As we pack away our Thanksgiving food, it’s time to start getting all the decorations out for the most joyous and wonderful holiday of the year! Christmas is right around the corner, and as you’re getting out all of your decorations to hang up, this year skip the wasteful plastic and opt for buying a real Christmas tree.
While it may not seem ideal to buy a real Christmas tree every year, there are so many reasons to make it your new tradition. Fake trees may last you a bit longer than one season, but the consequence that comes with buying a plastic tree is simply not worth it.
Artificial Christmas trees are non recyclable
You heard that right, no part of an artificial Christmas tree is recyclable. According to Earth911, “Artificial trees are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a difficult-to-recycle plastic.” So while you may hold on to that Christmas tree for 6-7 years (which is the average time it will last a family before having to replace it, this fake Christmas tree will eventually end up in a landfill. Seeing abandoned Christmas trees mixed in with a mound of plastic bottles is not a very merry sight.
Real Christmas trees are live, which means they are 100% biodegradable. You can compost your real Christmas tree in your own backyard to use for the soil in the summer, or you can chop it up and use it in your fireplace to help keep you warm the rest of Winter.
If you’re not into composting, then don’t worry! There are tons of real Christmas tree recycling programs that will come to your home to pick them up. These trees are often made into habitats for animals in the winter and in some cases can be used to help coastlines from erosion.
Real Christmas trees have an abundance of options for recycling and reusing vs an artificial Christmas tree that only has a landfill option.
Real Christmas Trees produce oxygen
Like all trees, real Christmas trees produce a significant portion of oxygen as they grow. Dr. Leonard Perry of the University of Vermont states that “An acre of Christmas trees produces enough daily oxygen for 18 people. The trees on farms in this country currently provide enough oxygen for 18 million people a day.”
Can you imagine if the demand for real Christmas trees was increased? Imagine how much oxygen would we increase in our world if we all devoted to buying real Christmas trees every year instead of opting for disposable plastic!
Christmas tree farms supply jobs
Ever wonder where the artificial Christmas trees come from? Most are imported from China or Taiwan, and while we do benefit from importing items, our country does not benefit as much as it would if we had bought that product locally.
Supporting local Christmas tree farms supports not only a small business but the employees that they hire. The National Christmas Tree Association tells us that, “There are close to 15,000 farms growing Christmas Trees in the U.S., and over 100,000 people are employed full or part-time in the industry.”.
From supporting local farmers you are supplying work to over 100,000 people in the United States! Your money spent at a local real Christmas tree farm ends up going right back into your community.
Real Christmas trees provide a habitat for animals
It takes the average real Christmas tree 4-7 years to mature enough where you can cut it down to display in your house. Within that time, thousands of animals are using the tree as their home and shelter. Animals like goats and pigs will even use real Christmas trees as their food source! So before your tree is ready for your home, it’s providing a huge amount of resources for animals.
Some places (even zoos!) will even use your recycled Christmas tree and add it into the food they use for lions and elephants!
Now there may be a few things holding you back from jumping on the real Christmas tree bandwagon. Luckily, there are so many ways around them that you’ll have no reason to not buy a real Christmas tree this year!
What if I have allergies?
This is a huge reason that prevents most people from buying a real Christmas tree. Some of us start sneezing and getting watery eyes the moment we walk into a loved one’s house and smell that pine. But I’ll let you in on a little unknown fact. You may not be allergic to the tree itself.
Did you know you’re supposed to wash your Christmas tree before you bring it inside? Real Christmas trees have been sitting in their natural habitat for 4-7 years, which means they’ve had a lot of things come their way. From pollen to mold, there are tons of allergens that attach themselves to the tree.
An easy way to avoid this is by bringing out your hose and spraying the tree down. You can always wipe down the trunk of the tree with a solution of bleach and warm water to ensure you get all the bad allergens off. There are also allergen-friendly trees! If pine pollen is what seems to be affecting you, opt for spruce or fir!
After you’ve washed and dried your real Christmas tree, you’ll be able to enjoy the smell of that fresh pine all holiday long without having to worry about a runny nose.
Aren’t they flammable?
When real Christmas trees get dried out, they do become a fire hazard. Since they are a live tree, you’ll want to make sure that your real Christmas tree has access to water at all times. When you bring in your Christmas tree you’ll set it in a stand that has room for water, so just make sure that it doesn’t get too low otherwise your tree will begin to dry out.
The task of having to water a real Christmas tree may sound daunting, but in fact, studies have shown that caring for a tree or plant can make you happier. According to Plantscapers, “Plants bring feelings of vitality and improve the state of mind. The subliminal effect of plants has an effect that lifts the spirit and brings happiness. An environment that includes natural elements and plants brings a positive outlook on life and boosts people into feeling more alive and active.”.
While you may have to make sure that your tree is watered, at least it will bring you even more happiness around the holidays!
Artificial trees are more affordable
Yes, this is true and there’s no saying otherwise. Real Christmas trees are something that you will have to buy every year, while artificial trees can last your family up to 6-7 years. The amazing part of our modern world is that we have created access to things that are cheap and easy to get.
Let’s go back to the topic of environmental impact. Is it worth saving a few dollars around the holidays when it will take away years that our planet will have to live?
Tips for real Christmas tree shopping
Make sure you find a true local farm
When you’re looking for real Christmas trees, make sure that you spot a truly local farm! Some farms will have their Christmas trees shipped in from places extremely far away, even as far as Canada! While there are some places where Christmas trees simply cannot grow (you won’t find them growing in Hawaii), having them shipped in doesn’t give your community the full benefits of buying local.
When you find a local Christmas tree farm you like, ask about their growing process!
Make it a tradition
Gather the whole family and bundle up to pick out your real Christmas tree together! Kids will love being able to run around the farm looking at how tall, wide, and leafy the trees are and finding the absolute perfect one for your household.
This is also the perfect time to find your family photographer and have your holiday photos taken. Nothing screams the holidays like family portraits in front of Christmas trees!
From lowering our carbon footprint to supporting local farmers and providing jobs, there are so many benefits to buying a real Christmas tree this year. So find a place or family to whom you can donate your artificial one and get ready for the most magical Christmas you’ll have snuggled up to your real Christmas tree!
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