Jury still out on real Christmas trees?


That’s what this Washington Post article tells us, citing Treehugger as a source.  Even the owner of D.C.’s Eco-Green Living store is named as an advocate of the fake ones.  Hey, I know that guy – I’ll send him Jade’s guest post and try to bring him around.  Meanwhile, what do you folks think of the article?


  1. I haven’t read through the whole Post article yet, but I do think this is a “paper or plastic” bag thing? Where “neither” is the best answer, but maybe not the most realistic one. So we greenies throw ourselves into fits trying to calculate just which is better for the planet. I can see that having a good fake for a decade or more might truly be lighter on our environment than cutting down 10 living trees would even if 2 more are planted in their stead.
    What I never hear mention of is the gallons of water desparately lavished on the once live trees to keep them green indoors for a few weeks (plus the chemcical sprays often applied post-cut to keep the needles sealed) – is that ever figured in the earth-friendly calculation costs?
    I’ve done it all — from fake to fresh cut to representational art version to living potted one to none at all — still exploring what is the best eco-option for my household.

  2. The trackback didn’t work, so I’ll leave a comment.

    For our family, living in the Rocky Mountains, the actual getting of the tree is still the most important part of the tradition.

  3. The trackback didn’t work, so I’ll leave a comment.

    For our family, living in the Rocky Mountains, the actual getting of the tree is still the most important part of the tradition.

  4. I went through a period when it felt a bit hypocritical to plant trees with my Girl Scouts on Arbor Day then cut a tree for Christmas. It was boring. I had to hang other boughs for traditional fragrance. Yuk. I finally came to the realization that trees grown for Christmas consumption are a crop, like flowers and pumpkins. They are grown for the purpose of decorating. I am supporting our local tree farmers and I’m good with that.

  5. I think this is a non-issue in the larger scheme of things. I’m sure the SUV manufacturers and the coal barons and the oil barons would love us all to spend our time wringing out hands over Christmas trees instead of focusing on changing the stuff that would have the most impact.

    That said, I like cut trees and I haven’t anything that would convince me to go with an artificial tree or puny living tree that would look like hell in my high-ceilinged house AND planted in my garden. But if those options work for others, fine.

  6. Trying to “Buy American” is a frustrating, if not impossible, exercise. While everything UNDER the tree comes from China, at least the tree can be local. The experience of going to the tree farm with your family can’t be outsourced to China. Can it?

  7. This year, I proposed sending the $100 plus we usually spend on a cut Christmas tree to an environmental organization instead. Starving polar bears in Alaska or something.

    That didn’t fly with the family. I’m as nostalgic as anyone about the whole Christmas tree ritual, but would like to try something a little different. I think we tend to get too wrapped up in tradition.

    For me, picking out the perfect Silvertip (just like my grandma did) and decorating it with my teenage son’s pre-school made ornaments (just like my mom did with mine) feels like the traditional thing to do, but our Christmas tradition has become as stressful… and wasteful… as it is warm and memory-filled.

    The season starts before Thanksgiving, there’s the whole gift thing, and in our household what was once a 5 or 6 foot tree is now something requiring an extension ladder to decorate. It’s nuts! It’s too much.

    I’m still hoping to scale down in some way. One less cookie on Santa’s plate, perhaps. Does he really need it? Have you seen his cholesterol report?

    Seriously, though, I’m going to push for a smaller cut tree. In northern California, our trees come from Oregon. I don’t want to penalize Oregon Christmas tree farms for global warming, so what can I do? I suppose if people stop buying fresh-cut trees, the Oregon tree farmers will have to diversify their crops. Maybe they’re already starting to do that.

    A biodegradable fake tree would be a good eco-option for people with allergies and asthma. I hear real trees are rough on them. Has anybody tapped this niche market yet?

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