SANTA AND REINDEER AND GARLANDS GALORE.
I’ll be honest, Thanksgiving to me is just the beginning of Christmas. Once that meal ends I am officially allowed by the husband to begin my Christmas decorating in the house. I start begging on November 1st when Halloween is over. He spends the next few weeks reining me in.
Decorating for Christmas makes me deliriously happy. Last year was our first year in the house so our first getting a tree together. Our previous Christmas we were in my third floor apartment so dragging a tree up was not happening. The year before that we were long distance.
I was excited to decorate the apartment a bit but being married in our first home together brings a whole new level of warmth and happiness to it. Our hearts were also infinitely warmed last year when we gave each other an early Christmas present. We were able to share the magic and bring a shelter pup home for the holidays.
(Excuse the shameless dog share)
All this excitement centers around the crown jewel of the season – the Christmas tree. With this tree comes immense responsibility, young grasshopper.
How do you decorate it? Which ornaments are your favorite?
Are you a tinsel person?
SO MUCH TO DECIDE ON! The most debated tree decision though – real or fake?
If you aren’t forced to have a fake Christmas tree due to allergies, overzealous pets, or any other reason, you have three choices.
- Real and already cut, or
- Good ole’ fashioned walk onto a farm and saw down your own (with permission of course)
With last year being our first Christmas in our home, we were ecstatic to begin our traditions together. The other half was all in on picking out a tree and cutting it down. I, on the other hand, felt bad cutting down a tree thinking it was a waste and we should just get a fake one. His argument was to think of it as more of a renewable crop and support local farmers. Thus, the research of which option is more sustainable began.
I put a lot of thought and effort into the air quality inside our home. There are no chemical cleaners that are used, only all natural brands or homemade cleaning solutions. We have a ton of houseplants for not only the aesthetic but the air purifying purposes. Though the tree is no longer alive, I’ll put it in the giant houseplant category. It is all natural and not bringing any plastic fumes in the house.
A real tree has been growing for years and, prior to being cut, was helping to absorb carbon dioxide in the environment and producing oxygen. The life of the tree before coming into a home for Christmas was helping the earth. After Christmas, many towns offer free pickup for the trees to be composted and reused instead of added to waste.
Real tree = Cleaning the air while growing + not adding any chemicals to your air at home once cut + composted at the end of it’s use.
A fake tree was created in a factory using PVC plastics that are non recyclable and non biodegradable. Not only was the factory polluting the environment but once tossed it is in a landfill for years unable to be recycled.
Fake tree = Polluting the air of plastic fumes to be produced + cannot be recycled so adds to landfill waste
Winner – Real trees
Fake trees exempt from this standoff, clearly.
Picking out a tree and cutting it down yourself supports local farmers that are likely using more sustainable practices. Look at these trees like crops. The farmers have a finite amount of land to use so in order to be able to reproduce year after year, they use sustainable practices to take care of the land. When one tree is cut down, it is replaced by another to start growing. There is a constant cycle of renewal.
Knowing the background of a precut tree is more difficult. Yes, you can still buy from that local farmer. Chances are they leave some to be cut but cut down trees ahead of time for convenience too. However, going to large store with only precut trees is a bit different. These trees are often imported in from up North (instead of locally). This is a much larger operation and much more likely to be contributing to deforestation with less of an importance placed on sustainability. The trees are slashed down for profit and less likely to be done with sustainable practices. This also adds to the pollution problem of mass machinery being used to level the land and the trucks to ship it to each destination.
Winner – Cut your own tree. Support a local farmer and sustainable farming practices. Decrease deforestation and emissions from shipping.
The average cost of a real tree last year was $51. A typical artificial tree is between $100-$500. The artificial trees are advertised to have a lifespan of about ten years, but most people replace them within four. With a real tree being replaced each year, this brings a fake tree ahead in this competition.
Looking at the dollars? A fake tree is your winner.
Bonus Round: Tradition
There is no competition in this category and there is a large bias. Also, we live in an area where we have this snowy option.
Nothing says Christmas more than putting on the hats and boots and strolling down lanes of Christmas trees to cut down a tree in the snow.
Moral of the story, there are many reasons to go with either option. If you choose a fake tree, please make sure to use it for many years instead of tossing. If you choose a real tree, look for the more sustainable options.
For us, we can’t wait to stroll down our local farm (bonus, owned by a family friend) and choose our perfect tree. Support local business, support the earth, support the magic of Christmas.
However you celebrate this season, I wish you the most magical, loving holiday there could be.