Imitation Nature

Charlie Brown can attest to the difficulty of choosing the perfect Christmas tree. For the entire month of December, it’s the centerpiece of your entire home’s décor: it has to be special. Rifling through tree after tree to find the perfect one that your entire family will love can be fairly tricky, but it can definitely be worth it.

Around the time that you’re picking out your Christmas tree, you’ll probably question: Should I get a real tree or a fake one? Paper or plastic? Should you pull out the dusty fake tree from the basement storage room or pick a fresh, natural tree from the tree farm?

It might seem like a fake tree would be the more economical option. After all, they look like real trees nowadays, but they last for years instead of the one-time use that real trees have. However, they, on average, really only last three years before the bristles start shedding which makes price comparisons basically moot.

With the “green movement” thoroughly flooding popular culture, one might question whether or not cutting down a real tree is really worth the damage it might do to the environment. Most trees, however, are taken from tree farms. They are specifically grown for the purpose of home decoration and no deforestation results from their harvest. A fake tree, on the other hand, is made up of a variety of plastics that, given their life expectancy of three years, quickly inundates our landfills with the non-biodegradable leftovers.

Artificial trees are frequently promoted as being thoroughly flame-retardant, especially compared to their woody counterparts. A test done by the fire department in Detroit uncovered that, while the fake tree did resist the flames for a short amount of time, the real tree faired far better and was left relatively untouched. The fake tree, upon ignition, began emitting toxic smoke containing poisonous gases.

Besides all of these fun facts, nothing can replace the piney scent that wafts through your home when you have a real Christmas tree. You can choose either the time-honored tradition of the fresh cut tree or take advantage of living Christmas trees that some places like Five Star Holiday Décor offer. The living trees can be planted on your property or donated to be planted in your local community. Either way it will provide special memories as you watch it grow. To be blunt, either of those options is infinitely more environmentally friendly than an imitation tree. With all of this in mind, nothing says Christmas like a Christmas tree.

The National Christmas Tree Organization has a good list of FAQ’s about the pros and cons of fake vs. real trees. Feel free to go to their website: