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The Christmas Tree

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This past weekend, my husband and I packed up the baby and went to the tree nursery to pick out the perfect tree for our Victorian home. We walked in the semi-heated outdoor tent where we could get the Fraser Fir of our Christmas dreams. The fragrance kind of hits you in the face when you walk in those places don't it? It certainly seemed to impress our 18 month old who proudly proclaimed "woooow" when he saw the trees.


We found our tree, paid for it, and went home to set it up. After about 10 minutes of our son being afraid to go near the tree, he then proceeded to bat at it with his plush baseball bat. Apparently it was not cool with him that the tree was set up in his toy area. After that fiasco was over we noticed another pungent smell that hits you in the face.


My husband turned to me and said, "Do you smell a skunk?" Yep, I did. Why? We tried figuring this out for several minutes and finally came to the conclusion that it was the tree. When growing in its tree farm, it had been sprayed. We were sure at this point there was no skunk in the tree. We checked. So, we waited it out and lit as many good smelling candles we could find to help us deal with it.

Why would anyone go through something like this to have a real tree as opposed to getting a fake one? Which one is more environmentally friendly? We are always talking about saving trees and recycling your paper so why cut down millions of Christmas trees for this strange tradition every year?


As it turns out, it is still more environmentally friendly to get a real tree than a fake one. This article on Earth 911 tells you all about the pros and cons. The main points are:


  • Artificial trees contain PVC, metals, and some older ones have lead.
  • They will sit in landfills for centuries without biodegrading. And, they are not recyclable.
  • More than 85% of the artificial trees sold in the USA come from China. (Do they celebrate Christmas?) So that is a long way to travel with a big environmental footprint.
  • "Approximately 33 million real Christmas trees are sold in North America each year, according to the U.S. EPA. Luckily, about 93 percent of those trees are recycled through more than 4,000 available recycling programs." These are the curbside collections mostly.
  • A single real tree absorbs more than a ton of CO2 throughout its lifetime before being cut. With 350 million trees growing for Christmas purposes that is a big carbon sink.
  • Did you know each acre of trees produces enough oxygen for the daily needs of 18 people?

So pungent odors aside, I think the real tree still wins my vote. In the meantime, I will be working on improving my tree picking skills 'til next year's tree is chosen.


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Guest Friday, 24 May 2019


Public sector investment in local recycling programs pays great dividends by creating private sector jobs. For every job collecting recyclables, there are 26 jobs in processing the materials and manufacturing them into new products.

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