‘Tis the season …

… for the great tree debate.

The Spouse reminded me today that it’s been six years since we decided to go with our pre-lit “fake” tree for Christmas.

And Kathryn Kellogg at Going Zero Waste has a post up that reminded me how long we went back and forth about whether it was more environmentally friendly to have a real or artificial tree.

The answer isn’t as clearcut (hah) as it might seem.

Yes, fresh Christmas trees are mostly grown on farms, so no deforestation is taking place when one is cut down. But, tree farms sometimes use pesticides that cause toxic runoff that can harm our waterways. And, unless they are disposed off properly, will also take up space in crowded municipal landfills.

On the other hand, artificial trees are made out of plastic — mostly produced in China — and shipped thousands of miles to get to us. They will likely end up in landfills eventually, where they may take thousands of years to degrade.

We chose ours after struggling to dispose of our real tree two holidays in a row. We left it. up so long that we missed the window to get it picked up from the curb and then also couldn’t find a dropoff site, either. ‘Composting’ a full-size pine tree in one’s back yard is also not as feasible as you might think. (As me how I know.)

I have to admit that, while I love how pine trees smell, I hate sweeping up pine needles from the floor a zillion times a day. I love that our tree is prelit and not a single bulb has shorted out in six years. And I love that we can just put it up or take it down whenever we want.

But knowing what I know now, we would probably stick with a real tree we had to do it again. At least we have no plans to get rid of ours.

If you decorate for Christmas, what kind of tree do you have?

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