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Fake vs Real: Which Christmas Trees are Greenest?

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Fake vs Real: Which Christmas Trees are Greenest?

As a kid growing up in Los Angeles I was always attracted to the Christmas lots that had trees frosted with pink or turquoise fake snow. (What were they thinking?) I have yet to see those special specimens since, but itís no surprise that as an adult I lean toward non-traditional trees. Part of that is just my stubborn attraction to the unique, but much of it stems from my feelings for trees.

Although I know that Christmas trees are farmed like any other harvested plant, it still makes me sad to think of those noble little guys whacked down for my temporary pleasure. But my humble homemade feather tree is starting to moltóand I wonder if itís time to join the 29 million American households who will buy a fresh cut tree this year? Or should I opt for an artificial tree? How about a living tree that will take a Christmas miracle of its own to actually end up planted in my garden? To forego a tree altogether is way too bah-humbug for me, so what is the greenest Christmas tree option?

Next: Greening your Christmas tree

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

381 comments

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10:08PM PDT on Mar 28, 2013

Thank you for info.

10:07PM PDT on Mar 28, 2013

Thank you for info.

7:02PM PST on Mar 5, 2011

Where I come from in Louisiana, all the trees become sandbar reinforcements after christmas, which helps slow coastal erosion. So I don't mind my parents buying a new one every year. Plus, the smell adds to their worth! But for myself, when I grow up, I think I'd like to have a living tree or cactus. That would be superb! And I could use some pine and cinnamon oils for cleaning during december to sort-of mimic the smell in my home. ^_^

10:27AM PST on Dec 10, 2010

Quite ironic is the fact that the "Christmas" tree is supposed to be an icon of immortality and life in the harsh winter nights, but millions of trees en up dead after a sad decay under flashy lights and plastic ornaments...

Imagine what would happen if instead of chopping down a tree for these annual rituals we would plant one every year.

Millions of new trees planted every year would really make a merry little Christmas for me.

.C.

8:52PM PST on Dec 9, 2010

The living tree is the greenest because it can be used year after year if taken care of. And each year it will be better than the year past. When it gets too tall, then plant it outside and decorate it there.

8:33PM PST on Dec 8, 2010

I would love to have a real tree for a Christmas Tree.:) I am planning to have one this Christmas with all the natural trimmings and natural decors to adorn the Tree:) Yehey!!!!

12:43PM PST on Dec 8, 2010

Well no tree here, I tree is the beatifulest outside in the woods. And plastic I found not needed. But then again ,, I have cats :)

11:20AM PST on Dec 8, 2010

not to mention that the farm land if not used to grow trees could be developed and exploited for something else...

11:17AM PST on Dec 8, 2010

Well, I think of it this way. Fake trees are made in China. Real trees are farmed in the US and Canada, giving jobs to more local folks - not just the farmers, but also the truck drivers and many retail distributors including non-profits that benefit by selling them. A good way to spread a dollar these days.

4:00AM PST on Dec 8, 2010

I buy a small potted tree and decorate it. Then after it's done inside I plant it outside or give it to someone who wants to plant it. Also one year when clearing an acre of land to be able to reestablish the native forest I cut down a cedar (had to go to get rid of the honeysuckle) and used it.

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