Christmas tree debate heats up: Real versus artificial trees still a topic of conversationThursday, December 14, 2006 By Amanda Finnin
Posted: 12/15/06 For many people, Christmas trees are an essential part of the Christmas season. For some, the thought of going to a tree farm and cutting down your own pine tree to decorate brings warm memories and a smile. For just as many, however, taking an artificial tree out of a box in the attic, basement or closet brings just as many memories and smiles. All of this essentially brings forth a question many find themselves asking at one point or another - ‘which kind of tree is better for me ?’ The answer is that it all comes down to what you are looking for in a Christmas tree. “The benefit of a real Christmas tree is the fresh pine needle smell. Fake trees don't really have that. For me, the smell of a Christmas tree is a familiar part of Christmas,” says Tabitha Drum, a seventh-grader at PALCS. Sadie Eichner, a 10th-grader, agrees with Drum. “It's just cool to have a real tree. How many times a year do you have an actual tree in your house?” says Eichner. “We usually get Frasier Firs, which are soft, and smell good, and are stiff enough to hang lots and lots of ornaments on them.” Other students say that real trees offer traditions and memories that will last a lifetime, and that can’t be imitated by artificial trees. “My family has a 'Christmas Tradition.’ Every year we all get bundled up and go out 'hunting' for a Christmas tree. Once we find one, we all take turns cutting it down. Then we go to Sherland Forest to have hot cocoa and cookies and to see Santa,” says Lindsey Hopewell, a sixth-grader. Rachel Tribe, a junior, also agrees that tradition plays a part in the importance of real trees. “There’s nothing more special then having a real Christmas tree for Christmas. The whole process of going and picking a tree, cutting it down, singing Christmas carols on the way home, setting it up, decorating it... that’s one of the best parts of Christmas!” says Tribe. For others, the smell of pine and the promise of tree-hunting memories just isn’t enough. After all, real trees can be a lot of trouble. “I like not having to go out in freezing weather to find a tree, as well as not having to water it and get pricked by the needles,” says Nathaniel Mac Arthur, a 10th-grader. “We always find spiders inside the [real] Christmas tree,” says Lisa Ramos, a junior. Other points of real trees include price and set-up. While the care of a real tree is much more involved, the actual set-up of the tree is much more convenient. Real trees are often much cheaper than artificial trees, although they need to be purchased annually. Artificial trees, on the other hand, can be purchased once and kept for years. They can come pre-lit for those who have problems putting up lights. They offer convenience and durability, and don’t require the care that real trees do. Clean up is easier for an artificial tree, as well, as the pine needles don’t fall off nearly as much. Artificial trees also have another advantage; pine is a common allergy. Those who are allergic to pine need artificial trees for their comfort. What it comes down to is what Christmas means to you. If you love the tradition of going out and getting trees, of waking up and enjoying the scent, then a real tree is the best choice. If you don’t have the money for an artificial tree, you could purchase a real tree for much cheaper. However, if you dislike putting lights up, a pre-lit artificial tree is probably the ideal tree for you. If you’re looking for an easier clean-up, artificial trees can offer that as well. They can also be cheaper in the long run, if you keep it for a long time. Research it. Maybe you could buy a real tree one year, and an artificial tree another year, and decide from there which one suits you best. “Every Christmas tree is perfect, whether it’s a Charlie Brown Christmas tree or a Rockefeller Center type tree,” says Tribe.