(Sorry about the lateness of this post. Life has been happening to me lately. 🙂 Thanks for your patience.)
The debate of Real vs. Artificial Christmas Trees is one that can divide friends, families, even couples. I am a Real Tree girl myself. I cherish the memories of walking through rows of snow covered pine trees looking for the “perfect” tree with my parents and two younger sisters. When my youngest sister left for college 3 years ago, my parents bought a pre-lit artificial Christmas Tree. My sister still refuses to be at home when they put it up.
Now that I have my own family, my hubby and I have been traveling to a local Christmas tree farm to cut down our Christmas tree each year.
Real vs. Artificial
Like most arguments, you can find support for either side of this debate. On the one hand, an artificial tree is a one time purchase that you can use for years and years to come, and if you get a real tree you are cutting down a living tree in order to use it for a few weeks and then dispose of it.
However, I believe the Real Christmas Tree wins this argument hands down.
- Artificial trees are made mostly of PVC which is a petroleum product. The production of this type of plastic releases one of the most toxic chemicals, dioxin, into the environment.
- Although artificial trees could be purchased and used for 20 years or more, I read statistics that stated that most trees are discarded anywhere from 6-9 years after they are purchased. And guess what they do when they are no longer being used? Sit in a landfill without breaking down because they are made of PVC.
- Some artificial trees can contain levels of lead that are unsafe for young children to be around. Lead is used as a stabilizer for PVC and over years of use artificial trees can release lead dust which can land on the branches, on the floor, or on presents below the tree. (source)
- Artificial trees require resources both for production and for shipping them, and many artificial trees are made in China.
Real Christmas Trees benefit the environment while they are growing and they are also a renewable resource. The best way to get a live tree is to find a local tree farm. This eliminates the need for the trees to be shipped (except for you bringing it back to your house) and you can be assured that the tree you are cutting down will be replaced by a new tree being planted, the tree farm has to stay in business after all. Live Christmas Trees can also be recycled. Around 90% of Christmas Trees are turned into mulch each year. (source)
Go to the National Christmas Tree Association to find a Christmas Tree Farm near you!
Now as far as Christmas Decorations go, I am of the opinion that less is more. I think this is definitely an area that you can try to simplify this year. Use what you have. Try making homemade decorations. Use nature for decorating. If you must buy decorations, consider buying used. Check out your local thrift store. I was recently shopping at the St. Vincent DePaul thrift store and was impressed by the large section of Christmas decorations they had.
What kind of Christmas Tree will you be getting this year? What are your favorite frugal, nature inspired, or homemade Christmas decorations? (I need some inspiration!)
For more great frugal ideas check out Frugal Fridays at Life as Mom!