Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmas Trees and Greens, Faux Real or Real Fir?

Christmas 2011
A perfect tree!
 We have always bought a real Christmas tree.  
It is a family tradition to go to "Steve's Christmas Trees," a tree lot that springs up every year on the corner, and buy our tree.
There is apple cider, Christmas music and the pine smell is heavenly!

Christmas 2010
The kids would run around the lot, each proclaiming that they had found the perfect tree.
Of course, I had the final say!

Christmas 2011
I had no say in the selection of this tree!
Can we say skinny?
This year, however, is different.  The "kids" are grown up, some with their own trees!
I found myself in Costco this week, actually contemplating purchasing a fake tree!
Some of my friends have switched to fake trees, and it occurred to me that there comes a time when setting up the tree becomes such a chore. 
We're getting too old for this!

Let's analyze, shall we?
An artificial tree is a one time purchase and comes fully lit.
No more tangled lights!  
Ok, that's huge!
Artificial trees today are very realistic.  Can you believe this is a fake tree?
I even read that you could weave real greenery into the tree, filling the gaps and creating the wonderful smell that is missing with an artificial tree.
Sounds good to me!
Artificial trees save real trees from being chopped down and also are more economical.
Buying a real tree year after year is expensive, let's face it.

While standing in Costco, admiring their beautiful faux trees, I made the choice to buy a real tree at least one more year.
However, I did end up buying faux pre-lit garlands for over the front door.
So, I'm not a total purist, and am already feeling guilty about it.
Somehow, feeling guilty about Christmas decorations isn't right!

But here is what I learned, and why I feel guilty.
Fake trees are manufactured with PVCs, a known carcinogen.
85% are manufactured in China and have lead content.

That means keeping your kids away from the tree.  Period.
Cancer and lead poisoning?  Not exactly how I want to spread Christmas cheer!

Real trees are, well, real!
They are renewable and compostable.
Sounds good, but then, there is the gas to transport them to Steve's Christmas Tree lot.
And then there are the pesticides used during their 8-10 year growing period!
And so the debate goes on and

Frank Lowenstein from The Nature Conservancy solves the debate once and for all!

So, we will get a real tree again this year. 
Next year?  Who knows!
Maybe the trees in our life will just get smaller and smaller until eventually we will have a little Charlie Brown tree on a table!

What's your opinion on the real vs. fake debate?
Do you like "faux real" or "real fir!"
Bottom line:  just enjoy your tree, and have a Merry Christmas!

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Ron said...

I purchased two "faux" trees from Frontgate years ago. They are realistic and easy. I like my tree to look the same all season long. I use real garlands instead for the smell:)

Deserae said...

We bought a fake tree this year after battling with real ones for years. The problem is our house is so old the doors are very narrow...getting the tree in is no problem. Getting it back out usually involves a big mess and a saw!!!! LOL I had no idea they could cause cancer I am wondering if I made the right choice?!?!?! *sigh*

Calypso In The Country said...

We always get a real tree but use fake garlands and other fake greenery around the house. I hate the fact that these things have PVC and lead in them. Why is that even necessary? I don't let my kids help my husband with the outside lights because there are warning all over the boxes that the outside lights have a lead coating on them. So frustrating!

Courtney ~ French Country Cottage said...

I am a faux tree girl- I love the heavily flocked faux trees and love that I can leave them up for a month and half and not worry! :) I do add real trees that are living trees (and in pots) as well as clip fresh greens for the mantel. I also found fresh garlands and wreaths at Lowes this year so brought those home with me.

Sarah said...

We had real trees for years. Then two years ago I gave in and bought a faux tree. It's not my favorite choice, but was a compromise if I wanted a tree in the house. It's a slim line tree because we have limited space to have a tree in the house. Not my favorite look, but I remind myself that this is a compromise. It's better than no tree at all. ;-)
I use real magnolia leaves to decorate the mantel, etc.
Love the fragrance of fresh greens, but it doesn't always agree with others who spend the season sneezing. LOL Compromise!

SALLY said...

Only REAL trees--REAL greenery. Fake trees are right up there with fake ( silk, plastic ) flowers. Real trees symbolize what we all hope for in life. Real friends, family and love. Christmas trees are also grown on farms for that purpose so no worries about cutting down a tree in a natural habitat.

Leslie Harris said...

I'm still a "real" tree gal but mostly because I'm outnumbered. The family moans each time I mention a faux tree. Maybe next year? But I use faux greenery around house with real stuff blended in.
Leslie. (gwen moss)

Pinky at Designs by Pinky said...

WE did the real tree for al the years our kids were little before they moved out. Then I decided eanted to be able to put the tree u right after Thansgiving and keep itup til mid Jan. We have had a faux tree for years now, actually we gave the first one to our daughter and SIL this year. Ours is prelit and comes in 3 pieces and is easy peasy to put up, even tough it is 10 feet tal!!!!!!!! I love it but never knew about the PVC's and lEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am going to investigate now. XO, pinky

Mary Palumbo Collings said...

We always get a real tree. I love the tradition of going out with my daughter and husband to find the perfect tree... Happy Saturday.
Ciao for now...

Kathysue said...

We succumbed to a fake tree several years ago, our kids were about the ages of your children, that is when the thinking starts. Hubby loves it!! I miss the smell of the real trees. Expense wise it has save us hundreds of dollars. the debate still continues in my head too!!
Either way once it is decorated with all the ornaments that have special memories it is the centerpiece of the room. Enjoy the Process, xo Kathysue

Heather said...

A lot of things we come in contact with on a daily basis CAN cause cancer. That doesn't mean they WILL cause cancer. Regarding lead content, I'm not sucking on tree branches nor would I let a child. Then again, why would she want to stick a prickly fake tree branch in her mouth?

Consider the amount of water, fertilizer, and pesticides that are used to grow real trees. Also consider the disposal of them year after year. Not all of them end up composted.

Bottom line: There are pros and cons to fake trees and real trees. Personally, I have a fake tree that is not pre-lit. Christmas lights are made cheaply, and they don't last forever, so when the lights quit working, a pre-lit tree is pretty much worthless. Our tree is a high quality fake tree that I bought in 1999, and I plan to use it for the rest of my life.

Sheila @ Maison de Cinq said...

Don't do it Dolores!! Real is so much more special. I feel like we only have this season once a year, and yes, it is more work to go and get a real one, but it's also more fun. And obviously, way better for the environment (inside and out). Remember a fake tree takes thousands of years to biodegrade in a landfill! And they don't last forever either, the typical fake tree only lasts between 5-10 years and then those people are buying another. Like you though, I am not a complete purist, I do have fake greenery that I bought years ago on my mantle, though now that I know it contains PVC I might have to pitch it!!

Merry Christmas!

Marigene said...

We have always had a faux tree as my son was allergic to trees with needles and have just never gone back to a real tree. No making sure there is enough water to keep the tree semi-fresh or needles to clean up...I can even store it with the lights all on!

Anonymous said...

I'm a traditionalist. I always loved the tradition of going to find just the right tree and how the smells would just bring back all the memories of my childhood. I do use fake for the garland and such and I've used a fake tree for the main living room, but still had a real one for the family room. I thought I may have gone to fake when the kids left home but now I've got grandkids and want them to enjoy a real tree.

Unknown said...

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ℳartina @ Northern Nesting said...

We went for real this year, I bought a three foot one for a table in our living room and an eight foot gorgeous one for our family room. Stringing the lights and decorating them tonight!

deb said...

Tree farms = jobs, as well as beautiful trees.

Helen @ Blue Eyed Beauty Blog said...

My boyfriend & I will be married by next christmas and we plan to always have real trees. I didn't know any of the bad effects of having a fake tree, but now I'm REALLY glad we've decided to go with a real one!!

Blue Eyed Beauty Blog

Melanie said...

I can see the advantages and disadvantages of both - and we've had both. (We don't put up a big tree anymore, now that we don't have little ones around.) I did love the scent of real trees, though the shedding needles were awful. I'd find them stuck in the carpet for months. (Though we now have wood floors!) And then we found out that both my son and I were allergic to pine.

gme said...

Hmmm, I had no idea.... When I was growing up we always had a real tree. When my children were very small we also had real trees until one year (due to circumstances I can't go into...:)) we wound up with absolutely the UGLIEST tree you ever saw. If I remember correctly, I think my daughter even cried when we put it up. After that, no question, I bought a fake tree and have loved it ever since. Easy to put up, easy to take down and no sticky needles in the carpet.

teaorwine said...

I wish these trees could be manufactured in the USA where the lead would so not be used. Sigh.


Victoria said...

Fir real fir me...the bigger the better. 10 feet this year. I don't want to feel guilty about it either. I have enough to feel guilty about, so I will worry about reducing the size of my tree another day. Enjoy decorating your real beauty.
XO, Victoria

sugarcreek said...

Ok, so I'm a sucker for all things traditional! I've even been known (in my younger years) to trek the forest, cutting down a fresh hemlock and decorating it with homemade, simple decorations. But all that has changed: now I have two houses which are both decorated for Christmas but neither of which do we actually stay at on the 25th!
Last year I hosted a house tour and needed trees so I stocked up at estate of the pre-lit trees had faulty lights in the middle third! AAARGH! I'll never buy a pre-lit tree as the lights are impossible to change. And yes, I dream of having a real tree some day. P.S. the Thyme spruce oil incense is wonderful.

Haus and Home said...

I have always had real tree. I bought a fake tree this year and it's still in the box. It's not the same as getting a real. I think once it's up I may need still get a smaller real tree. My husband thinks the fake will be easier. I am not quite sure, I think fluffing those branches will be tough. We shall see.

Cyndia said...

In my early married life, I opted for a faux tree. We didn't know about the dangers then. Since I've become more environmentally aware, and now have a husband with cancer caused by exposure to chemicals, we only buy a real tree. Not all tree farmers use pesticides, so shop local and ASK. I love the rich smell of evergreen. Yes, it can be a pain hanging those lights and then taking them down, but to me it's totally worth it. I actually watch less tv this time of year because I love to sit and watch the twinkling lights. There are also several ways to recycle Christmas trees. Our botanical garden chips them for mulch. Check with your city hall to see if they know of programs that take old real trees. Sometimes I set it up outside and hang pinecones filled peanut butter & bird seed. Eventually the needles fall off but in the meantime it's offered haven and food for the birds.

Rooms by Ann said...

I love the fake trees, no muss no fuss.

Anonymous said...

We have had faux trees for several years. I love the fragrance of real greenery and try to have it here and there indoors, plus on the porches.

Unknown said...

Oh how I love thee fake trees. Let me count the ways. I will include better pictures in this post after we get our tree up this year. I was a newbie when I wrote this.

Barrett said...

We went with an artificial tree three years ago and have never regretted it. We have a tree from Balsam Hill. It wasn't cheap, but so perfect and worth it. There are two textures of limbs.... very different from any of the other artificial ones I have seen. I use "real" cuttings around my house and even stick some in my tree.

My husband and I always laugh when we see a tree going home on the roof of a car. I don't think we ever got a tree home from the lot, in the house and strung with lights without having an argument!!

All trees are beautiful.... even the Charlie Brown ones. No tree is "fake" some are just artificial.

Barrett said...

We went with an artificial tree three years ago and have never regretted it. We have a tree from Balsam Hill. It wasn't cheap, but so perfect and worth it. There are two textures of limbs.... very different from any of the other artificial ones I have seen. I use "real" cuttings around my house and even stick some in my tree.

My husband and I always laugh when we see a tree going home on the roof of a car. I don't think we ever got a tree home from the lot, in the house and strung with lights without having an argument!!

All trees are beautiful.... even the Charlie Brown ones. No tree is "fake" some are just artificial.

Terri~terrileeauthor said...

I'm all over the place on this one. We have had a fake tree for YEARS. It still looks beautiful. But I also love the idea of a real tree. I don't think it really matters, as long as it's decorated with love. But I do know that the Hubbs and I were discussing DOWNSIZING in the near future....the whole wrestling match with the tree is getting a little tiresome. But the Grandkids are still small, so for now we will still pull out all the stops.

laney said...

...oh my...i am a real tree kind of girl..."going to get the tree" has always been a very big deal...same christmas tree farm...cutting down the tree...dragging it to the we go to get the tree the day after thanksgiving when our son and daughter in law are here with our grandchildren...this year the 4 year old cut down his own "little tree" to take home to alabama to go in his room...and finally this is important...real trees have gaps...pretend trees do not...they are too perfect...your christmas tree must have a gap...for that is where God's animals slept in peace and safety all the tree's life...blessings laney

vignette design said...

That is the best argument for a real tree yet! The gap!
Where all the forest animals slept in peace and safety.
Love your Christmas tree tradition.

Mary said...

It was always a real tree , then children grew up moved away...I hate to put up lights...and those needles. Being married to a danger is real..I finally bought a faux tree large a few years ago..everyone loved it. By the way trees do not smell so much...not grown in the forest but farms...Last year went to a smaller faux I love it ...What ever you choose is perfect for you..Happy holiday

Karen said...

I know that most love real trees and wouldn't give them up...I used to say I'd NEVER have a faux tree...then one year I bought one and I've loved it so. My kids are grown adults with their own homes ans while they still come to my house for Christmas I find they don't mind the faux...when it's decorated it looks lovely, maybe lovelier than my real trees since the lights are plentiful and evenly spaced and you don't see cords.
I buy real garlands and wreathes and it wall works fine.
Karen at Garden, Home and Party

Marlis said...

We used to get a real tree when we could cut it ourselves. That way in January, when the tree came down, there was no mess. However. Since we don't have our place in NM anymore, I've gone to faux trees. At least the heavier ornaments stay on the branches ;-).... I have real greenery swags and wreaths for the "Christmas" smell. I do love being able to open the tree box, insert base into stand, part 2 into base and then part 3 into part 2 and the tree is finished. Standing, straight, lit and just waiting for ornaments..
Your tree is really gorgeous though!

Unknown said...

Looks great for a fake, but does it have that fresh piney flake smell??

-Samudaworth Tree Service
Tree Service Brooklyn

Karena said...

Delores, Shockingly I no longer put up a tree; however There are garlands galore, wreaths, candles,bows, Santas, Etc. It is very festive, though low key.


Katy Noelle said...

You're so cute! "'Fir' real!" I'm afraid I'm going to be chuckling and repeating that phrase to people, now! =]

Unknown said...

I prefer real trees but have had a faux tree for years. Because of our 20 foot ceiling in our living room we need a very tall tree. Buying real is cost prohibitive and stringing lights on such a large tree would drive me insane!! I luve in Texas so the tree buying experience isn't the same as it was growing up in Minnesota where we could chop our own. Someday I'll have real again ... When the kids are gone I'll get a real tree that's just right for a table or something!

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