Fake vs fir: What’s your holiday tree made of?

By Melissa Martin

Real or artificial Christmas tree decorated with lights, ornaments, and tinsel? Which is the right choice? It depends on switch side of the aluminum or wooden fence you are on. Ho-ho-holarious. What’s your ho-ho-holiday tree made of?

The overzealous environmentalists that sneak in, lay down, and block the path as you search at a tree farm shout, “Use artificial, you tree assassins!”

The manufacturers of fake trees and the retail store owners and managers shout, “Yes. Buy artificial trees and save the environment!” No falling pine needles. No worry of overwatering or underwatering. No hiding squirrels in the branches. No messy clean up.

The owners of Christmas tree farms shout, “American grown. Buy real and help small farms! Fill your home with natural fragrance.”

Bossy Lucy demands a fake tree. But, Charlie Brown selects the pathetic, but real tree over the commercialized alumni tree in the annual TV special.

“There’s no experience quite like cutting your own live Christmas tree out of your neighbor’s yard.”—Dan Florence

More than 95 million U.S. households celebrated the 2018 holiday season by displaying a Christmas tree, according to the eighth annual Christmas tree survey from the American Christmas Tree Association conducted by Nielsen. Shazam! Eighty-two percent of the Christmas trees displayed were artificial and eighteen percent were real trees.

The rest of the story…

A 2018 article in the New York Times by Karen Zraick reported on common misconceptions. It seems like cutting a real Fir on a farm has advantages. “A five- or six-foot tree takes just under a decade to grow, and once it’s cut down, the farmer will generally plant at least one in its place. The trees provide many benefits to the environment as they grow, cleaning the air and providing watersheds and habitats for wildlife. They grow best on rolling hills that are often unsuitable for other crops and, of course, they are biodegradable.”

Most of the artificial trees on the market are made of PVC and steel in China and shipped to the United States. So, how does that help the American economy? It funds the Chinese military.

Real Trees in White House

Every year a contest sponsored by the Association of American Christmas tree growers ensues for a Christmas tree for the iconic Blue Room. And 55 additional trees are bought to decorate the White House complex.

Should the White House buy artificial trees (from China) to help save the environment? And reuse the same faux trees year after year after year? Or buy from tree farms in USA?

I perused the internet for artificial tree manufacturers in the USA. The websites I found did not come out and declare their trees were made in America. So, I am confused. Are parts designed in USA, made in China, shipped to USA, and fused with parts made in USA?

The debate about the environmental impact of artificial trees and the impact of cutting real trees is ongoing.

I’m foregoing a Christmas tree this year and instead I’m displaying an Inflatable Buddy the Elf (six feet tall) in my living room. That solves the holiday tree debate for me. Fa la la la la la la la la.


By Melissa Martin

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Scioto County.

She can be reached at [email protected]

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Scioto County.

She can be reached at [email protected]