Thursday, December 18, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree...


Just like other controversial topics, the debate on real vs fake Christmas trees is no different. I have read many articles in favor of both real Christmas trees and fake trees. But I can’t help but wonder why the pendulum is swinging so extremely.

A few of years ago, if not a bit longer, the trend was in favor of purchasing fake trees to save the billions of live ones from being harvested and then discarded like yesterday’s trash. We were told that we were killing forests, and natural habitats, and that our desire for a Christmas tree was destructive and selfish. Pleas to the consumer to make this transition from real to fake were targeted right at our “emotional jugulars.” So, a large percentage of consumers listened (although they had many other reasons for purchasing, such as the convenience of never having to string lights on a tree again) resulting in the popularity of the fake tree.

Now, we are being persuaded to go out and once again buy those wonderful smelling once live trees. We are told that buying a real tree is “eco friendly” and better for the environment. That these fake trees are bad - constructed from harmful PVCs (which is what a lot of our plastic bottles are made from, but we still drink from them!), made in harmful factory conditions in China, and only ultimately end up in our land fills - never to be recycled or decomposed. Again our “emotional jugulars” are being attached with the fear that we are breaking toxic air, or our houses will burn down from our fake trees catching fire.


For me, I have always been in favor of real Christmas Trees. Not for the reasons of whether or not it was better for the environment, but for the traditions that came with picking out a purchasing a real tree, for the bonding that took place when the entire family went out in search of it, for the smells that filled my house once that tree entered. Those are my reasons for why I had always chose real vs fake. But recently, I inherited a fake tree and decided to put it up this year. It wasn’t so bad, it’s still a beautiful tree decorating my home with the Christmas spirit. Which poses this question to me: What would these tree advocates have me do? They tell us continuously that real is better and that fake is toxic and only goes into the land fills. So, do I continue to use this fake tree I have acquired, contaminating my air and raising the potential for fire (which I don’t quite believe...) in my home? Or do I throw it away before it’s use is spent, putting it in a landfill somewhere - to go back to purchasing real trees? These advocates have caused quite the dilemma for us consumers - we are doomed if we do, and doomed if we don’t.

3 comments:

Kristen said...

That's why I didn't put on up this year. Or at least I'll be telling people that now! I did although happen to spring for some LED Christmas lights for outside. Hopefully they will cut down on my electricity bill from last Christmas!

Leanne said...

I love this blog, and believe there are many valid points as to why both trees may be bad. However, and this might be selfish, but I will always pick a really tree over a fake tree. I just love them more, not just the tree, but like you, its the whole experience that goes with picking the tree out and decorating it as a family. That is just something I feel can't be replaced.

Araceli said...

I have got my Christmas tree for this year from Hammacher Schlemmer... & it's beautiful.