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Real vs. Fake Christmas Trees: Pros and Cons

For most people, Christmas time is the time to get a Christmas tree. The question is not about whether they should get a tree or not, but what kind of tree they should get, real or fake. Here’s the stats and facts about real and fake Christmas trees.

Real Christmas Trees

In 2015, more than 25 million people in the United States purchased real Christmas trees. This number is about twice as big as the number of people who opted to buy a fake tree, which was about 12 million.

Currently, there are more than 300 million Christmas trees growing in the United States on Christmas tree farms. Such farms exist in all 50 states and in Canada. There is even an organization in the United States called the National Christmas Tree Association. The association represents more than 700 active Christmas tree farmers and about 30 local Christmas tree growing associations.

This means that if you choose to purchase a real Christmas tree, you will most likely buy a tree that has been grown locally, which reduces the cost of transportation and the impact on the environment.

Care for the environment is one of the biggest reasons why some people consider getting fake Christmas trees. However, y you should know that your locally-grown Christmas tree did not have to travel a long distance to get to you. Also, Christmas tree farms and the Christmas tree sales industry provides jobs to more than 100,000 people in the United States.

During their growth period, Christmas trees help keep the air clean and provide a habitat for wildlife. Contrary to what you may think, the Christmas tree industry is a very sustainable industry. For every tree that is cut down, farmers plant between 1 and 3 new trees in the spring.

One of the main differences between real and fake Christmas trees is that real trees make your home smell really good. For many people, the fresh scent of balsam fir and the view of a real Christmas tree in their home is one of the established Christmas traditions that they would never dare to alter. Every real Christmas tree is unique in its own way, which helps make every Christmas you spend with a real Christmas tree unforgettable.

There are more than 4,000 Christmas tree recycling programs in the United States, so the recycling impact of real Christmas trees on the environment is minimal.

The biggest disadvantage of real Christmas trees compared to fake trees is their cost. A real Christmas tree typically costs between $20 and $70. The price depends on the size of the tree. Some trees can cost as much as $200. Since you must buy a new tree every year, this is an expense that you can’t optimize or avoid.

The second disadvantage of real Christmas trees is that they require maintenance, while fake trees do not. You need to water your Christmas tree continuously. Otherwise, it starts dropping needles on the floor and turns your home into a mess.

Fake Christmas Trees

The two biggest advantages of fake Christmas trees are cost and convenience. You buy a tree once, and you can use it year after year without having to buy a new tree annually in the way you have to do it with real Christmas trees.

Artificial trees also do not require any maintenance. You store the tree in your attic, basement, or garage. You get it out at Christmas time, install it, and that’s it. You do not need to water it or clean the area around it.

Disadvantages of using fake Christmas trees are probably not what you often think about. Close to 90 percent of Christmas trees sold in the United States are made in China. This means that for a fake tree to sell in the United States, manufacturers and sellers need to transport the trees from China to the United States. The distance and negative impact on the environment are much bigger compared to the effect from real Christmas trees that are grown locally.

Also, many of the artificial Christmas trees are made of PVC plastic. Some researchers believe that this plastic may be a source of lead, especially if your artificial tree is old. This means that an artificial tree could be spreading lead inside your home. Furthermore, PVC plastics can start releasing toxic dioxins over time. These dioxins are harmful to both humans and animals. The human body stores them in fatty tissues, which can lead to the development of cancers, neurological issues, and many other health conditions.

PVC is non-degradable plastic, which means that if or when you throw your artificial tree away, it stays in a landfill forever. Typically, plastic tree fibers from fake Christmas trees are glued to the metal core of the tree, so you can’t recycle fake Christmas trees.

Now that you know about the differences between real and artificial Christmas trees, you can choose one for your home. Which it is going to be? Why?