An Artificial or real Christmas Tree – which to Choose?

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As Christmas approaches families are left with the decision whether to get an artificial Christmas Tree, or to go with a freshly cut one. Artificial Christmas Trees (we prefer to call the “life like” Christmas trees. Artificial – the word always seems to have such a negative overtone. Artificial sweeteners, artificial colouring….There is nothing artificial about our Christmas trees… they a real, life like Christmas Trees.
Regardless of wording… why buy one over the other?

a. Save 50 trees.
Over the course of a lifetime the average parent will put up 50 Christmas trees, be they real pine or fir trees, or life like Christmas Trees. If you choose to put up live trees, then that’s 50 live trees that need to be cut down. And don’t think of them as 50 small trees…. The 1.5m tree from 50 years ago that you cut down for use as a Christmas Decoration would now be a 30 metre tree, storing Carbon and pumping out oxygen.

A 50 years old pine or fir tree can contains as much as 3 tonnes of wood(which is a lot of carbon) if we extrapolate that down over the other trees and the size they could have been expect to have grown to had their lives not been cut short, that’s around 34 tonnes of wood.

That’s a lot of Carbon, and a lot of global warming.

b. Pine and Fir Trees are not Native to Australia.
Christmas trees in the Northern hemisphere are typically pine and fir trees, grown in plantations. Whilst it’s not the best case scenario, for these mini forests to be cut down year after year for decorative purposes… at least the trees are native to the areas they are grown in.

Pine and fir trees provide a food and shelter source for the native animals in Europe and North America whereas here in Australia they are just an invasive species that provides little in the way of use to the local creatures who have not adapted to pine needles. Pine trees send out poison via their root system that kills off native vegetation as well exacerbating the problem.

c. Pine and Fir Trees dry out in heat.
A freshly cut pine of fir tree can appear “alive” if kept in wet soil for up to 3 weeks in colder climates. Pine needles don’t become extreme fire hazards like they do in Australia. Christmas temperatures in Australia are often 60 degrees more than Christmas temperatures in Northern Europe / America and pine trees filled with pine oil; become oil filled fire hazards. Not something, you’d want to string lights on, add candles to etc

d. You’ll save money
With a live Christmas tree in Australia selling at an average of $50 that’s $2500 in trees… even without accounting for the fact that prices will go up year after year, you need to transport the new tree each time. A life like Christmas tree might be more initially but it will save you heaps over its lifetime.

e. You’ll save time
Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year, and shopping around for a Christmas tree can be an unwanted task.. So much easier to simply get the life like tree out of storage!

f. They make less mess.
Pine and fir trees drop a heap of needles over the 3 weeks they are typically up. The needles are messy and often stain floors and carpets.

g. Christmas Trees are not grown organically
Christmas trees are not eaten, so there is little incentive to grow them organically. Huge amounts of fertilizers and pesticides go into the growing of a Christmas tree, with runoff from Christmas Tree plantations being greatly worse than runoff from food crops as a result.

There is nothing too “natural” about the end product of a commercially grown Christmas Tree.

h. Australian “Real” Christmas Trees are usually not the real thing.
In Europe and the US, Christmas trees are grown in plantations, they take 8 years or so to grow to maturity and when cut are densely branched and your typical Christmas cone shape. More often in Australia, trees offered for sale are pine trees that have “escaped” from plantations. These trees are typical sparsely branched, oddly shaped so they are difficult to decorate and not very authentic looking.

So save time, money and the environment this year and buy your tree from The Christmas Cave. You’ll be glad you di, this year, next year and for years to come.

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