instead of a variety of trees, hardwoods, softwoods, underbrush, etc, there is only pine left. This acidifies the soil, and does not provide the habitat that long standing forest does. I do agree that real trees are better, but most farmers aren’t using fields, they have to wipe out old growth first. And Christmas tree farms are really hideous when you are used to tall, hardwood trees covering acres and acres of hills.
Real Tree it is! Thanks for the information. 🙂
Artificial trees collect dust and are sometimes bad for those with allergies.I love the smell of a real tree but my daughters do not like cleaning up the needles.
We began putting up our artificial trees when my husband’s allergies began giving him a
fit! The doctor determined that our real tree was the culprit. He told us to never use a real
tree again. So we haven’t. We put our tree up on Thanksgiving so that we can enjoy it the whole month of December. Don’t miss the mess at all.