Christmas trees have had a long history in the United States, beginning in the 1800s when they were introduced by German settlers.
Since then, Christmas trees have become a major commercial industry. But, in recent years, more and more families are facing a dilemma between purchasing a real or artificial Christmas tree.
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The National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) approximates that nearly 25-30 million live Christmas trees are sold every year. However, according to the Wall Street Journal, consumers will spend about $1 billion on artificial trees that primarily come from overseas.
Real Christmas trees, in comparison, are grown at Christmas tree farms in all 50 states, contributing not only to local state economies, but also helping keep family farms from being converted to other uses.
Many people are under the mistaken assumption that fake trees are more environmentally responsible than chopping down live trees, which is simply not the case. According to NCTA, “Artificial trees contain non-biodegradable plastics and possible metal toxins such as lead.”
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As the Arbor Day Foundation points out in its November-December newsletter, fresh cut Christmas trees are a renewable, recyclable and sustainable resource that sequesters carbon and helps clean the air while protecting soil and wildlife habitat. For every Christmas tree harvested, NCTA says 1-3 new seedlings for the following spring are planted, estimating that presently there are close to 350 million real Christmas trees being grown at U.S. Christmas tree farms.
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Along with the many environmental and economical benefits, real Christmas trees also offer the social benefits of a memorable holiday tradition, introducing young children to nature, and encouraging family togetherness. Many Christmas tree farms even offer wagon rides, refreshments and other attractions to make the experience of selecting the perfect Christmas tree for your family unforgettable.
If you would like to find the Christmas tree farm closest to you, you can visit NCTA’s Tree Locator tool.
For more information about real Christmas trees such as selection, care, and recycling tips please visit NCTA’s website.