Let’s get real: real trees are a better option for this Christmas season

Buying a real tree is greener and more festive than using a plastic tree


By Taylor Moss

Christmas trees have been a holiday tradition since the sixteenth century.

Taylor Moss, JAG photographer

Now that Thanksgiving is officially over, it’s time for many of us to string up our lights and hang our stockings. This also brings along one of the greatest Christmas traditions: the Christmas tree. Stores like Home Depot, Walmart and Target bring out their plastic trees before Thanksgiving is even a thought in people’s minds, but are these trees even worth it? Real Christmas trees are a better option for this holiday season because they are a more eco-friendly option that sustains tradition and creates family Christmas fun.

Holiday spirit is enhanced by spending time with your family, and picking out a Christmas tree can play a big part in that. Every year, my family and I go to pick out a Christmas tree. Whether we pick our tree out of a newly grown Christmas tree farm where the owners of the tree farm hand us a saw and say have fun, or we go to Home Depot where they have pre-cut trees to choose from, my family enjoys the quality time we get to spend together. I do agree that getting a fake plastic tree and reusing it every year does save a bit of time and effort, but the memories that can come from picking a tree together as a family will always be worth it.

Choosing a real tree this Christmas will not only have a positive impact on the environment but will also bring the much-desired Christmas spirit.”

— junior Taylor Moss

Choosing the tree is only the beginning of the fun. Everyone knows that the smell of Christmas trees can bring the memories of past Christmases, sitting around the tree and opening presents. Why go for the fake sprays or using a Christmas tree car freshener as an ornament when you can get the real deal? The genuine smell of a real Christmas tree can last much longer and is most likely better for your nose than an artificial tree spray made of chemicals mixed to try and recreate the familiar smell.

Now the biggest reason I wanted to bring up the topic of real versus fake Christmas trees is because of the eco-friendliness of each tree. Many families go out in search of an artificial tree because they believe it’s more eco-friendly to just reuse the same tree over and over instead of cutting down a real tree every year. This, however, is a fallacy.  According to the Michigan Michigan Christmas Tree Association, it could be considered green to use an artificial tree if it is decorated every year for at least twenty years, but many families dump their trees after six to ten years of use because the trees have become trashed and have served their purpose. These plastic trees are made of PVC (plastic vinyl chloride) which is hazardous to the environment, making them unrecyclable. 

It comes as a concern to many that cutting down Christmas trees is ruining our environment, but Christmas trees are grown for Christmas. They are also grown on Christmas tree farms, just as pumpkins are grown at a pumpkin patch. This allows the owners of the farm to replant and start fresh, leaving the trees in the wild to be home to the wildlife. Even after Christmas is over, these live trees can be recycled and used for things such as mulch, bird feeders, hiking paths, firewood and more by using tree recycling programs that many cities have put into place.

Do you have a real or artificial tree?

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In our ever-changing world, it’s always a smart idea to go green whenever possible. Choosing a real tree this Christmas will not only have a positive impact on the environment but will also bring the much-desired Christmas spirit. With Christmas drawing near, make sure to think over your Christmas tree options.

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