It seems like every December, right around the time when those first few snowflakes start swirling through the air, I find myself entering into in the same time honored debates about favorite holiday traditions with my friends and family. It’s a Wonderful Life or A Christmas Story? (It’s a Wonderful Life) Should presents be opened on Christmas Eve or saved for Christmas morning? (Christmas morning) And which type of tree is actually better for the environment in the long run—real or fake? (Real!)
Now, I know what you’re thinking. That’s impossible! Artificial trees are reusable, and besides, how can cutting down a healthy, living, breathing tree every year be a good thing?
I will admit right from the start, there are a lot of reasons I would like to stack the deck in favor of a real tree. I love the smell and feel of the fresh pine needles. I love studying tree after tree, thermos of hot cocoa in hand, searching for that perfectly imperfect specimen that I know will fit just right in the corner of the living room. But no sleight of hand will be necessary here. Because most of all, I love knowing that by bringing home a live tree I am helping to support my community in a real way, from local agriculture and the economy to the various birds, insects, and wildlife that are able to take advantage of the tree before (and maybe even after) it’s cut down.