Sunday, November 27, 2011

Oh. Christmas Tree

I have read several articles stating that a real Christmas tree is "greener" or more environmentally friendly than an artificial tree. Here is an easy to read chart from the National Christmas Tree Association.  Here and here are a few articles on the Real vs Fake debate. There are numerous facts out there about fake trees being horrible for the environment. Much of the information comes from Christmas Tree cultivators, but I'd have to agree with them, most of the time.

 Daddy, Jenn Jenn & Kristy 1984

Sure if you purchase a fake tree and toss it on the curb every six years because a more spectacular piece of China crap is on the market then the real tree wins, bar none. But compare an heirloom artificial tree with a tree that has been mega mono-cultured with added pesticides, fertilizers and traveled across the country, then you may have a different story. Not to even mention the price of a new tree every year.

Recently we wandered into the Goodwill Christmas store in our town. A huge space dedicated to all things reusable Christmas. There were tons of artificial trees lined up ready to go to a good home. I thought, just like all things 'disposable' there is no reason an artificial tree needs to be such an impact to the environment.

 Nana & Grampy 1975

I promised my Husband years ago, as I pulled my artificial tree out of the box, that we would get a real tree the year that we weren't zig zagging across the South East during the holidays. I admit, I never have had a real tree and this year I thought it would be nice to grant his wishes. To my surprise he replied "I like your tree, it's a family heirloom." and it is. The tree I put up every year was my Nana and Grampy's tree, then our family tree, I took it when I moved out and have been putting it up in my home for the past 12 years. This small tree is 35+ years old, each branch was color coded by my mom with nail polish in the early 80's, has tissue paper stuffed in connector pieces, has been attached to the ceiling with fishing line numerous times to keep from leaning and is always up on a coffee table to look more grandiose then it really is. I love my tree. 

 Christmas morning 2009

I am sure you can "go green" whether you decide to go real or artificial.

Here are a few things to consider.

Real tree
  • Find out where the tree has come from.
  • Try to find a local variety.
  • Buy organic or close to it.
  • Purchase a tree in a pot and plant it at the end of the season
  • When disposing a real tree compost it or be sure it gets picked up with yard debris and not in the landfill. 
  • Don't put tinsel or spray fake snow that could keep it from being composted properly. 

Fake Tree
  • Find one that has been used.
  • Made in America. This will greatly decrease the chances for contamination with lead or other toxins, preserve much-needed domestic manufacturing jobs and reduce shipping.
  • When disposing, do not throw it on the curb. 
  • Take it to a charity. 
  • Repurpose it. Salvage branches and refashion them into napkin rings, candle rings, wreaths, swags or other decorations for walls, doors etc.
  • Reuse it! Keep it in the family for an extended period of time.

So, is your tree "green"? What kind of tree is your family's favorite? Real or Artificial?

Happy Tannenbauming

1 comment:

  1. Good ideas! Last year my hubby and I (well, he and his friends) cut the top off of a huge pine tree from the woods. It was hysterical!