I Love Real Trees

November 21, 2014  •  2 Comments

If I even think about a Balsam Fir I can almost smell it. Of all the smells in nature, isn’t it just about one of the best ones?  Especially during the holidays! I love my real Christmas tree. I love everything about it, from selecting it at the tree lot to how it smells once it is set up in my house. I even find its falling needles slightly endearing and love how they linger to remind me of relaxing over the holidays and enjoying the glow of twinkling lights on balsam fir branches.

But, there are many, many more reasons why I choose to have a real tree at Christmas, and am sad when I see fake trees in a shop, a house, or a business. 

  • I love nature, and I love tradition.  I remember heading out with my parents when I was young, in search of a Christmas tree.  My father with his axe in hand would search for what he considered the perfect tree. In my small rural community I don’t remember there being tree lots – we would just head out into the forest. I will always remember the fresh air, the smell of the forest, and the time with my dad.  It is experiences like this that helped foster my love and appreciation of nature and being outdoors.

What message are we sending to children when we head to a store to buy a tree in a box? When we take them indoors, to by a plastic tree – in a box!?  Surely not an appreciation of nature and authenticity.

  • I want to support Nova Scotia’s economy. Purchasing a real tree does just that. The Christmas Tree industry in Nova Scotia started back in the early 1920s, when a few local men were looking for a way to create an income for their families.  Today, more than 1,100 Nova Scotia families depend on the Christmas tree industry for all or part of their income.  The Christmas tree industry generates approximately $52M toward the Nova Scotia economy annually, and if the Christmas tree industry in Nova Scotia ceased to exist, so too would the equivalent of as many as 800 full time jobs. Buying a real Christmas tree really brings a whole new meaning to “support local”.

 

  • I care about the environment, and I care about my health.  Real Christmas trees promote both of those things.

 

The Christmas Tree industry in Nova Scotia is completely sustainable. Trees are renewable, reusable and biodegradable.  A fake tree, while reusable from year to year, at some point will end up in a landfill, and will remain there.  A real tree can be recycled, and can even be reused in innovative ways (wildlife rehabs such as Hope For Wildlife and The Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre will gladly accept donations of used trees after the holidays for use in their animal enclosures).

Tree farms are completely renewable. Some people don’t want to cut down a tree. I can appreciate that – but Christmas trees are in no way associated with deforestation. The trees are grown specifically to be cut down on land designated for farming them.  Trees are either replanted or in most cases, grow again on their own naturally from the previous tree’s seeds.  As the old trees are cut down tiny new ones are eagerly waiting to see the sun and are ready to grow in their place.

Think of it this way - cutting down a Christmas tree in a tree farm is the same as harvesting lettuce. People are eager to head to the local farmers market to support local when they purchase their veggies. It’s the same thing. When you harvest lettuce, as you harvest a tree, more is waiting to grow.

We all know that trees produce oxygen. But did you know that every acre of Christmas trees produces enough daily oxygen for 18 people. There are roughly 30,000 acres of Christmas trees in production in Nova Scotia, which means enough oxygen for approximately 540,000 people daily.

Fake Christmas trees are made with Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) which is a petroleum derived plastic. Carcinogens including dioxin, ethylene dichloride and vinyl chloride are generated in the production of PVC.  Quite the opposite from oxygen wouldn’t you say? All of those chemicals mentioned have been linked to various cancers. 

I’m always surprised when people think that a fake tree is safer than a real tree. First of all – none of those chemicals are safe in any way. If you are concerned about safety when it comes to your real Christmas tree check out this link for some great tips.

Something else to consider is, if you buy a fake tree – how far do you suppose it has travelled? Nova Scotia is the largest producer of Balsam Fir Christmas trees in the world. If you purchase a real tree in Nova Scotia it won’t have travelled more than a couple hundred kilometers.

For me personally, a few needles to sweep up on the floor once in a while is a small price to pay for a connection to nature, my health and the health of my province’s economy, and of the planet.  And, of course a small price to pay for one of the most wonderful, unique, and nostalgic smells we should feel lucky to be able to experience.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below – what is your favorite thing about your real Christmas tree?

Stats and info in this post are courtesy of:

Christmas Tree Council of Nova Scotia

CBC Land and Sea (watch their informative episode on Nova Scotia Christmas Trees here.

And, Earth Talk: The Environmental Magazine

 


Comments

Natalie(non-registered)
I grew up in Lunenburg County and I cannot bring myself to purchase a fake Christmas tree....I would go without before artificial.
Darlene(non-registered)
Ha, I remember the tree you speak off!!! I love real trees... December 10th... that's when Dad would go in the woods and get a tree... wonder if he was doing it for Mom's birthday?.... Very interesting and informative info for those thinking of going fake.
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