As the month of December creeps in, the excitement of Christmas is laden in the air. It’s the centrepiece of the biggest holiday of the year for every American and British family. The Christmas tree is the focal point for parties, presents, lights for decoration, and memories to cherish.
Some enjoy the essence of a real tree and the tradition of bringing it home, while others opt for the easier options of artificial plastic trees. Hence one of the biggest questions posed is whether to buy real or artificial Christmas trees. Realistic Artificial Christmas trees are now found in every nook and cranny, which can brighten up every household.
Both natural and artificial Christmas trees have their own set of benefits and drawbacks. The following are some key factors behind choosing either one of them:
Helping to deal with climate change
Real Christmas trees are the ones that help to support climate change. Even if the forests are being cut down, it causes less harm than realistic artificial ones.
In the U.S. almost 10 million fake Christmas trees are used up every season. Nearly 90% of those are shipped from China, resulting in a massive rise in carbon emission and resources. Also, because of the materials they are made of, they cannot be recycled and cause local landfills.
Real trees do not produce the intensive carbon emission that is required for making and shipping realistic artificial Christmas trees. Out of 350-500 million trees growing, only 30 million are harvested for making Christmas trees. Also, once used, they can be harvested the second time, making them recyclable and waste-free.
Impact on the environment
The best way to conserve forests is to use them but carefully. When our forests are sustainably managed, they produce resources like Christmas trees and other wood-based products. Innovative forest management methods are crucial to fighting climate change.
More than 30% of carbon emissions are cut down with the restoration of forests. With every tree sold, foresters plant at least 30 saplings in their place for new harvests.
Buying real Christmas trees often help local small businesses to grow, especially the seasonal ones. While realistic artificial Christmas trees come from large chain stores, buying from local vendors helps the local business to thrive.
Contrary to popular belief, real trees are often cheaper than realistic artificial ones due to a few factors. The price generally depends on the location, buyer and also the type of tree. According to research, the average cost of real trees is $78 (£60 UK) while the average price of artificial trees is $104 (£80 UK)
One significant advantage of artificial trees is the fact that they can be used year after year. At an extra cost of $30, one can use this one-time investment for at least 3-4 years without buying new trees every year. Our artificial Christmas tree served us well for over 13 years. The year it broke we chose a real Christmas Tree for a change.
Realistic Artificial Christmas trees definitely require less maintenance and are less messy compared to real ones. Real trees pose the hassle of watering, trimming, sweeping, and worrying about the tree’s optimum freshness.
Most of the fake trees are fire resistant making sure that one can put on string lights without any worries. Although it does not pose much of a problem, many would prefer to be on the safer side.
Artificial trees are always easier to customize since one cannot always find the exact tree they are looking for in a forest. One can buy artificial trees decked with pine cones, pre-lit, or laden with artificial snow.
Side-effects and health concerns
Real Christmas trees possess mould spores, which are often the source of allergic reactions in some people. Some of the reactions which are often seen in humans include sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, sinus congestion, shortness of breath, and an itchy nose.
Manufacturers take the help of the likes of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, aluminium and steel for making artificial trees. PVC is fire-resistant but can contain especially harmful chemicals, like arsenic, lead, and phthalates, which are recognized endocrine disruptors. Lead is harmful to anyone but it is particularly harmful to small children who tend to put things in their mouths.
Both Realistic artificial Christmas trees and real Christmas trees have their pros and cons. In theory, artificial trees are less costly than the real ones over time, but they have severe effects on the environment as opposed to the greener alternative. In the end, it boils down to the fact of which tree is better suited for the particular household after measuring the costs, environmental effects and all the other factors, such as how early you plan to put your tree up this year. Coronavirus has made us Christmas crazy and I’ve seen Christmas decorations up already this year.
Therefore, we need to keep in mind the above factors before splashing out on Christmas trees to decorate our houses and enjoy the festivities.
What do you prefer, an artificial or a real tree?