Decorating is one of the most fun parts of getting ready for the holidays in my opinion. The way things look different at this time if year is part of the magic of Christmas. Of course, the focal point in Christmas decorating is often the tree, and real vs artificial Christmas trees is the great debate. Here are some comparisons for real vs artificial Christmas trees from the National Christmas Tree Association with regard to their differing impacts on our environment and climate change.
-typically grown in your own country, maybe even your own city
-grown on farms which support our ecosystems
-made from 100% biodegradable plant tissue
-PVC and lead free
-carbon neutral because trees absorb carbon dioxide
-are a renewable resource as new trees are planted every year
-afterward can be “recycled” through decomposing which also adds nutrients back into the earth
-majority come from China
-made in factories where raw materials are used, natural resources are consumed, and requires long distance transportation
-made of non-biodegradable plastics and metals
-contain PVC and lead
-not carbon neutral particularly because plastic is a petroleum byproduct
-not a renewable resource because of the use of petroleum and metals
-afterward end up in landfills and will not decompose
Real trees are the clear winners here in terms of eco-friendliness. There are other aspects to consider as well though, so I know real isn’t always the easiest choice for some families, lifestyles, or situations. I’ve experienced this myself.
I have struggled with the Christmas tree decision each year since moving out on my own with Brad. We’ve tried different options and some years not even had any tree at all. Honestly, I’m still looking for the Christmas tree solution that will be right for me. Here’s what we’ve tried so far.
1st Christmas – An artificial tree. This was before I got interested in the environment and ethical consumerism or knew anything about their impact.
2nd Christmas – A potted cypress tree. We had intended to keep it year round and decorate it annually for every following Christmas. Unfortunately, our ceiling forced air heat and low light from living in a basement suite killed it shortly after the holidays.
3rd Christmas – Nothing. We were traveling out of province to see family over the holidays and thus forwent any tree at all.
4th Christmas – A small potted ficus. We lightly decorated the indoor plant that we received as a gift that prior fall.
5th Christmas – Nothing. We moved into a different home on December 15th which did not leave a lot of time for decorating.
This Christmas – Undecided. We live in an apartment, so we’re not sure if we’re allowed a real tree to begin with or if it’s worth the hassle bringing it up and down from the top floor.
I’d love to hear your traditions or suggestions!
Do you have a real or artificial Christmas tree or some other alternative?