Real or Fake: The Lowdown on Christmas Trees

I grew up in a family that always had a real Christmas tree. Every year we'd head over to the local Christmas tree lot (and I think we occasionally cut it down ourselves), and picked out the finest looking tree to fit in our low-ceiling family room. We also purchased that horrible tinsel stuff, and burned real logs in our fire place :)

I've never understood the need for plastic trees, but I recently heard that a plastic tree might be more environmentally friendly than chopping one down. Instead of packing away the saw, I decided to do some research to see whether this was true. Where better to find out about the green-ness of your tree than the David Suzuki website!

This article compares real Christmas trees with plastic ones using research conducted by Ellio, a sustainability consulting firm in Quebec. The verdict? Real Christmas trees are a more sustainble option than their plastic counterparts unless you plan on using your fake tree for 20 years or more OR you have to drive really far to find a real tree.

So I breathed a sigh of relief, and we'll plan our annual trip to a local Christmas tree farm to cut ours down (and let's be honest, the hot chocolate at the end of the trip is the best part). For me, there's nothing that beats that real tree smell! It even trumps the million pine needles that clog my vaccum every year!

Want to have even less of an impact on the environment? David Suzuki suggests purchasing a potted tree, an indoor pine, or starting your own Christmas tree farm. Also consider buying local, at a farm that minimizes pesticide use. Here's a great list of local tree farms around Ottawa - give them a call to see what their practices are like!

And if you must purchase that fake tree (I get it, I get it - sometimes they ARE easier!) than make sure it's a good one that you'll use for a loooong time. And avoid toxic PVC plastic if you can.

So what do you think? Real or fake?