Thursday, December 2, 2010

Why We Got A Real Christmas Tree

I want to share why we get real Christmas trees with ya'll because at the least, I do think it's a decision that requires some thought.  Of course, it's a personal decision and there are ok reasons to get a fake one (like a pine allergy, e.g.).

1.  My Health: I have an extreme dust allergy and a weak respiratory system.  So much so that when I was in college, the (admittedly less than competent) doctor I was seeing sent me to be tested for lymphoma (yup. cancer!).  When in college, I noticed that unpacking our decorations made me quite ill.  Now that I have my own place, I combat that with air-tight storage containers and ABSOLUTELY NO GARLAND.  Garland is basically a duster that glitters and I have never figured out a way to hang or store it that dust wasn't an issue.  And, what is an artificial tree, but an enormous piece of garland?

2. Tradition: It's true.  Real trees have always been tradition in my family, and they smell great :)

3. PVC: Fake trees are made of PVC, which is notoriously difficult/impossible to recycle and can sometimes contain lead.  Thats a concern to me cuz pretty much anything below waist height is at risk of being chewed on in my house.  PVC is also made from Fossil Fuels.  I'm not ready to freak out about anything made or that runs on fossil fuels, I would pretty much have to go back to a time before plastic at the very least.  BUT, I feel that this is one plastic item that is easily avoided.  

4. INTAKE OF FOSSIL FUELS: Not only is PVC made from them, but most trees travel from China on it, if not just elsewhere in our rather large country.  Our real tree came from closer to our house than any grocery store or gas station.  Hows that for less fuel?

5. RENEWABLE RESOURCE: If you get a live tree, like with the roots still attached, you have never wasted the oxygen-producing beauty that is a tree.  Cut trees almost exclusively come from Christmas Tree Farms and rest assured, for every tree that is cut, another will be planted.  It is to the benefit of the farmer, in addition to the environment, for them to do so.  

6. RECYCLABILITY: Unlike PVC trees, which are almost impossible to recycle, there are lots of ways to recycle real trees.  You can have them chipped and either used for landscaping or compost them.  You can also burn them.  I know that doesn't sound good but burning natural things (like wood) is as carbon-neutral as decomposition, but it's a lot quicker when it comes to a whole tree.

7. SUPPORT LOCAL FARMERS & ECONOMY:  I would venture to say that everyone in this country who lives where pine trees naturally grow lives within an hour of a Christmas Tree Farm.  We are fortunate enough to have 3 in less than 10 minutes (the joys of living in the country).  If you don't know where your local farms are, you can use internet tree finders like the Christmas Tree Network, which is a national finder.  There are also more state or region specific ones, which probably have more smaller listings.  

Also, for anyone out there who is concerned about the "fire hazard" that a real tree might be, I have a couple tips:

1.  Cut the tree yourself & take it straight home & put it in water.  It will stay much fresher for much longer.  
2.  Cut a disc off the end of the trunk right before you put it in the water.  
3.  Put a couple of spoonfuls of sugar in the water.  
4.  Use low-heat lights & use your common sense: only have them on when you're home.  
5.  If you're still worried, get a Fire Alarm ornament.  You hang it high on the tree (because smoke rises) and should your tree begin to smoke in anyway (or a casserole if it's too close to the kitchen) it will emit the same deafening chirp as the alarms on your wall.  Remember to check it's battery every year!



  1. That ornament is such a cool idea. Tim's grandfather has another neat ornament that I'd never heard of before--it's a metal snowflake that is touch sensitive (like the lamps that you touch to turn on). You plug it into your string of Christmas lights, and whala! It's like magic--you just have to tap it and the whole tree lights up. It's keeping me quite amused of late evenings. :-)

  2. My parents have a bell whose "mallet" is a button that turns the light on