My significant other, Paul, and I debate every year on if we should get a fake tree (pre-lit = super easy!) or a real tree (more traditional and the pine scent is divine). I am pro-real tree and Paul is pro-fake tree. It should come as no surprise that my family has done real trees with the required hour or so of untangling lights and his usually has a fake, pre-lit tree.
So let the moving in together and creating our new life together begin! We are trying to create our own holiday traditions by combining our favorite childhood memories. This has included going to the Christmas Carol at the Cleveland Play House, meat cookies, and singing along to the N’SYNC Christmas CD.We also debate/war on if we should have white or colored lights every year…every. single. year.
So what type of tree should we get? The debate happens year after year. We have acquired the lights, ornaments, etc but no tree! Paul pointed out that artificial trees are obviously better for the environment because 1. you only buy one (if you buy a quality fake) and 2. we do not have to cut down a forest every year just for Santa Claus’ visit.
Option 3 – No tree! We have gone this long without one and have felt merry and bright during the holidays so why start now?
During my research, I found a few Christmas tree associations that are pro-artificial trees and pro-natural trees.
The American Christmas Tree Association refers to a study that demonstrated how artificial trees have a smaller carbon footprint if used for 10 years or more. This means that you need to invest in a quality tree from the start and decided if you are committing to be a colored lights or white lights family (after Christmas clearance sales anyone?). Amazon has a zillion different types of trees include palm, the Charlie Brown tree, and white. Can you really commit to a white Christmas tree for TEN OR MORE years? I cannot. I can barely commit to a light color.
I also found an article from the National Christmas Tree Association that includes a table demonstrating how natural trees are best because they create oxygen, support ecosystems, etc. The article does not contain enough facts to support NCTA’s claim of eco-chic trees but they do try. If you do get a real tree, make sure that you recycle it! Your holiday spirit today can become tomorrow’s mulch, habitats for lake creatures, and compost – yay!
THEN, I found my most favorite article from MSNBC. A Christmas tree farmer in Portland, Oregon (Note: This is exactly why I started this blog, so that NEO become just as eco-chic as Portland!) rents Christmas trees in pots every year. He digs up, plants, delivers, picks up, and repeats every year. This has become a tradition for many families in Portland. A few quotes explained that these families could not bear the thought of killing a tree just for decoration, etc. Their quotes really hit home to me and are making me lean more toward option #3.
The Christmas tree decision is a personal decision for each family to make to best celebrate their holiday season. Picking the type of tree seems just as difficult as nailing down the best time to put up the tree! The day after Thanksgiving means that you have many weeks of enjoyment…but what if your family always put up the tree on Christmas Eve? We always enjoyed our tree well into February…weird, I know.
If you buy a fake tree, INVEST in quality! Your carbon foot print will be smaller and so will your frustration with ugly gaps between branches, needle breakage, etc. in the long run. Just make sure you know how to replace any broken blogs!
If you go for a natural tree, consider a potted tree or tree with roots! This is the absolute best way to go au natural with your holiday spirit but trickier in places like NEO. I did not find a local resource for potted trees but make sure to ask your local tree supplier to buy trees with roots! And then plant it to up the level of green in your yard. NOTE: one of the articles did state that driving to a farm to cut down your own tree leaves the largest carbon footprint out of all three options due to the fuel fossil used in transportation back and forth. Who knew that your car full of hot chocolate, kiddos singing carols, and happy memories made such a dent in the environment?
I am leaning more and more towards skipping a tree AGAIN this year…We can use our decorations on our plants and be creative with our decorating. This would also save both types of green!
Pictures to follow, of course!
Update: Fox 8 Cleveland just did a little blurb about living Christmas trees!! They did not mention anywhere in Ohio but my fingers are crossed that living trees will make an appearance next year!