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Real or Fake Christmas Trees: Which is Better?

The debate rages on in some families; shall we get a real tree or a fake one? Here are some facts and pros and cons to help you make your decision! In 2002, 21% of United States households had a real tree, 48% had an artificial tree and 32% had no tree.  After reading through these facts.. have a chuckle at this Christmas tree made of empty Mountain Dew cans and coat hangers.  

For a comparison of environmental impacts of real vs. artificial tress, see this page onm EHSO.com.

Real Christmas Trees Christmas trees, Carbon emissions and the Carbon cycle

  • Have a great scent - they smell like Christmas
  • There is no comparison between buying a fake tree in Wal-Mart vs. taking your kids to a real tree farm, having a hayride to the field, chooing a tree that is growing and having it cut and tied to you car for you while you have some hot chocolate or apple cider!
  • Safety - Real Christmas trees are involved in less than one-tenth of one percent of residential fires and only when ignited by some external ignition sources.
  • Are environmentally friendly - Growing Christmas trees provides a habitat for wildlife.
  • The roughly 350 million christmas trees currently growing on commercial tree farms are busy sucking up carbon from the atmosphere! See the graphic at right.
  • Recycled trees have been used to make sand and soil erosion barriers and been placed in ponds for fish shelter.
  • Christmas trees remove dust and pollen from the air.
  • Artificial trees will last for six years in your home, but for centuries in a landfill.
  • 59 percent of real Christmas trees harvested are recycled in community programs. Most trash companies now recycle or chip the trees to make compost.
  • An acre of Christmas trees provides for the daily oxygen requirements of 18 people.

Artificial Christmas Trees

  • Artificial trees can be easy to assemble (but many are not) and don't require water.
  • Artificial trees often come prelit, so you don't need to add lights or take them down after Christmas.
  • On the other hand, once the lights fail (and we all know some will fail within 1 or 2 seasons), they are still stuck to the tree (you can't remove them) and you'll have to buy more lights and add them on top of the dead ones.
  • Almost 10 Million fake trees were sold worldwide in 2003. The U.S. Commerce Dept. tracks the Import of Fake Trees
  • Most fake (artificial) trees (85%) in the U.S. are imported from China; buying a fake tree is almost certainly making the national debt worse and sending your dollars to China.
  • CBS Sunday morning had a story about live vs. artificial Christmas trees on Sunday December 10, 2006. You can see more about real vs. fake trees and trees made in China on the NCTA website here .

Economically, environmentally, and emotional.. .there is no doubt; a REAL tree is Christmas; A fake tree is China;


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Christmas tree glossary