By Jacqui Flaherty, Program Manager
Celebrating the holiday season with a Real Christmas Tree is a long-standing tradition. Each year, 30 to 35 million American families celebrate the holiday season with a fresh, farm-grown Christmas Tree. Christmas Tree enthusiasts believe the aroma of a Real Christmas Tree is a strong reminder and symbol of life, family traditions and the innocence of childhood itself. A farm-grown Christmas Tree provides food for the soul, for many people!
For my family, the real versus artificial Christmas Tree debate seems to replay itself each year. “Should we get a real tree?” or “Should we just put up the artificial one?” — these are the questions we hear over and over at my house. But, as I do my research, it seems to me that the real Christmas Tree is the environmental choice!
For those of you artificial tree-lovers out there, why do you always put up the artificial tree? I know in my family, GUILT happens to be the reason my parents usually put up their artificial Christmas Tree. My mom feels guilty cutting down a new tree each year, however, this year, I may be able to persuade her into getting a real tree after doing some research and finding out that real trees are truly more sustainable and environmentally safe than the artificial option.
Things to consider when making your decision are:
- While they are growing, Real Christmas Trees support life by absorbing carbon dioxide and other gases and emitting fresh oxygen.
- Real Christmas Trees are grown on a farm, just like any other crop. Harvesting a Christmas Tree is no more damaging to the environment than harvesting vegetables!
- According to the Ohio Christmas Tree Association, for every real Christmas tree harvested, up to 3 seedlings are planted in it’s place the following spring. The seedling planting helps to ensure a healthy supply of Christmas Trees each year.
- The average family uses an artificial Christmas Tree for six to nine years before throwing it away, where it will remain in a landfill for centuries after disposal.
- Farm-grown trees are biodegradable which means they can be used or recycled for many other purposes.
- The polyvinyl chloride (PVC) used in most artificial trees has been boycotted by environmental and health groups.
- American Forests, a world leader in tree planting for environmental restoration, has publicly endorsed the commercial growing and use of farm-grown Christmas Trees.