Real Christmas Trees
Americans purchase more live Christmas trees annually than artificial ones, according to statista.com’s early November report that tracked sales of both from 2004 through 2019. Yet, the gulf between the two camps has narrowed since 2004, when 27.1 million real trees were sold versus 9 million fake trees. In 2018, the numbers were 32.8 million real to 23.6 million fake.
Protestant reformer Martin Luther is credited with starting the real Christmas tree tradition; in 1536 — as the story has been passed down — he set up a candle-lit fir tree in his house for Christmas to remind his children of the starry heavens and of Christ.
Artificial, also referred to as fake or faux, Christmas trees emerged in the early 1900s. Quality has improved from the dyed-green toilet-bowl-brush-bristles versions to increasingly realistic trees made of various materials closely resembling Douglas and Frasier firs and other popular Christmas tree varieties.
However, there are pros and cons to purchasing both real, fresh-cut Christmas trees and manufactured reusable trees. Some considerations include:
‒ Which is more environmentally friendly? The Nature Conservancy votes real for these reasons: Most faux trees are made in and shipped from China or other countries, which increases their carbon footprint; artificial trees are not recyclable; and real trees support forest growth because only a small number are cut down for sale, while others are left to grow and new trees are planted.
‒ Which appeals more to the senses? Real Simple last December stated the “bouquet of seasonal scents” is the reason why many people prefer live trees over fake ones.
‒ Which is more economical? Real Simple also pointed out that purchasing real trees supports U.S. tree growers, many of whom are generational family businesses. While an artificial tree might cost twice as much as a real tree, it can be used for many Christmases.
‒ Which is safer? Moneycrashers.com reminded how real trees inside of homes can be fire safety hazards, and some people are allergic to them. But faux trees may contain especially harmful chemicals.