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? It's a pretty fantastic reason to choose a real tree over artificial during the holidays! But, there are many, many more reasons why I choose to have a real tree at Christmas.
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!? Surely not an appreciation of nature and authenticity.
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! All of those chemicals mentioned have been linked to various cancers.
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:
CBC Land and Sea (watch their informative episode on Nova Scotia Christmas Trees here.