Christmas season is in full swing, and we’ve got Christmas Trees on the brain at our house.  Besides trying to figure out the logistics of where to PUT our tree this year, I’ve been reading up on green trees, as in eco-friendly.

Even though our economy is in shambles, one article said, while many shoppers are cutting back on their holiday spending, Christmas tree sales don’t appear to be getting the ax.  People might be cutting back in spending, but the actual trees are one cutback families aren’t going to make, another report said.
Trees in the church parking lot down the block

Many of you might be in the market for the real deal.  We always had a real tree at my parents’ house as a kid, so naturally, even despite our tight space, we always go the real tree route.

According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) we’re not alone:

  • There are approximately 25-30 million Real Christmas Trees sold in the U.S. every year.
  • There are close to half a billion Real Christmas Trees currently growing on Christmas Tree farms in the U.S. alone, all planted by farmers. Real Christmas Trees are grown on farms North American Real Christmas Trees are grown in all 50 states and Canada. Eighty percent (80%) of artificial trees worldwide are manufactured in China, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.
  • Real Trees are a renewable, recyclable resource. Artificial trees contain non-biodegradable plastics and possible metal toxins such as lead.
  • There are more than 4,000 Christmas Tree recycling programs throughout the United States.
  • For every Real Christmas Tree harvested, up to 3 seedlings are planted in its place the following spring.
  • There are about 500,000 acres in production for growing Christmas Trees in the U.S.; much of it preserving green space.
  • There are about 21,000 Christmas Tree growers in the U.S., and over 100,000 people employed full or part-time in the industry.
  • It can take as many as 15 years to grow a tree of typical height (6 – 7 feet) or as little as 4 years, but the average growing time is 7 years.
  • The top selling Christmas Trees are: balsam fir, Douglas-fir, Fraser fir, noble fir, Scotch pine, Virginia pine and white pine.

But on the flipside,

  • According to figures released by the National Christmas Tree Association, Americans purchased 17.4 million artificial trees last year — a significant jump from the 9.3 million of the previous year.
  • Most fake trees (85%) in the U.S. are imported from China. Almost 10 Million fake trees were sold worldwide in 2003.
  • According to an article onAJC artificial trees are an alternative for those with allergies or asthma. Some people are allergic to terpene, the substance found in the oil or sap of Christmas trees, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
  • They are durable. They last about six years.
  • Artificial trees are affordable. They’re generally cheaper than cut trees because you can use them more than once. “Even though most consumers are still going to be putting up a Christmas tree for their holiday parties, they will be looking for discounts,” a spokesperson for ChristmasTreeMarket.com an online retailer of Artificial Christmas Trees said.

AJC.com has a really great article on the pros and cons of the real vs. artificial vs. eco-friendly.

But my personal favorite option (if we had a yard):  Buy a potted tree that can be planted in your yard after the holidays.

We had a live tree several times growing up, and I remember it being a hassle for my dad, but it was fun to see one of those trees grow into a HUGE tree 20 some years later in their backyard.  This year’s Rockefeller Christmas Tree is just that, a live tree that was nourished by a family in central Jersey that went on to become the gianormous celebrated tree and quite possibly the best example of a true green Christmas Tree.

I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the kid’s eyes light up in awe over our Christmas Tree!

Whatever you do for your tree, enjoy!