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Noted: Fake Fir, Real Problems

Dec 9, 2011

by Chappell Ellison

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

The first Christmas tree vendor in New York City appeared in 1851. Mark Carr paid only one dollar to rent the sidewalk space. He was so successful that the following year, his rent was $100. By the early 1900s, the first artificial trees were sold in catalogs; Sears & Roebuck offered a tree made of dyed-green goose feathers, appropriate for tabletop decoration. But it was the Addis Brush Company that made the first artificial trees as we know them today, using the same equipment that produced the company’s toilet bowl brushes. The brush style still prevails, now made through a process that expands far beyond its lavatory roots.

Reusable and sturdy, I always thought fake Christmas trees were good for the environment, preventing the harvesting of their authentic brethren. But Bill Ulfelder, the New York State Director of the Nature Conservancy, seeks to dispel our trepidations by explaining why a real tree is the most responsible purchase you can make during the holidays. Ulfelder explains that fake trees are made with PVCs, which doesn’t biodegrade in a landfill. Not only that, when purchasing a real tree, you’re supporting tons of American jobs. “I don’t think people realize what an important business tree farming is,” Mr. Ulfelder said. “There are about 12,000 Christmas tree farms in the U.S. employing about 100,000 people.” Of course my greatest fear in buying a real tree, aside from the minor allergy attack, is contributing in some way to deforestation. Ulfelder clarifies that there are more Christmas trees in the U.S. than people. “Four hundred million nationwide,” he said. “They only harvest about 10%, or 30 million, a year.”

My family has faked it every year — and while Ulfelder provides a solid argument for filling your house with fresh fir, I feel good knowing our family tree is still going strong after 25 years. So what’ll it be for you this year? Real or artificial?

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5 Featured Comments

  • Furiousdreams

    Furiousdreams said 6 years ago Featured

    I wonder what Mr. Ulfelder would say about a live tree, another option - that can also add to the landscaping in the yard afterwards.

  • RossLab

    RossLab said 6 years ago Featured

    When growing up we always had artificial trees, well, the same artificial tree... it is almost a family heirloom now! I admit a real tree looks nicer and smells better, but I prefer to go for a walk and smell it in its natural environment.

  • ntcooper528

    ntcooper528 said 6 years ago Featured

    My family owns a Christmas tree farm in Georgia and I loved reading this article. The Christmas tree industry is so green--we saved farmland in our community that was about to be developed into a subdivision, planted 1000 trees (that we replant every January), and use no fertilizers on our trees. AND we love being a part of other families traditions and memories. A win-win in my opinion. :-) ~Natalie

  • BergmansBear

    BergmansBear said 6 years ago Featured

    I can't possibly read all these comments so maybe someone has already said this, but what we do in my house is collect fallen branches from deciduous trees (oak, maple, etc), tie them together and stand then upright in a basket of yarn balls (my knitting stash!). This way we have a free tree every year and avoid the real vs. fake choice. Of course it is a very non-traditional tree, but we love it.

  • littlegoodall

    littlegoodall said 6 years ago Featured

    Real or fake, I feel moderation is key. Where I live in Texas, people have fake trees in multiple rooms of their 4000+ square foot homes, and miles of plastic garland to go with it. They replace it all every year or so for the newest version from Hobby Lobby. The rejects frequently end up in the landfill. If everyone used their fake tree for 20 years, the big box stores wouldn't sell them by the millions each holiday.

156 comments

  • aiseirigh

    aiseirigh said 6 years ago

    I have a real tree this year and did always growing up as well. I the love scent. What I hate is vacuuming 9 extra times a day, but c'est la vie!

  • epicycledesigns

    epicycledesigns said 6 years ago

    I would love to have a real tree, but when neither of us are in our house for the holidays, buying a real tree for 2 weeks of enjoyment doesn't seem smart! So for now, a fake tree with 3 measly ornaments and abotu a dozen candy canes will have to do!

  • Furiousdreams

    Furiousdreams said 6 years ago Featured

    I wonder what Mr. Ulfelder would say about a live tree, another option - that can also add to the landscaping in the yard afterwards.

  • cmarely

    cmarely said 6 years ago

    I have an artificial tree this year but I'd also be okay with a real tree especially because of the scent!

  • IvyVining

    IvyVining said 6 years ago

    I always had a live tree growing up. Part of the tradition was driving into the Santa Cruz mountains to pick and cut it ourselves. Something about pulling the family Christmas tree out of a box just doesn't feel quite as festive.

  • RossLab

    RossLab said 6 years ago Featured

    When growing up we always had artificial trees, well, the same artificial tree... it is almost a family heirloom now! I admit a real tree looks nicer and smells better, but I prefer to go for a walk and smell it in its natural environment.

  • RivalryTime

    RivalryTime said 6 years ago

    Interesting. I have a fake tree already so I guess I'll stick with it for now.

  • junquegypsy

    junquegypsy said 6 years ago

    Not only do we have real, but we grow them ourselves. This year's is about 23 feet tall. (I use two step ladders and the loft to decorate it.)

  • truthbeautyandlove27

    truthbeautyandlove27 said 6 years ago

    when I was growing we had a fake tree, yep probably the same fake tree year after year. Now I live in a rural area and we take our son out to cut our own tree and I love it, glad to hear its good for the enviroment too

  • NutfieldWeaver

    NutfieldWeaver said 6 years ago

    We always get a tree from a well-managed family Christmas tree farm here in New Hampshire. It is important to us to support our neighbors' farming efforts. While we're at the farm, we usually end up purchasing some locally made maple syrup, and maybe a few handmade Christmas tree ornaments. For us, it is just another way to shop local.

  • volkerwandering

    volkerwandering said 6 years ago

    I got my fake tree for free! I stopped at a yard sale where a little ol lady was getting rid of junk before she moved to Florida. After talking with my boyfriend and I, she insisted we take the fakey complete with plastic box! We couldn't believe our luck! How about instead of throwing them out, we just pass them around? I'm sure you could even figure out how to recycle the branches too! I use pine scented air freshener to make it smell real...It works!

  • MissSarahMac

    MissSarahMac said 6 years ago

    Real trees are great - that's my preference - but as Chappell says her family has used the same tree for 25 years. I think that's pretty eco-friendly. What needs to stop is shoppers scooping up those huge boxes of cheap, plastic ornaments that break after a year or two. I believe the ornaments are the most special component of all the Christmas holiday decorations - they should be loved, cherished, and meaningful, not some hideous molded hunk of plastic that ends up in the landfill in January. Where's the meaning in that?

  • picklehead

    picklehead said 6 years ago

    We've always had real trees, with the exception of one year where all we could afford was taping some lights on the wall in the shape of a tree! haha! Also we did the live tree a few times. I love the fresh smell in the house too, and its fun to go as a family and pick one out together then wrestle around as a team to tie it to the top of the car. :)

  • longwinterfarm

    longwinterfarm said 6 years ago

    Not to mention the pollution that's created in making the fake trees... And most tree farms (yes, all those trees are farmed, not cut down from their natural environment) exist on land that really couldn't easily be used for any other crop, so the land would most likely be used for livestock or developed if the farms had to fold. Methane/pavement vs filtered oxygen...which one sounds better to you?

  • gardenmis

    gardenmis said 6 years ago

    We reuse our beloved artificial tree for now, with high hopes of celebrating with live Christmas trees from local tree farms in the future!

  • ntcooper528

    ntcooper528 said 6 years ago Featured

    My family owns a Christmas tree farm in Georgia and I loved reading this article. The Christmas tree industry is so green--we saved farmland in our community that was about to be developed into a subdivision, planted 1000 trees (that we replant every January), and use no fertilizers on our trees. AND we love being a part of other families traditions and memories. A win-win in my opinion. :-) ~Natalie

  • myvintagecrush

    myvintagecrush said 6 years ago

    Oh boy, Chappell, you might be asking for it with topic ;) so controversial! ..husband and I will be using our diy branch tree we made last year, I love it! No plastic, no needles, only beautiful lights and sparkly ornaments!

  • rushgirl2112

    rushgirl2112 said 6 years ago

    There are hidden environmental costs to real trees too. Fuel to transport them to the selling location, for one thing, and even if they're sold at the farm, you still need to transport it back home. No different from fake trees, though, right? Not really. Don't forget that a fake tree is a one-time purchase, and if you have yours for 20 years or more, then that's a 20+ multiplier on the environmental cost of the real tree. Then you have irrigation and harvest costs. A good artificial tree can last for years and years. Perhaps the most environmentally conscious thing to do is to buy a high-quality, sturdy artificial tree, use it for as long as you can, and then either donate it to someone or recycle the greenery for wreaths or other decorations. Certainly, from an environmental standpoint, it would make no sense whatsoever to get rid of the artificial tree you already have for a real one. As for supporting American jobs, why not just encourage people to spend the $40+ per year (that they're saving by not buying a real tree) on domestic goods? Or better yet, donate it to a worthy charity.

  • atsukoaurio

    atsukoaurio said 6 years ago

    I learned something interesting today! I am glad that I have been supporting a live Christmas tree. I did not see points of live Christmas trees from environment and jobs. When I also buy a live Christmas tree, I make Christmas wreath and some house decorations out of it, instead of buying them from stores. Utilize what a live tree can offer and make more Christmas more homemade;)

  • KettleConfections

    KettleConfections said 6 years ago

    We've always had an artificial tree, but taking these points into account, I think we would have gotten real trees knowing how much pollution pvc production contributes to the environment.

  • RDunzweiler

    RDunzweiler said 6 years ago

    I don't understand why employment is on the table for this article. People are employed to make the fake trees too. Big whoop.

  • rushgirl2112

    rushgirl2112 said 6 years ago

    And of course I forgot to mention the environmental costs of disposing of all these real trees every year. Unless you have a big piece of property and can compost the thing, then someone's going to have to transport it and do something with it. I hear that there are places that mulch them for you, but there are energy costs associated with that too. I just can't imagine that the costs associated with growing, transporting and disposing of 20+ real trees could possibly exceed the costs associated with manufacturing and disposing of just one artificial tree. You just have to be responsible with how you dispose of them and how often.

  • Parachute425

    Parachute425 said 6 years ago

    My Dad always bought a thirteen and a half foot tree even though our ceiling was only thirteen feet and he refused to pay more than three dollars for it. The sparse side went to the back, some magazines under the stand would straighten it up and we're lucky those old, hot bulbs didn't set it on fire. Good times. Today we have a prelit, artificial tree but the thought of keeping Americans employed has me rethinking my future choices.

  • CrystallineDreams

    CrystallineDreams said 6 years ago

    Real tree are a serious fire hazard. If they aren't watered properly then you can forget trying to turn the lights on. Both real and fake trees have their pros and cons to being eco friendly. Why not just chose a tree that's best suited for your family's needs.

  • RJGOriginals

    RJGOriginals said 6 years ago

    As someone who suffers from life threatening allergies that get triggered by real Christmas trees, I think the best thing I can do is keep using the artificial Christmas tree that's been in my family longer than I've been alive. If you care for them right, they'll last forever. That, too, stops it from going in a landfill without being holier than thou.

  • lulusnest

    lulusnest said 6 years ago

    We finally stepped up to a "fake" tree this year. We have a 2 year old and a dog that keep us plenty busy. My husband has always loved a real tree but times have changed for our "little" family. We purchased it at Costco and hope to have it for 20+ years. I guess that only time will tell if we're able to keep it in good shape to use for such a long time. Christmas is certainly my favorite time of year. In the years past we always waited until after Thanksgiving to purchase our tree. I'm so excited now that we can't have it up on the 1st of November. Don't get me wrong, it's early but, heck, it only comes once a year. Great article and something that all should consider around the holidays. Merry Christmas to all!!

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat said 6 years ago

    When real trees are growing in tree farms (please don't rape the countryside for them folks) they absorb a considerable amount of carbon from the air as young trees "breathe" more than mature ones because they're growing so fast. They tend to be grown on small, otherwise fairly useless pieces of land, providing a handy extra income for hard pressed farmers. They're delivered to the point of sale en masse & generally bought by families without making a special journey. In this country local retailers provide drop-off points after the festivities so you can leave your old trees where you bought them, for collection by the local authorities, to be shredded & added to the community compost... which in turn can be collected free. that all seems a lot more environmentally friendly than using an artificial tree, even if you keep it for several years. But of course, the best option is to forego having a tree indoors at all & simply decorate a live one in your garden... as long as you don't use electric lights!

  • VintageChinchilla

    VintageChinchilla said 6 years ago

    We go fake as my husband is allergic to pine sap. I have a tip for buying fake trees! DO NOT buy pre-lit!!! The lights eventually die & you cannot remove them from the tree without cuttings your hands up & its just awful (we know from experience) This year we bought (hopefully our forever) a new tree to replace the pre-lit we had, and there were not many lightless options! Those fake tree companies are trying to get you to buy one every 5 years when I don't see why they can't be used for decades.

  • jamta

    jamta said 6 years ago

    We need to buy a real tree in a pot not a cut tree, then donate it for planting in a school ground or other area in need of greening.. A tree with roots

  • BBAmazeballs

    BBAmazeballs said 6 years ago

    Fake tree FTW. I'll never own a real tree - like RJ, I have allergies. You never know who might come in your home with allergies, either. But as long as ol' Gaea is "safe", nevermind the folks it might ACTUALLY harm, right?

  • nohong

    nohong said 6 years ago

    Interestingly enough, by buying a tree you're supporting the market which grows trees. And also since trees absorb CO2 to grow you are, in effect, causing CO2 to be removed from the air. (to complete the loop, assuming you throw the tree in the woods to decompose that CO2 will stay mostly in solid form. I'm not so sure what happens to it if you live in a city or suburb and it gets taken away with the trash... if it just gets burned then it's net neutral...)

  • rushgirl2112

    rushgirl2112 said 6 years ago

    If you live in a colder climate and buy a potted tree, be aware that it may not survive indoors until you are able to plant it outdoors in the spring. Most evergreen trees are not intended for indoor growing. But in a warmer climate, or if you have a cooler area to keep the tree (like an enclosed porch), it might be a good option. It also means much smaller trees, unfortunately.

  • BellaAvila

    BellaAvila said 6 years ago

    Due to current allergies and past pets I have had a fake tree for the past decade. I bought mine used at a lovely older woman's yard sale & it cost me a mere $8. She told me they had that same tree for over 30 years. It is the perfect size for me in my small home. Also my vintage blown glass ornaments and lights that I expect to die each year (they are also 30+ years old) look quite fab on my tree!

  • RisaRocksIt

    RisaRocksIt said 6 years ago

    I am allergic to pine sap as well, so it's either an artificial tree or no tree for me. Plus, real trees are a huge fire hazard. Many holiday tragedies could have been avoided if a fake tree were used instead of a real tree. Also, who says a fake tree has to end up in a landfill? The whole idea is that it will last for years as long as you take care of it. And even when it's no longer usable as a tree, Lots of things could be upcycled from the parts. Nothing against real trees, I'm just not buying the argument that one is any better or worse for the environment.

  • xZOUix

    xZOUix said 6 years ago

    <3 have a nice holidays you all :)

  • joann771

    joann771 said 6 years ago

    Fake trees do create jobs, but probably not in this country. I don't have any trees, but I can see where the real tree can be used for mulch easily and I have seen them used on Dune at the Jersey Shore to prevent erosion. I have purchased real trees in the past and planted them in my yard.

  • loulylou

    loulylou said 6 years ago

    For me this year, it's two tiny weeny spruce trees that I dug out of my flower beds, so I used the babies and put them in separate pots with the dirt, roots and all :) I have mature trees around the house that seed themselves everywhere. I usually go for the real tree. Being environmentally conscious myself, I always wondered which one was best for the environment. I heard on the radio once, as they were raising the same question, that you would have to keep your fake tree for something like 30 years I think to be environmentally friendly. Most people don't keep them that long.

  • allthingswhite

    allthingswhite said 6 years ago

    grew up with a real tree and love them. after I had my own home and children I realized that the real tree was what made them sick every holiday season- allergies! so we have one really nice fake and we have had it forever. miss the scent but not the needles.

  • BlackStar

    BlackStar said 6 years ago

    Never had a fake tree and never will.

  • phunkypuhnk

    phunkypuhnk said 6 years ago

    While growing up we always had a fresh, real tree. I loved the pine-y smell that always meant Christmas was here. When I was 18, my parents changed to an artificial tree and we have been using it ever since (10 years now). I don't like it and consider it partially responsible for my eroding Christmas spirit as an adult.

  • Buttonlicious

    Buttonlicious said 6 years ago

    Growing up, we had both real and fake. I got a real tree this year for myself, and I felt a little guilty that it might me an environmental detriment in some way. But I feel a little better learning about the Christmas tree industry, and the numbers of jobs it provides as well as the number of trees that are constantly in rotation for a future season. Merry Christmas!

  • dkjewels

    dkjewels said 6 years ago

    real tree always

  • feltonthefly

    feltonthefly said 6 years ago

    I think there's a greater chance of catastrophic fire with a real tree. But gathering 'round the ole fake tree just doesn't have the same appeal.

  • Jeenkies

    Jeenkies said 6 years ago

    I use a Ficus tree :)

  • EdensEndeavors

    EdensEndeavors said 6 years ago

    I think it is also important to remember that without a market for real Christmas trees, many less trees would be planted to begin with. Before the trees are harvested, they spend several years growing, which also benefits the environment.

  • mzplum

    mzplum said 6 years ago

    i love real trees but feel a bit bad about the waste. We have a fake tree, but it's a handmade feather tree, small scale and traditional. The first artificial trees were made of goose feathers! To get that awesome xmas scent going, i purchased some pure pine oil which i mull over a candle in water, and sometimes we burn that old style fir incense in a little log cabin incense burner. I am really happy with the little feather tree,. It's darling, reusable, and eco-friendly.

  • mzplum

    mzplum said 6 years ago

    ps, I know a guy in Tennessee who farms xmas trees responsibly and organically providing a very cool choice.

  • RJGOriginals

    RJGOriginals said 6 years ago

    So I take it everyone is all peachy keen about the pesticides and chemicals sprayed all over those perfect pine trees to make them look like the ideal Christmas trees? Because planting trees is only a great thing if a ton of chemicals aren't dumped on them for aesthetic reasons.

  • UnusualEwe

    UnusualEwe said 6 years ago

    I'd love to see a revival of the old feather trees. I have an antique one just the right size for the mantle, but it's a tad hard to decorate with today's giant baubles. Because of pets, fire hazards, and allergen risks we don't have any real trees for indoors at the Ewe house. Instead we string up some un-seasoned popcorn and local berries into garlands, then hang "bird cookie" ornaments in the evergreens planted nearby. (Why hang fake doves when you can just lure in real ones to decorate your tree?) The neighborhood children really love picking the edible berries and creating a peanut-buttery mess too, which makes it a special event for the whole community. Mr. Ewe would also like to add that Charlie Brown style trees made from a fallen pine bough and a giant macrame bead you steal from your wife are "Where it's at" for eco/wallet friendly cubicle trees.

  • minouette

    minouette said 6 years ago

    I love real trees! There wouldn't be as many trees planted (and happily absorbing CO2 all year) if it weren't for the Christmas market. Here in Toronto, the City picks up disposed trees post-Christmas, seperate from trash or compost. The trees are shredded and made into compost. Strikes me as a pretty green option!

  • kmbutterfly

    kmbutterfly said 6 years ago

    I do love real trees, but I'm allergic to pine! My parents have had the same artificial one for most of my life, and I think that's turned out to be a pretty good option. It seems to me that it's a matter of how you handle the artificial tree--do you keep it for the long-term, or trash it within a few years? and perhaps someone can answer a question--I know PVCs aren't biodegradable, but can they be recycled?

  • beautyisintheiphotos

    beautyisintheiphotos said 6 years ago

    I live in North Carolina (ranks #2 behind Oregon for Christmas tree production). Your blog raises some important considerations. Check out this link for a list of comparisons between fake vs. real: http://ncchristmastrees.com/RealvsArtificialTrees.pdf. Thank you again, for using my "New tree smell" photo for this blog. It means the world to me!!!

  • TigerVintage

    TigerVintage said 6 years ago

    I always do real, and this article has alleviated my guilt over it. Yay for more jobs!

  • That70sShoppe

    That70sShoppe said 6 years ago

    We have a fake tree and have for many years after realizing the real ones bothered household members' allergies. We'd still probably have a real tree each year if it weren't for that.

  • dragonhouseofyuen

    dragonhouseofyuen said 6 years ago

    goodness! those are interesting facts, they tree harvest here in Scotland too. An interesting fact is that pine plantations are literally devoid of wildlife as they lack the undergrowth plants and other trees, so they don;t really support natural ecosystems anyway (unlike forests that contain some pines) but I do prefer fake - and my tree won't be going to land fill any time soon. And, er, before it does go to landfill you can be sure that most of it will end up in my etsy shop for sale as goodness-knows-what :)

  • Sloanester

    Sloanester said 6 years ago

    Interesting article. We always have gotten a real tree from a tree farm and still do. I like supporting the farmers and its mulched up at the park at the end of our street and used there. I never realized so many people had artificial trees too. Either way, enjoy the festivities of the season!

  • ToosDetectiveAgency

    ToosDetectiveAgency said 6 years ago

    I'm super Grinchy around the holidays, but my boyf and I made what I think is a sweet compromise. He gets to decorate the rubber tree that lives in the dining room year-round! No transport, no off-gassing, no extra vacuuming! He gets to get all his holiday spirit out, and I don't have any extra junk in my house!

  • JennasRedRhino

    JennasRedRhino said 6 years ago

    I grew up in rural Alaska and the trees in this region are hardly the kind you imagine for Christmas. They are small, scraggly, grey and smell like cat pee. We usually would cut two trees down, drill holes in the trunk of the prettiest, and add branches from the other to fill in the gaps.

  • silversamba

    silversamba said 6 years ago

    This year we are keeping it real and supporting Ontario tree farmers

  • jnzllwgr

    jnzllwgr said 6 years ago

    real trees. always. in fact, when growing up there were a couple years we even bought balled trees and planted them in the yard in early spring. as an architect, i love the crisp modernist forms of a silver artificial tree, but I know how bad they are in terms of overall impact on the environment, from the toxicity of production (not to mention energy consumption), to off-gassing in one's home to poor biodegrading and, eventual pollution. so if you buy an artificial tree, be sure to keep it like the author, for as LONG as possible....pass it along to subsequent generations! remember, vintage trees are hip as well! (sidenote: i'm a friend of the photographer who's image accompanies this piece)

  • CorinneLynae

    CorinneLynae said 6 years ago

    My family has ALWAYS had a real tree and I don't think it would be Christmas w/out one. You don't get that awesome smell, or the prickles, or the job of keeping it watered with a fake one. Besides, most people decorate the tree the first year and then they don't do it ever again. That has always been a tradition for us. Yep, it will be a real tree for our family, then my future family...

  • Jesseapril

    Jesseapril said 6 years ago

    I have always wondered about this issue. We have had the same fake tree for about 7 years now.I guess we will keep it as long as possible and then try to find some way to use it for something.Maybe we could make wreaths and such from the branches to keep it out of the landfill!

  • missantique

    missantique said 6 years ago

    I find strange that it seems to be only two options: fake tree or real tree. As someone pointed, a live tree is a very valid option. Actually the tree tradition comes from nordic pagan traditions and they would decorate a live tree in the outside. I prefer seing a tradition reinvented than distorced, so probably a paper tree makes more sense for me than a real tree throwed out after christmas. I never went with "employed numbers" reasons for doing something, there are so many industries that offer job to millions of people and that are not the best for world. Although I love the smell of a live tree at home, we always had them in my child christmas, I now find strange to cut out a young tree for some days amusement. (I'm sorry for any language mistake, English is still under improvement)

  • Zalavintage

    Zalavintage said 6 years ago

    We always have a real tree and we love it. Everyone goes to search for the perfect one, decorate, and enjoy. This year taking a step back from the shopping madness, commercialization of the holiday which began around Halloween, we decided to skip the lines and January woes when AmEx comes in and buy one great gift per family member, we just pulled out the old Lionel train set and will enjoy rather than alot of presents under the tree, a time to regroup and restore, spend the 25th watching old family movies . BTW, In NYC, the sanitation dept provides shredders throughout the city that turn the trees into ground cover which is later distributed throughout Central Park. Most cities and towns should be able to do this too, completing the cycle.

  • leslieholz

    leslieholz said 6 years ago

    Years ago butter was the enemy - an artery clogging, evil fat destined to destroy mankind. Guess what? Turns out REAL is pretty much always the better option. Surprise, surprise, surprise. Thanks for bringing us to our senses about trees.

  • Iammie

    Iammie said 6 years ago

    I think fake is better for long time saving...both trees and money. :)

  • Reclusing

    Reclusing said 6 years ago

    Every year growing up my family made our tree out of different (mostly found) materials. Everything from a teepee structure you could sit in, to a big dead branch we hauled in from outside, to a candelabra shaped like a tree. I've kept up this tradition after a few rebellious years of fake treeing it in my early twenties. I love the challenge of coming up with something new every year.

  • amandaxmurder

    amandaxmurder said 6 years ago

    I'm a fake tree person myself. I grew up having one and just couldn't imagine dealing with the hassles of using a real tree. Now that I'm on my own, I have a fake tree - a vintage aluminum tree complete with color wheel. I guess you could say it's kinda 'green' in some ways. I'm re-using a tree that may have been destined for a land fill and theoretically the aluminum could be recycled.

  • SilverSkipper

    SilverSkipper said 6 years ago

    Recently my family switched to getting a deciduous tree, due to allergy problems. We do not cut down a live tree, but pick up a fallen poplar or other small tree. While it may seem bare, once covered in tinsel and garlands, it is a very cool alternative to a messy fir or wasteful fake.

  • ErikawithaK

    ErikawithaK said 6 years ago

    I prefer a real tree. I've always had one and don't want to bring something in my house that isn't as special and will off-gas and poison me. Those trees are planted to be harvested for this purpose and it keeps that land from being developed. Even a pesticide laden tree farm is better than a housing development full of fake trees.

  • marieowltoinette

    marieowltoinette said 6 years ago

    I've known for years that it was more eco-friendly to have a real tree, but it's always seemed SO bizarre to me! Regardless of how odd it feels to be better for the environment to CUT DOWN a tree, we've done it almost every year since I can remember!

  • BanglewoodSupplies

    BanglewoodSupplies said 6 years ago

    I don't think I have actively bought or decorated a Christmas tree since 1995. I always think about it at the last minute and I know the "clean up" is what keeps me from buying them. Great story though. I love the historical element.

  • justbuyin

    justbuyin said 6 years ago

    We buy real trees in support of tree farms and keeping thousands of acres of land from development. Oh, and we don't throw them out right after the holiday. We put it up outside where we smear the branches with peanut butter and cover that with bird seed. The brids love it! They practically live in the thing until spring.

  • justbuyin

    justbuyin said 6 years ago

    And also, in the past few years, I've taken to picking out the not so perfect trees. They may be ugly on the lot, but they are lovely when we get done with them.

  • terribleterrier

    terribleterrier said 6 years ago

    my husband and I created our own tradition of going to the local cemetery's compost/brush pile to find an interesting christmas "Branch". Every year our tree is a different size, color -- one year there were berries on the branch, one year we found a nice white birch. This year, the branch is very large and full and it's branches are "wind swept" in one direction. The branch gets bolted to a wooden base and we use lights on brown wire. The ornaments are small animals of all kinds and birds' nests. It is always beautiful (we think), free, nothing was cut down, no plastics used, no water needed and it's easy to compost afterwards.

  • rivahside

    rivahside said 6 years ago

    We have a silver tree from the 1950's that's still going strong. I love a real tree, but too many allergies make my whole family feel sick for the holidays.

  • KaiceJoy

    KaiceJoy said 6 years ago

    One thing from my childhood Christmas is the hunt for a real Christmas tree! It was an adventure to pick out the perfect family tree: with my parents and four other siblings! A tradition I am passing to my four kids....so we have a real tree this year, too!

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 6 years ago

    Interesting history!

  • JewelsbyJasmin

    JewelsbyJasmin said 6 years ago

    My family had always had a real tree growing up and, while I miss the smell and the special trip out to get our tree, I don't miss the extra messes or the fire hazard. My husband and I have had the same fake tree for the past 10 years now and will continue to use it well into the future as it is a good, solid tree. I find that less wasteful than throwing it out and buying a new real tree every year.

  • worksofwhimsy

    worksofwhimsy said 6 years ago

    Here in central Oregon, you can buy a permit for $5 and cut down your own tree in the forest. There are limits on size and location (must be a certain distance from a road, must be near other trees). It helps thin the dense forest, is a great deal and a great family outing to boot! They may not look as perfect as a lot tree, but they have a certain charm. I haven't paid more than $5 for a holiday tree in over 10 years.

  • TheGraveyardGirls

    TheGraveyardGirls said 6 years ago

    I'm allergic to pine... So, no real tree for me :(

  • jenAitchison

    jenAitchison said 6 years ago

    We always have a real tree. I am so inspired by nature in my artwork and activities every day and I LOVE that I get to bring a real tree into my house every year. Best part of christmas for me.

  • OhMyLuckyStar

    OhMyLuckyStar said 6 years ago

    “They only harvest about 10%, or 30 million, a year.” - Ummm... so in 10 years there will be how many 'Christmas' trees left?? The article says almost nothing about replanting trees or if it's eco-friendly either way, real or fake. Just that the fake ones don't biodegrade. Here are some Christmas-y tree factoids for all you out there: ""Fake Christmas trees can also often contain lead. Healthy Child Healthy World says that as fake Christmas trees age, they release lead dust." --Go 'made in china' -- ugh. "Plastic does not decompose, so once you are done with your fake tree, it just sits there in and landfill indefinitely. They are generally not recyclable, either.." -- Umm, buy recyclable, then!! "As for real Christmas trees, a concern is that they might be grown with pesticides." "Christmas tree farms are also set up for the sole purpose of growing Christmas trees, so you will not be depleting a forest by purchasing one." You can find local organic Christmas trees by looking up farms using your zip code at Local Harvest. "You can make the most of your real Christmas tree, too: - Buy the type you can replant. - Turn the Christmas tree into mulch. - Compost! If you are an apartment dweller and can't compost it yourself, inquire about your municipality's composting options. - Still can't figure out what to do with your Christmas tree after the holidays? Look up where to dispose of your Christmas tree on Earth911.com. "" Thanks so much to keenforgreen.com for the lovely facts!!

  • AprilMarieMai

    AprilMarieMai said 6 years ago

    there's really no need for either. pretty much everyone is capable of making their own decorations instead. i'll be making some little plush trees soon, as i'd like to have some sort of tree decoration, but there's no way i want to get a plastic one or buy a real one. i'll make it with little scraps of fabric, and share a tutorial on my blog. i understand the desire for tradition. i grew up in a house that always had a real tree, and which now has a fake one. i just don't think we need to consumerize it so much that we make ourselves feel a need to buy one or the other. if we can't make our own decorations, or don't have time, we can always buy from handmade sellers who make great stuff. or just get a few things that are enough to give a home the solstice spirit. i'm not against decorating for celebration time, i'm just advocating doing it thoughtfully, and not being drawn into the retail hype.

  • BergmansBear

    BergmansBear said 6 years ago Featured

    I can't possibly read all these comments so maybe someone has already said this, but what we do in my house is collect fallen branches from deciduous trees (oak, maple, etc), tie them together and stand then upright in a basket of yarn balls (my knitting stash!). This way we have a free tree every year and avoid the real vs. fake choice. Of course it is a very non-traditional tree, but we love it.

  • BergmansBear

    BergmansBear said 6 years ago

    ps. Ah, I see that some other folks did mention that, too! Cool.

  • mamwell24

    mamwell24 said 6 years ago

    interesting topic, I've been thinking hard about what would be the most eco friendly christmas how about planting one in your garden that you could use every year. i think this is what i'll do when i get my own house, yes it wouldn't be inside but i love being different and odd :P ooohhh plus you'd be adding a tree to the world instead of taking one happy christmas planet earth x x x x ps. love BergmansBear idea for a tree!

  • VintageWorkshopInc

    VintageWorkshopInc said 6 years ago

    I live on a Christmas tree farm, so it's a real tree for me! Plus we toss the tree into the large pond after the holidays to provide the fish with an enhanced hiding habitat!

  • EcoStone

    EcoStone said 6 years ago

    We have a potted Northfolk Island Pine and so far it has been our christmas tree for three years! It grows slow and stays green all year. It's a bit floppy and decorations don't sit on it as they would on a real one, but we are glad to know that we don't create additional holiday waste year after year. I would recommend this option to all.

  • faeryfloss

    faeryfloss said 6 years ago

    Or, the most environmentally friendly option of all - no tree! :D

  • StudioWoolwork

    StudioWoolwork said 6 years ago

    No tree is cheerless, a real tree for me! My four cats feel the same way though...I take the many vacuuming for granted.

  • BayMoonDesign

    BayMoonDesign said 6 years ago

    I have gone from a real tree as a child to artificial as a teen. My children all had the joy of going to a tree farm and picking out the Christmas tree. I encourage all parents to make that a family tradition. Now that the children are grow, we are back to the artificial tree which is easy for us. I have had it all!

  • LavenderField

    LavenderField said 6 years ago

    As a kid we always had real trees, but now we have a fake one

  • pouch

    pouch said 6 years ago

    we always had a real tree when we were children, it was an annual ritual going to dig up the tree...now we have an artificial one and have been using the same one for about 8 years, I don't really like cutting down a lovely tree just to bring it indoors for two/three weeks, I'd rather see trees in their natural habitat - I'm sticking with artificial for now!!

  • SecondSpringSoaps

    SecondSpringSoaps said 6 years ago

    Sometimes I wish I could have a real tree... My parents bought real trees for my first two christmases, and by my birthday (jan 2), I would be hospitalized with pneumonia! Turns out, I'm allergic!! In fact, my sister bought a real tree for her first christmas in her new apartment, and I was in the room less than 5 minutes before I started sneezing! :o(

  • speedykeys88

    speedykeys88 said 6 years ago

    I'm in the same boat as a few folks above... I'm leaving to visit family for two weeks just before Christmas and won't be around to water a cut or living tree (nor do I have anywhere to plant a living tree), but I don't want a PVC-containing, probably-lead-contaminated fake either! Where, oh where, is the perfect solution? I'm not handy/crafty enough to make my own artsy tree...

  • ninafuentes

    ninafuentes said 6 years ago

    I always have had a real tree and always will, don't get me wrong I am all about protecting our forest, but these are farm trees and once used will go back into the soil and help more vegetation, not only that I know that my decision isn't causing horrible working and health conditions to someone in China just for the sake of buying something that lasts (forever). All the chemicals they use for making our beloved fake Christmas trees are dumped into the ocean and many other factors that take place in the manufacturing of this product worsen the environment.

  • ArgyleSt

    ArgyleSt said 6 years ago

    I'll always go for the real tree -- just love the scent that fills the room (as long as you keep it watered!) Also like that I'm supporting a local job and that it's biodegradable. (I confess I'm assuming that fake trees are made overseas these days...?)

  • theothermagdalene

    theothermagdalene said 6 years ago

    We have had the same fake tree since before I was born, primarily because my dad and I are allergic to the real stuff.

  • Slowshirts

    Slowshirts said 6 years ago

    "A professional study on the life cycle assessment of both real & fake Christmas trees revealed that one must use their artificial tree at least 20 years to leave an environmental footprint as small as the natural Christmas tree" -Wiki

  • littlegoodall

    littlegoodall said 6 years ago Featured

    Real or fake, I feel moderation is key. Where I live in Texas, people have fake trees in multiple rooms of their 4000+ square foot homes, and miles of plastic garland to go with it. They replace it all every year or so for the newest version from Hobby Lobby. The rejects frequently end up in the landfill. If everyone used their fake tree for 20 years, the big box stores wouldn't sell them by the millions each holiday.

  • WeThreeTrees

    WeThreeTrees said 6 years ago

    I have never had a real tree. I don't mind getting the old fake tree out every year- it still excites me and I LOVE Christmas time. My husband is super great about changing lights and figuring out how to fix them if they blow out. I think I'll stick with my fake tree. I always thought it seemed crazy to go cut down a tree that will only be in your house for 1 month, and then throw it out.. Kinda seems like a waste.

  • godsrockangel

    godsrockangel said 6 years ago

    I've only had a real tree one year and I really didn't like it. It malted within days of us purchasing it - I kept getting needles stuck in my socks or would find them in my slippers (I have boot ones like Uggs) and generally didn't really like it. I'm sorry to say but for now I'll stick with my fake tree

  • squarehare

    squarehare said 6 years ago

    we have a Real Holly tree in a pot which we brought 12 years ago and have been growing and training into shape since. We bring it in every year for the whole of christmass and take it back into the garden to enjoy the rest of the year, being in a pot it doesnt grow to big just enougth to reach the roof, its a native tree to britain and doesnt shed. plus i get berries every year, perfect

  • TrilliumsTreasures

    TrilliumsTreasures said 6 years ago

    real tree, although I don't get one every year.

  • PurpleToedGypsy

    PurpleToedGypsy said 6 years ago

    i switched to artificial 20 years ago, when it became apparent that my husband was likely NEVER to be home when it was Christmas tree time. I have loved my tree, my children have learned to assemble it, and it is part of the tradition. We don't even put up the whole thing, we leave the back side off the bottom, so we can fit it in the corner...and no one ever notices! Unfortunately, even artificial trees begin losing their needles eventually. I think they are both good, but for me, the artificial one is the way to go. Thanks for the great story!

  • SimplyCutebyKarin

    SimplyCutebyKarin said 6 years ago

    When I was a kid we always got a live tree and planted it after Christmas. It was wonderful, as our trees never died and we got to see them grow. Of course, my father used to play a somber O' Tannenbaum on the piano as we undecorated the tree and removed it from the house. He would laugh and we (my five siblings and I) would fake cry. Those were the days. Such fun.

  • LeftontheBeach

    LeftontheBeach said 6 years ago

    I love real trees but hate dealing with a stand, so I go fake but if someone ever figures out how to stabalize a nice real tree in a neat stand I will go back! Happy Holidays....love getting a little history too!

  • ellemoss

    ellemoss said 6 years ago

    We have had a real tree for 12 years, but when my parents were going to toss out their fake one, we took it and are using it for the first time this year. Its very convenient, but I really miss having a real tree. Nothing beats how a real tree looks, smells or feels!

  • jpcountrymarket

    jpcountrymarket said 6 years ago

    I have done all the above. Up until 3 years ago I always put up 7 trees. Two 9ft live trees, 2 potted pines (which later planted) and the rest artifical. Now that I'm retired - last year 1 artificial, 2 potted, 1 live. This year 1 artificial - it's h-ll gettin old. BUT next year may be a dilemma, a friend just sent me a scripture from Jeremiah 10:1-5 basically says "the Lord saith donot cut down trees and bring them into your house and put gold and silver to adorn them, for this is the way of the heathen" I am a believer, therefore this kind of puts a crimp in my decorating skills, of which I am excellent at. Would there be a bible scholar out there reading this to give me his/her interpretation?? I will evenually take it up with my own pastor - but also wanted to get your thoughts. Thanks

  • minoumatou

    minoumatou said 6 years ago

    PVC off-gases from the time it's produced and never stops. I try my best to keep it out of our house! We get the real thing.

  • amusebeads

    amusebeads said 6 years ago

    Real tree here. I grew up on a tree farm, and have several family members that are still supported by the Christmas tree industry, either as farmers or as lot managers at Christmas time.

  • TinyBitsyQuilter

    TinyBitsyQuilter said 6 years ago

    i lived in cuba, having a tree of any kind for xmas is a new concept or has been since i moved to the us in the 90's. this year we decided for a real tree, i will use for the birds in the summer until nature claims it. my small daughter loves our tree and i admit, there is nothing like it. my fake tree is in the closet, maybe someday it will come out again. someone posted something about moderation in a previous post, yes i agree, moderation is important and so is enjoying life's small and magical moments, at least while our little ones are small. i love that our tree is not perfect, just like us!

  • FairyLynne

    FairyLynne said 6 years ago

    My tree is a 7' vintage aluminum tree I bought online several years ago. It's perfect for me because I love sparkly things. I also love real trees, in their natural habitat.

  • JCFdesign

    JCFdesign said 6 years ago

    Real trees or live trees, please. One of my favorite memories from our family was when my Dad brought home a potted magnolia that we decorated then planted in the yard after the holiday. Oh yeah and most of the Christmas trees are planted for the sole purpose of being cut down and sold. If we stop buying them farmers would have to stop planting them!

  • littlegoatsoaps

    littlegoatsoaps said 6 years ago

    I'd love to have a real tree!! But we're never home for Christmas, so that would be dumb... :( We do have a fake one, but I didn't even put it up this year...seeing as how we're leaving in 3 days. (Sigh)

  • tjohn4772

    tjohn4772 said 6 years ago

    Thanks for sharing! It's interesting because I am always advising people to treat social discussion like a good dinner party---have fun and be yourself but always be respective of others and listen as much or more than you talk. :) Hollywood Flooring Plantation Flooring Flooring West palm beach FL Flooring Palm Beach

  • IrishGypsies

    IrishGypsies said 6 years ago

    I love a real tree but it isn't always in the budget. So this year since my husband isn't all that into Christmas I made our tree out of branches tied together. It's a very chic non-traditional looking tree and I don't have to water it or clean up the pine needles afterward!

  • BizzieLizzie

    BizzieLizzie said 6 years ago

    We tossed our artificial tree last year and have a real one this year! Nothing beats a real tree for me! I grew up with them and am glad to bring the outside indoors for a few weeks! Great article!

  • TreehuggerStonewear

    TreehuggerStonewear said 6 years ago

    Since we invariably are away for the holidays, we put up only a tabletop tree made of tiny green seed beads that was purchased MANY years ago from Hobby Lobby (originally for an office decoration). It has lots of tiny twinkling lights and itty bitty ornaments, most of which I made myself. Easy to put up already decorated, just insert two AAA batteries, and voila--Christmas in less than 5 minutes.!

  • imorhunova

    imorhunova said 6 years ago

    I like to save the trees. It takes for a tree such long time to grow just to have it cut and last inside of ones house for only a week. I definitely go with artificial tree, plus its such a good way to keep family Xmas tree tradition going by having the same tree from year to year.....def artificial...

  • midsummermuse

    midsummermuse said 6 years ago

    My family used to get real trees growing up and we switched to the same artificial tree for the past 5 or 6 years I think. Last year my Dad actually bought a pre-decorated Christmas tree from a local Church thrift shop and paid for it to be delivered. He also re-donated it after Christmas! I think that was a case of my parents being exhausted and they didn't want to drag out the fake tree and set it up themselves since all us kids had moved out finally and weren't there to help. This is my second holiday season in my apartment, and I made a tree out of recycled paper and cardboard with recycled paper ornaments stapled on that hangs flat on the wall. It's cute, and we're using it again this year. I have two cats and don't want to deal with them and any tree as well. ^_^ Interesting discussion here!

  • cozystudio

    cozystudio said 6 years ago

    single no kids i have a new fake tree. its pre lit its green. its safe its easy i use good smelling christmas oils from sellers here on etsy to make it smell like a live tree and i bake alot to make the place feel like holiday time. it this world ido believe its just the fact to have the tree the ooh the ahh the lights the bells the stars and the peaceful beauty ...i have no gifts to place under my tree but i love to look at it everyday feels like christmas right now :). all my ornaments are vintage and handmade. some of the handmade are so simple and lovely, its the little things make christmas , i love finding new old ornaments. scored my fave today 25c for a 1960s windmill ♥

  • KBPaperCreations

    KBPaperCreations said 6 years ago

    we have a fake tree that fits perfectly in our space and we got it from my parents. previously we had a much smaller fake tree that is still going strong but at only 4' high was just too short as a main tree. Either myself of my parents will be using it in the future for a secondary likely basement tree. I think defiantly that real trees are the greener option and would love to have one. I am allergic to trees and break out in hives if they prick me at all but I would still have a real one for the smell and the beauty. I love the way the branches are separate on some varieties and how much nicer ornaments look on them. However my husband has terrible asthma and if he goes into a house with a real tree the scent is overwhelming to him and he has an attack. As such I just dont see real becoming an option unless they make great medical leaps in the field of asthma treatment.

  • TheMetalGardener

    TheMetalGardener said 6 years ago

    I do worry a bit about the off-gassing but my bf's mom had an extra tree in the attic so we are saving one from ending up in a landfill. I love the smell of pine and the yule tradition of bringing in trees into the house so I do a little trimming of my coniferous trees and the holly tree and make wreaths, swags and other decorative things. I also have a live norfolk pine that is potted that I decorate each year and we got a few blue spruces that we are not planting until we cut down a dangerous tree, so they are potted and outside. All the trimmings get put in the compost pile or put in the car as an air freshener :)

  • eightyfeettall

    eightyfeettall said 6 years ago

    Regarding the "living tree" question mentioned above, I LOVE IT and my family has done this in the past; I now encourage others. My family has a background of mixed Native American and Euro-ancestry, and the argument between buying a plastic or real tree was a contentious one for years due to a few factors: our house being a bit small, and also our overall distaste for plastics AND for killing trees (whether from a tree farm or the woods) just to hang a pile of baubles from them. When we had a plastic tree, we reused it until the tree broke. After the broken tree incident, my mom talked about loving the "real tree smell" the following year, so I and my sibling asked our parents to get a living tree and plant it in the front yard instead. Many people on our street decorated, and decorating a living tree outside of the house made perfect sense to us. Now, some 20 years later, when I go back to my dad's house, I still have that tree to enjoy. These days I and my spouse live in a condo, and we've taken to helping friends plant trees at their houses when possible, and we have poinsettias (which are beautiful plants year-round with a little love) and lights in ours. Either way, we stay festive and help our friends and family do the same!

  • honeystreasures

    honeystreasures said 6 years ago

    Fake tree, been using the same one for years and years. I bought some USA made lights, higher cost, better quality, and tied them on my tree permanently. So, all I do is plug it in and decorate. Although, I must confess, I haven't put my tree up yet and not sure if I'm going to do it this year. I have a few fake small trees that are very woodland looking and am thinking I'm going to do something with those to get into the Christmas spirit.

  • metalicious

    metalicious said 6 years ago

    We go with a real tree, some years we cut our own from a farm in my hometown. Other years we buy one from the sidewalk-tree-guy. Real or fake, Christmas trees always bring me peace during this hectic season. Thanks for writing such a great, informative and thought-provoking article!

  • euitha

    euitha said 6 years ago

    Well, in my house, we use both! An artifical tree with silver and gold ornaments in the formal living room/entertainment area, and a real one with the crazy and colorful ornaments that have been collected and made over the years in the family room

  • Flickrtastic

    Flickrtastic said 6 years ago

    I have LOTS of Christmas trees all over the house (even though it's only 1,000 sq. ft.)... all from the 40's-60's. Full-size and tabletop size tinsel trees, bottle brush ones on the mantle, several "Crystal Pines" on the side table, a little feather tree in the dining room, some glass ones in the kitchen (can you tell I love Christmas?). I get broken or cut off branches (for free!) at the local tree lot and make my own garland and wreaths, just so I have some of that wonderful pine-y smell. Once the holidays are over, I either use the branches as mulch for my garden, or put them in the yard clippings recycling bin. Then carefully pack away all my vintage trees for next year... I've had them for years and they haven't let me down yet. Do a quick Etsy search for vintage Christmas trees, and you'll find a plethora of styles to choose from. For me, much better than cutting down a tree, even if it is specifically grown for the purpose.

  • strongasesther

    strongasesther said 6 years ago

    I'm from Kansas and one year my family gathered up all the tumble weeds in our yard and made them into a Christmas tree shape and spray-painted it silver. It was HUGE and so cool but such a hassle and a mess that we never did it again. Now we buy real Christmas trees. It's more meaningful because my brother, sister, and I all get to pick one out together.

  • CherishedHearts

    CherishedHearts said 6 years ago

    I would love to have a real tree. I miss the smell and feel of a real tree. When growing up, my brothers would head off into the woods behind our old farm house, find a tree, chop it down, then lug it all the way home. It was never perfectly shaped, colored, or filled out, but it was our tree. Times were rough, money was scarce, winters were cold and harsh, but we always had a beautiful tree. gertie www.theoldblockhouse.com

  • artgarment

    artgarment said 6 years ago

    REAL!!!! Always real! We have real tree on Christmas and New Year every year. When I was a child and live with my parents, they bring Christmas tree for us every year. Scent of tree and tangerines, up your mood! I brought this tradition to United States, to my new home. :) Happy Holidays!!!

  • Saroja

    Saroja said 6 years ago

    While most families have heirlooms in the form of great-great-grandma's spoon collection, my family's heirloom has been a tree. It's an indoor, potted, 40 year old ficus tree that was originally my grandmother's, left to my mom, who then gave it to me when I moved into my first home. Every year in December, we decorate the tree with lights and ornaments and it becomes our Christmas tree. It may not your traditional pine but there's certainly no waste and it's comforting to know that for 40 years, the women of my family have pruned, watered, and cared for this beautiful plant. Can't beat that!

  • snotbooger

    snotbooger said 6 years ago

    no problem ..im agreeing with furiousdreams,, and artgarment real trees dont hurt the environment .. and planting your christmas tree is fun, ..f someone wants a imitation tree i just hope they get a good one that stores easy and pieces together easy and is sturdy and last many year. that makes things easy for people who don't wanna haul in a 60 lb tree and sweep up. i agree with everyone. ya'll should check out my hardwood stuff that comes from real trees . it is art, furniture, vintage, permanent, a toy, a woodcraft a household must. oh yea- my mom(judith) gets credit for the carving of the heads and feet and direction in getting the shape right at critical points

  • NadiaTony77

    NadiaTony77 said 6 years ago

    We've had Real Tree when I was growing up, MY Dad bought this Ornament that had this Bird Whistling and every Christmas we hung it on our Tree. That Ornament was our Family Tradition to have it hung on the Tree. Till this day I have my ornament but have it as my Collectable.Wish I was still a kid again to have my Dad in my Life. But know I my own Family to create our new Traditions and that's having my kids creating there own Christmas Ornaments that I've saved over the years to hang on our Fake Tree :)

  • JewelMeShop

    JewelMeShop said 6 years ago

    My tree is made of dead branches . My house is by the sea and every summer I collect many kinds of shells. This year I thought I'd use it as ornaments for my alternative Christmas tree. When lightning the Chiristmas tree in the evening, I gaze at the shimmering shells and feel so happy!

  • exoticperu

    exoticperu said 6 years ago

    Hey guys I just made my first Treasury List!!!, it's called : "I'll be home for Christmas" tell me what do you think!!! and Merry Christmas!!! have a Merry Christmas!!! :) http://www.etsy.com/treasury/ODIyNDU5MXwxNTQ2NTgyOTE3/ill-be-home-for-christmas?index=0

  • ReGEARED

    ReGEARED said 6 years ago

    ReGEARED introduces the bike rim tree- taking rims out of the landfill to create trees, untraditional spin on traditional http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=203864826366216&set=a.107397672679599.15861.107397096012990&type=3&theater

  • ordnery

    ordnery said 6 years ago

    It's counter intuitive to cut a tree down no matter what the reason. It feels so selfish to take the life of a living thing for us to enjoy it in our living room for a few short weeks before dumping it lifeless to the curb for the trash mans pick up. It's organic though. If you compost the tree you can feel good that it's not taking up space in a landfill. You are feeding the life that is breading beneath the surface of the soil. You're supporting family run farms across America. You can also take comfort in knowing that another tree WILL be planted in it's place...maybe even two trees. These tree farms not only provide jobs along with the jobs provided by the tree lots selling them, but they are woven into the fabric of our domestic economy. A real Christmas tree isn't coming out of a factory overseas. Made in America? We as a community of people making things by hand and supporting the craft should be able to respect the authentic nature of real tree cut by a real person on a real farm in our own country. Nothing man made about it! You wont catch me dead with a plastic tree in my house. :)

  • Popogirl

    Popogirl said 6 years ago

    Our first Xmas tree at this house (in 1993) was a real one from the Farmers/Artists Market in downtown Ann Arbor, where I (then) sold my animal theme jewelry. We kept it on the porch and decorated it with lights. We had a cut tree for inside, too, that year. Our crazy roomie at the time had a hoard of homemade ornaments that she'd made as a kid and they were truly terrible! At the time (before I started buying ornaments from my fellow etsians) we only had a small amount of ornaments. We planted the tree as soon as Xmas was over (the ground was still soft, as winter proper was only a 5 days old and the ground doesn't really freeze 'for real' here until January) and now it's as tall as our house!

  • 2Maries

    2Maries said 6 years ago

    We used to have a really great real looking fake tree that my aunt handed down to us. But we sold it prematurely when we thought we were going to move away. We usually purchase a real tree...this year...I was inspired by something I saw online & copied it. A BOOK tree. Basically a tall stack of books in the shape of a Christmas tree. My kids & the Mr. love it. A friend was then inspired to create a 'media' tree using old vhs tapes, dvds, & cds--all in their cases. She received a gazillion compliments on it. Looks fab & solves the age old dilemma, saves $$$ all in one & uses what we already have!

  • paisleychicken

    paisleychicken said 6 years ago

    I bought a real LIVE Scottish pine. I LOVE real trees. Christmas is my favorite holiday! I have always had a cut tree. If i could have my hearts desire i would have my house built around a huge, beautiful Christmas tree. Maybe a tree house, even.

  • modstitches

    modstitches said 6 years ago

    We've always had a real tree until the last 2 years. Because of allergies we had to stop. Hopefully we will have this tree for many years to come. I miss the real tree smell, but I do feel more eco-friendly by reusing the fake. Saves a lot of money too.

  • modstitches

    modstitches said 6 years ago

    @jpcountrymarket. I'm no Bible scholar, but in the English Standard Version, the Jeremiah 10:1-5 is referring to people cutting down trees and carving them to make idols, and decorating them with silver and gold. I think more of something like totem poles. Verse 5 says "they cannot speak; they cannot be carried because they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them: they can cause you no harm and do you no good."

  • kellygallo69

    kellygallo69 said 6 years ago

    I want to learn how to make these great glass pendants can some one tell me How to get started?? Please?? I am an artist..But I don't know the first thing about this...I LOVE GLASS IT'S AN OBSESSION WITH ME!!!

  • WoollyWoodlanders

    WoollyWoodlanders said 6 years ago

    We always have a real tree, picked up just a mile from home from a local small farm, another crop giving them a mid-winter bonus. The council shreds them to use as a mulch and I know that no trace of my tree will be found in landfill in a thousand years time. We decorate it with family heirloom decorations, paper bells made from paper-mache egg cartons at long-ago school and even plastic aeroplanes brought home from WW2 by my father in 1945 (you can see one, a Spitfire, in Father Christmas's sack in my avatar!)

  • foxpots

    foxpots said 6 years ago

    I love the fragrance of a real evergreen. We used to purchase a balled & burlaped tree each year and plant it in the yard when the ground thawed. They are heavy to move, though, and now we have the conveninece tree - pre-lit, goes up in 3 sections. It's beautiful, but just doesn't have the same impact as the real thing.

  • BirdlegsPhotography

    BirdlegsPhotography said 6 years ago

    REAL, REAL, REAL!

  • vintagenurse

    vintagenurse said 6 years ago

    I go with fake. More for convenience and safety. I am deathly afraid that I will forget to water a real tree or do it wrong or something and end up burning the house down. Also, the needles that come off the real ones. Ugh! So much easier not having to deal with that. Also, I'm not that fond of the scent of pine.

  • sylviatrench

    sylviatrench said 6 years ago

    i found some conifer branches this year and arranged them with some winterberries in a large vase next to the fireplace. i was displaced from my home by a flood in september so its kind of an un-traditional christmas this year...im used to decorating a huge live tree but it was not possible in my rented place, so i went to a local church and helped them assemble their 9-ft artificial christmas trees for the altar. it was fun and helped get me into the spirit!!

  • sillylittlesheep

    sillylittlesheep said 6 years ago

    We have an artificial one at my parents place and this is the first year that I have a little one in the room that I rent for myself - artificial as well. However, I want to have a real one when I get my own big place. I heard that the process in which the PVC tree is made produces a lot of carbon dioxide - while the real trees use it up during their lifetime - which means that even if you burn it in the end, it is still more ecological than buying a single artificial one. And even better - you can have a different tree every single year!! Isnt that fun??? :)

  • gentlystitched

    gentlystitched said 5 years ago

    Real tree for us...always. We always had real trees growing up, sometimes cedars that we cut ourselves. One year our income was so bad, that mother cut down some kind of dried bush and that was our "tree"...I still remember that one more than the others....and it made me love my mother that much more for trying to keep her family happy at a beautiful time of the year. We were poor, but I didn't know it...so, real trees for us....always. :)

  • EstateBuyer

    EstateBuyer said 5 years ago

    Strongly disagree. Growing up in Maine, with a lot of Christmas Tree farms. Most of the cut trees are shipped out of state to major cities. All to often hearing about the horror stories of disposal thereafter. Retired and moved to Pensacola, FL - driving down the road today, I must of counted 2 dozen trees thrown to the roadside, just adding to the already roadside trash and landfill problems. Hence, since I was a young adult, I bought a "fake" tree, and have the same tree going on 40 years. Keep good care of it, it lasts. Also a major positive - All metal framing which can be recycled with the rest of the metal at the landfill or recycler for $ in my pocket.

  • greenboat

    greenboat said 5 years ago

    After my first 20-year treeless marriage (though I had a little potted Norfolk pine which I sometimes half-heartedly decorated) to a man who hated Christmas, I had a real one every year for ten years - ventured out to the tree farm with my dad and brother, had a fine time, and the house smelled so good. As a former communications specialist for Cooperative Extension, I was aware of the business aspects and of how hard tree farmers work. And as an artist I also found a great deal of pleasure in putting on Christmas music and whole-heartedly decorating my tree! The first year my second husband and I were together, we were so busy that we didn't get a tree until late Christmas Eve... when I managed to find a pre-lit 7 ft. artificial tree on half price at a nearby drugstore. It's 6 years old, now, easy to set up, and quite pretty. I hang a real pine wreath in the same room with the tree, so we have a bit of the pine scent. I do miss the smell, the variability, and the presence of a real tree. But it's ours. He loves it. It's fine. So far, so are the lights.

  • dreamaginarius

    dreamaginarius said 5 years ago

    I have to say I am very surprised, pleasantly.. I am very glad I came across your article. I been feeling a bit guilty all this years thinking 'someone just cut a tree for me somewhere', although, also someone told me they planted them exclusively for the season.. but did not pay much attention to that. Now, I can see the whole background and will happily buy my Christmas tree every holiday season knowing I am sustaining a good business. Plus, like I mentioned in my blog.. we can always compost the branches and even do crafting with them! Thank you so much Chappell for this valuable information!

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