Christmas tree farms are working hard to lure Black Friday shoppers away from artificial Christmas tree displays. Instead, Christmas tree farm operators encourage the chopping of a live tree. Now there is a third option.
Christmas Tree Farms Get Support from the National Christmas Tree Association
In an effort to take the artificial Christmas tree head-on, the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) sets out to debunk the myths of eco-friendliness that surround the plastic decorations. Consumers have become so conditioned to “save a tree” and “plant a tree” campaigns that they no longer readily grab an ax and head for the Christmas tree farm in search of that perfect tree.
Can You Save a Real Tree By Buying a Fake?
The NCTA says “no.” It identifies the Christmas tree farm product as a harvestable crop that is planted and then offered for sale, much like a vegetable farmer would grow lettuce and then cut it down for sale. In response to the criticism that cutting down a tree for the use as a Christmas tree – a four week affair at the most – is wasteful when compared to the reusability of an artificial Christmas tree, the NCTA points to the landfill waste the fake trees provide.
Artificial Christmas Tree Lobby Weighs In
Artificial Christmas trees – and their makers and sellers – also have a voice. In their case it is the American Christmas Tree Association (ACTA) that provides evidence explaining their sides of the stories. It offers up studies supporting the finding that artificial Christmas trees are better for the environment than their real cousins. This includes an evaluation of the machinery, fuel and resources required for the growing of a real tree and its eventual harvest and transport versus the more short term use of resources to manufacture a tree.
Christmas Tree Farms vs. Christmas Tree Manufacturers
It is noteworthy to point out that the NCTA is the definitive voice of Christmas tree farms, professionals and associated businesses. It boasts a membership of more than 5,100 industry members and specifically works to make the real Christmas tree business a profitable venture. On the other side of the aisle, ACTA is a non-profit organization devoted to consumer education. It is also the sponsor of the study that found the carbon footprint of artificial trees to be less than that of real trees.
So … Should You Head to Wal-Mart of the Local Christmas Tree Farm?
In the fight of artificial Christmas tree versus real Christmas tree, even scientists weigh in. The Hartford Courant reports that a 2007 study at Connecticut’s St. Vincent’s Medical Center showed an increase in mold growth on real Christmas trees after they are brought into the warmth of a living room. On the other hand, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station suggests getting a real tree from a Christmas tree farm since it helps preserve the area as open space.
Enter the Christmas Magnolia
San Francisco instituted its “Dreaming of a Green Christmas” program that lets residents “rent” a potted tree from the city. Residents may pick up their trees, decorate them and then let city workers pick them up after the holidays and plant them along San Francisco streets. While this sounds like a great compromise to the Christmas tree debate, its appeal is limited since there are no firs or pines but magnolias, tristanias and other plants not usually associated with renditions of “Oh Tannenbaum.”
Should you head out to the local Christmas tree farm; give your business to a retailer by buying an artificial Christmas tree or hope that your city participates in the Green Christmas program?