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Dec 3, 2011 BY Joy McCarthy

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree! What will you be? Plastic or Real.

—  found in  Well-being  —

Tis the season for holiday decorating, stocking stuffing and kissing under the mistletoe. Oh yes this IS my absolute fave time of year. And the great tree debate has been on my mind lately you know. So as I was waiting in line to pay for my groceries at Whole Foods last week, I passed the time by reading an article in Martha Stewart's Whole Living magazine on this very debate.

Author of the article, Mindy Pennybacker of Do One Green Thing talked about this very issue - to cut down a tree or to buy an artificial one? But before I get to that answer, my tree-history is this: Growing up as a kid and for years in my early adulthood I had a plastic tree. Until several years ago I decided to buy a real Christmas tree and then last year I actually cut down a tree with my very own hands. I must admit, it was a wonderful experience, but I felt slightly guilty taking something down that was growing so beautifully. The combo of the wonderful fresh scent of pine and the pretty lights were certainly very joyous though.

So after reading this snippit in Martha's mag and doing some research, I feel better about my decision. A study by Ellipsos, a Montreal firm that specializes in sustainability metrics, considered the following: greenhouse gases emitted in production, transportation, and disposal of each option (including the tree stand and water). And even though fake trees are used for about six years, they are often plastic and shipped from China - ummm, hello looooong carbon footprint. Then where do they end up after six years? In a landfill site my friends. So it's not surprising that my verdict is this:

Find an organic farm and recycle your real tree post-holiday.

And get this fact I found from Tiny Green Bubble: approximately 350,000 acres of land are used as Christmas tree plantations in the U.S. alone. That land is not only dedicated green land, it also provides a haven for birds, offering them protection from predators and weather and the ability to feed on insects in the trees.

Feel better about ch0pping down that tree now don't cha? I know I do.

Happy Holidays!

Joy

Dec 3, 2011 BY Joy McCarthy
11 Comments
Vivian   •   December 3, 2011

I was so hoping that a real tree would be the winner! There is nothing like the scent of a real tree in your house during Christmas (especially mixed with the yummy smell of a big pot of real Chai tea brewing all morning!). Something about a big plastic tree in a box didn't ever quite sit right with me. I feel much better about my trip to the tree farm tomorrow morning. Thanks Joy!

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   December 3, 2011

kerry surface   •   December 3, 2011

whew...... glad that was your conclusion!!!!! my family sells freshly cut Christmas trees. december is very hectic for us but the lots we have are so fun and festive, they smell good too! i love your site! lots of fabulous information!

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   December 3, 2011

Curly J   •   December 4, 2011

We picked up our "Noble" from the farm yesterday! It was my first time bringing home a real tree.. I don't think I can go back to fake!

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   December 4, 2011

Michelle Vogiatzis   •   December 7, 2011

Great post! It's always a debate for people. I have grown up with a real tree and have fond memories of chopping down our own, and then when we stopped doing that we would drive as a family to a tree lot and pick one up, strap it to the roof, and take it home to make it prettier. I have now carried on that same tradition with my own family. The kids get so excited! I have to admit though I was so close to buying an artificial one this year...you see I really really want a white tree! Walmart said they were "eco-friendly" but I'm not so sure. We will enjoy our real tree this year, but maybe I might give in next year...we'll see. Enjoy your tree! xo

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Kevin   •   December 10, 2011

Interestingly enough, being jack-of-all trades, I actually worked a tree lot :D Pine, Spruce or Balsam folks!!! Balsam have the green smooth trunk, and very soft needles ladies ;)

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   December 11, 2011

Kevin   •   December 12, 2011

Hey Joy, frasier fir are very close to balsam fir but you'll probably get a better looking tree. Balsam tend to be beautiful in colour and don't drop needles as much as pine and spruce but doesn't always have a well filled cone shape like your frasier, great choice!

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Joy McCarthy   •   December 12, 2011

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