One of the family traditions I have insisted on continuing from my childhood is an annual trip to cut down a fresh Christmas tree.

Real or Fake Tree 1

The anticipation of our long, relaxing walk through acres of farmland gives me warm, nostalgic feelings. Most years I prepare a thermos of hot chocolate and we rebel against the holiday rush by sauntering (for hours sometimes) through aisles of aromatic pines.


The search for “the perfect tree” is less about perfection, and more about fun, relaxation, and tradition. Our trip to a tree farm in the mountains of Western North Carolina this year was beyond picturesque and relaxing.

Real or Fake Tree 2

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I even started to consider other reasons to purchase a real tree at Christmas, I just knew I wanted one. But the more reading and research I did about this holiday tradition, the more sense it made.

Real Tree vs. Artificial

Real Trees:

  • Each time you purchase a real Christmas tree from an American farm, you are making a contribution to that local economy.
  • According to the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA), there are about 15,000 Christmas Tree farms in the U.S., employing over 100,000 individuals.
  • The NCTA estimates that over 350,000 acres of farmland in the U.S. is used specifically for farming Christmas trees, preserving valuable green space.
Real or Fake Tree 3
  • Real Christmas trees absorb carbon dioxide and other harmful gases from the environment, and release oxygen into the air. Furthermore, young, fast-growing trees release more oxygen and absorb more carbon dioxide than mature trees. (source)
  • Real trees are renewable and recyclable.
  • You can purchase a live potted tree that is planted outdoors after Christmas. (We all thought my dad was crazy the first time he did this. After a few years of this seeming foolishness, we realized we had a small forest sprouting beside our house. Perfect for hide and seek. Thanks Dad!)
  • For each real Christmas tree cut down, another is planted in its place to ensure a consistent supply.
Real or Fake Tree 4
  • Thousands of recycling programs, also known as “treecycling,” have been started around the country. Some trees are chipped to make biodegradable mulch for parks and playgrounds. Others are used on beaches or river beds to help with sand and soil erosion or act as wind and water barriers. Still others are used to create a safe habitat and feeding area for aquatic life when sunk in ponds and lakes.
  • Planning a trip to cut down a Christmas tree promotes family togetherness and most often becomes a cherished family tradition.
  • You may just be blessed enough to live on land where you can cut a Christmas tree down for free!
  • Let’s face it – you can’t beat the fresh pine fragrance a real tree creates in your home.

Artificial Trees:


  • Fake trees are produced with petroleum based plastics. The manufacturing of non-renewable plastics requires natural resources from our environment that we can’t get back once they are gone.
  • Most fake trees are made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is known to release toxic biproducts during manufacture. Furthermore, the manufacture of plastic and metal components consumes a great deal of energy.
  • Many older artificial trees are contaminated with metal toxins, such as lead.
  • Artificial Christmas trees may be used for several years, but eventually all end up in landfills.
  • Fake trees are not biodegradable or recyclable. Once they have become garbage in a landfill, fake trees will remain there for decades.
  • Most artificial trees that are sold in the U.S. are shipped from China, Korea, or Taiwan, increasing the environmental impact of these trees even more.

Real wins in my house

In this economy, many families may not want to shell out money for a real Christmas tree, and may instead opt to erect an artificial tree. In my house, this just won’t do. We figure the cost of a fresh tree into our budget each year and eagerly await our tree-cutting field trip. We justify the recurrent cost of a fresh tree by weighing it against the environmental impact of an artificial tree.

Real or Fake Tree

We don’t mind the needles on the carpet, the occasional watering, or the sap that might end up on our winter coats. Furniture gets rearranged to make space for the beautiful green giant, because it’s a family room staple for about two solid months. Yipeeee!

What about you?

Do you purchase a real tree or do you prefer artificial, and why?

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Comments

  1. says

    I too grew up getting our tree from a Christmas tree farm but, I lived in a state where the farms were abundant throughout the state. Our first fake tree was bought in Oklahoma 39 years ago where we didn’t have that option. The real trees were not…..real and they sold for top dollar. That first Christmas with a fake tree I realized I was allergic to pines. That Christmas for the first time I was not congested from the smell and didn’t break out decorating. We left Oklahoma for Hawaii and took our fake tree with us and was extremely glad we did. So for those who don’t have the opportunity to cut their own are missing a great memory. For those who don’t have them because of allergies it’s much better to be healthy and enjoy the season.

  2. Debbie says

    I would love to have a real tree, but spending the holidays sick because if the tree are not happening any more for me.
    I live the memories we made cutting down our own tree.
    I am beyond allergic to real pine trees. Shots, pneumonia , bronchitis , asthma not fun

      • Gloria says

        But…. There are more types of Christmas trees than just pine! Really! and there are other options besides that. I get a Rosemary Christmas tree and I love my little tree. That it is still alive is one of the best things I love about it, so I cook with it throughout the year :)

  3. Jo says

    Hi Matt & Betsy!
    Great article! Actually I’m enjoying all of them!
    I remember as a child our whole family would snowmobile out to get our tree. Great memories, so much fun! We began to notice that every year after Christmas my mom would be really sick. Soon my brother was sick after Christmas too. One year my parents got an artificial tree…and no one was sick any more! It turned out to be allergies! I have since developed the same allergy. I miss the wonderful smell of the real tree in my house. And for all those reasons you listed, a reall tree is much better, if your body will allow it!

      • Jo says

        It was so much fun! Definitely family bonding moments. I wish we could still do that. .but my husband and children have made our own traditions now!

  4. Melody says

    Every Christmas in FL my Dad would complain about how much a real tree costed and would ask why we don’t just purchase a fake one even claiming this would save more money to spend on our presents. None of us ever joined his side. Him and Mom were raising six kids so it made sense that he wished to save but we told him we would rather a two foot Charlie Brown tree that was real over a ten footer that was fake. When we moved up north more but still to a southern state we discovered a Christmas Tree farm and have enjoyed going together as a family. Now that we live where the trees grow we can buy one for $20 that would have costed us $50 in FL. I am married now and together my husband and I take our family to the same place to get a tree. Most years we all go at the same time each to get a tree for our individual families.

  5. Alizabeth says

    I purchased a real potted tree this year. I won’t be able to plant it outside because it is a Norfolk Island Pine but I love the idea of having one in my house all year long and redecorating it in the coming years. Perhaps in the future I will get more potted pine trees to plant outside of the house.

  6. Theresa says

    We grew up with fake Christmas trees. When we got married, we bought our first real tree and it is now a tradition where we, as a family, go out and pick a real tree from Lowe’s the weekend after Thanksgiving and we decorate it with mostly things that our children made in school when they were very young. We continue this tradition every year and this year, we went to pick the tree with my daughter’s boyfriend added to the family group. We look forward to one day picking the tree with our grandchildren.

  7. Diane says

    As much as I loved the fresh trees, like some of the commentators above, I am allergic to the ones we can afford and spending the holidays with hives and sneezing just takes a lot of the joy away.

  8. Rebeca says

    When I lived in Oregon I always got a real tree. When I moved to Texas those same trees I got in Oregon were at least twice the cost so I went with a fake tree. Then I also realized I no longer am congested during Christmas and after allergy testing I did find out that I am allergic to the trees. Every couple of years I do get a real tree but I do not put it inside I put it on the front porch.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Your comment reminded me that one year we put our fresh cut tree on the back deck because I had a feisty new kitten who kept wanting to climb the Christmas tree. :) It was really beautiful to look at, and none of the clean-up hassle when Christmas was over.

  9. says

    I grew up with a fake tree, and liked it. Until I married a guy who never had a fake tree and was not about to start.

    Now I would never go back. We go to the same family tree farm every year. The family has watched our kids grow up, go to college, marry, see the new ones, and one year, we went late in the season, for logistic reasons, and he was genuinely sad that we didn’t come thinking we moved on, until we showed up and he rejoiced!

    I and I didn’t even go into the benefits you talked about!

    Real tree. all the way.

  10. Monika says

    Love your article,
    Oh how I wish I could get a real Christmas Tree, the last real tree we had was early 90ties. Here in South Africa we celebrate Christmas in summer the only trees you can get are minute and look very anorexic.
    I grew up with real trees in Germany there is just nothing better the smell the look……….

  11. Cheryl Parker says

    I would love to have a real tree, but the last one we got I was sick from the day we brought it home till 2 months after it left. Actually my husband took it down before Christmas because of how sick I was. Staying in bed and multiple trips to the doctor is not how I want to remember the holidays, so we have a small fake tree.

  12. Lauren says

    Unfortunately the general public does not recycle real Christmas trees after the holidays. With how many dead/dying trees you see along the streets with the trash in the weeks after Christmas, it seems to me that real trees do cause more waste than fake because people are too lazy to recycle them, or just plain unaware that there is an alternative to just dragging them to the curb! Do you and Matt compost your tree after Christmas, or is there another way to recycle them? We have a small fake tree that my dad sent us, but we haven’t used it yet because we are always traveling for the holidays!

    • Bill says

      Lauren, I think that’s an unfair generalization to state that “the general public does not recycle real…” It’s also inaccurate! I consider myself and others I know to be a part of the general public. Sure, there will always be those that don’t recycle anything, even when it’s made easier to do so than not! In general however, I think more people are now aware of the advantages and do so, including trees. Where I live, you can’t put any sort of “yard waste” in the trash and will be fined if caught. This includes Christmas trees, wreaths and anything else that could be recycled or composted. We do both, composting what we create in our yard, but taking the Christmas tree to a nearby recycle center the first weekend after Christmas. I just tie it to the back of my vehicle and drag it on my way to do something else! I’ve been known to connect several, as I take a few from the neighborhood at the same time.

      As for those that do end up in the landfill, it is unfortunate, but the reality is that they will break down in less than a year or two, whereas the fake tree will be there for potentially thousands of years. Nobody knows how long they will last and the end result of their breaking down. Just like everything else we put in or on the ground… The tree however will help to build soil wherever it lands!

      Best to you and I hope you enjoy the season and your tree, regardless of the type!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Lauren, the township we used to live in had Christmas tree drop-offs after the holidays. Some trees were chipped, and some were sunk into the lakes/ponds in the township parks. We were always amazed at the towering piles of xmas trees people had dropped off…proof that many folks do take advantage of these services. It is frustrating to see trees dumped curbside, but remember these are biodegradable (unlike fake), and new trees are planted when one is cut.

  13. Michelle says

    Well…
    My dad bought my mom a fake tree on their first Christmas, and they still have it-25 years later, no land fill.
    And I would like to ask how you get rid of your Christmas tree? Because you can’t put it by the curb where I live.
    Then there’s the cost of money-some people don’t have and to shift around.
    And family togetherness? What about putting a tree, the same tree, together every year-in the warm, heated home?
    We’re both obviously bias so I’ll end here and hope you didn’t take this the wrong way-please post again, I LOVE YOUR BLOG!

    AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      That’s awesome they’re still using the same tree 25 years later!

      Many cities and townships have programs for recycling trees. The township we used to live in would publicize drop-off locations, and we were responsible for getting our tree there after the holidays.

      Quality family time can definitely be had no matter what the occasion. Funny you mentioned “the warm, heated home,” because growing up in Michigan, we definitely had to be prepared for a COLD trip to the tree farm most years. :)

  14. says

    We don’t purchase a real tree, or cut one ourselves, because we have nowhere to put it. The layout of our ground floor doesn’t allow for one. We do have a real one in our garden, but it’s alive and well and won’t be cut down.

    Our daughter has a small fake one in her room, which we got from her grandparents. I’m not throwing it out until it’s ruined.

  15. Megan says

    I grew up and always had a real tree and I hate fake trees. We now use a fake tree for convenience (like when we’re traveling a lot), but honestly, I’m allergic to that sucker. It collects so much dust. So, I think you can be allergic to both, it just depends on what your body will tolerate more!

  16. Debbie says

    We have a 9 ft. fake tree now. For years we had real trees and it got to where it wasn’t worth the headaches and sinus problems it caused for me. We actually have our tree up for a much longer time now, too, since there are no needles to deal with.

  17. Bill says

    I really feel for those that can’t get a real tree due to allergies or financial constraints or whatever. I grew up in FL with fake trees. Living in CO for my first Christmas after marrying, my wife and I decided to get a real tree instead of fake. We’ve never even considered anything else since then. We’ve moved several times, but always find a preferred local farm to walk, in search of our perfect family Christmas tree. (In our minds, every one has been perfect!) This year will be our 24th! Thanks to this article, we’ll be introducing the hot chocolate and cookies in a backpack to carry along… We’ll still go inside the shop for some fudge and a snack for the kids, for the tradition and fun, and to mingle with the other real tree fans. Thank you for the nice article that has now been shared on FB by us an many others, I’m sure.

  18. Kathleen says

    Our first real tree was our first Christmas in Virginia and was a Charlie Brown tree. 30 years, 8 homes, 4 kids and 4 grandchildren later, we still go on the hunt every year for a real tree. We cannot get them precut as we put them up the last week of Advent, around Dec 22 or so, and leave them up during the Christmas season at least until Epiphany or after the first or second week of January. Then we put them in our 3 acre pond for a fish habitat. We discuss whether to get a fake tree every year and come to the conclusion. Your description of the hunt for the perfect tree is just too much of a draw. As long as we can, we will have a real tree to celebrate Christmas.

  19. says

    My parents have used the same fake tree since before I was born (and I’m now in my mid-20’s). And it belonged to my father’s parents before that. I love the idea of a real tree, but there is something about this old, increasingly sparse, slightly leftward leaning tree that has become a Christmas tradition. As many perks as a real tree has, it can’t become a fixture of Christmas year after year. As I get older, looking at this tree reminds me that what Christmas means is more important than what it looks like. Soon it will be unsafe to set up, since the stand is becoming increasingly unstable. But we won’t throw it away. My Mom and I have already planned to make Christmas wreaths from the branches each of us can take with us and have as a part of our own Christmas traditions. Who says a fake tree HAS to be wasteful? :)

  20. Diane says

    I am for fake tree all the way! It’s so much easier and cleaner. Real trees come in the house with natural mold on them, and by the time you get rid of it, the mold level in your house is through the roof. No wonder so many get sick! I store my artificial tree in Rubbermaid containers and take it outside and shake any dust off of it, every year. I have allergies and so does my 3-year old, so for us it’s either an artificial tree, or no tree at all.

  21. says

    Hi Matt & Betsy,

    I grow up having the fresh cut tree, and the smell was amazing. Then over the years I thought purchasing fake was best cause in the long run I would be saving money(since I purchased it from Goodwill). Now I would prefer a fresh cut one, just like I would rather have a real fireplace. But down sizing to live in an RV or live aboard boat. Need to research out how to with very small spaces to enjoy these special traditions. Merry Christmas to you both.

    From The Hardman’s :)

  22. Ann Marie @ Cheeseslave says

    What a lovely article! I’m with you, real Christmas trees all the way. To me, it just isn’t Christmas without a real tree.

    Thanks for writing this – I was unsure about what the best choice was for the environment. Now I’m excited to get our tree! My 5-year-old and I are going to make homemade ornaments this year: popcorn and cranberry garlands, dried oranges hung with ribbon, and dough ornaments. This is what memories are made of.

    A very Merry Christmas to you both! Xoxo

  23. Britta says

    Hi,
    I too am a big fan of real Christmas trees! However… Living in south of Texas where “real” Christmas trees doesn’t grow and only way to pick your tree is to go to the grocery, Lowes, HomeDepot – or a “not real” pine tree farm – we bought our fake tree last year.
    I miss miss MISS the real tree but the fun and pleasure of going out in winter clothes to actually CUT your own tree is non existent so our kids – as a previous commenter also said – loves when we put the tree together all of us, put up the ornaments and keep it up for so much longer as its not a grey, brown dried out stick after 10 days – inside or outside, watered or not!
    If we lived anywhere else in a decent proximity of a REAL tree farm we would go back to get a real tree – and keep the fake tre safely in its storage till next time we would need it!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      A tree farmer I know once told us that those trees shipped to tree lots are already a few weeks old, and have been without water that whole time. No wonder they turn brown and lose their needles so quickly! He also said they are often sprayed with green paint to hide imperfections. Yuck!

      Hope you get to experience the cut-your-own Christmas again some day. I would really miss it too if I lived where they didn’t grow. :(

  24. Heaven Walton says

    Someone shared some really cool information with me this year about real Christmas trees and want to pass the word! Apparently you can replant the cut trees after you’ve used them for Christmas and they will continue growing! What you do is cut the bottom of the tree off just a bit. Then once you have it in your stand, make sure it stays very saturated the whole time it’s there. When Christmas is over, you take it outside and replant it (preferrably, you’ll dig a hole while the ground isn’t frozen). As long as the tree isn’t in bad shape before you buy it and you constantly keep water in the stand, it should take root and grow beautifully! I haven’t tried it out yet, but know a couple different people who have and it worked great. Yay!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Wow! We have not heard that before…that’s awesome! We’ll be looking into that. We always cut off a little bit of the tree before putting it in the stand, and are vigilant about watering. So, all these years we could have been replanting??? Thanks so much for sharing!

  25. Steven Horvat says

    As much as I would like to enjoy a real tree, the fact is that I sneeze and my eyes water and come christmas time I might as well be having it in the hospital. No fake is the way to go. One price for several years and then take them to the recycleing center where they are disposed of properly not the dump! I guess the parts where you are don’t believe in recycling?

  26. says

    Nothing beats a real Xmas tree. Back in my old country it was done differently; trees that were cut to thin out the new growth were sold for Xmas trees. Made sense, the country is small, no Xmas tree farms there. These trees would need to be cut anyway, and this way they got a nice “Swan Song.” They weren’t as pretty, they usually needed to be placed in a corner of the room, because they typically only had one “good side.”

    When I moved here I was surprised that you guys actually grow trees specifically for this purpose, and how pretty they look. As a matter of fact, we got some property up north and were considering starting a Xmas tree farm ourselves.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Very interesting Jana. The imperfect trees always work very well for us because it seems we’re always stuffing them in a corner.

      I don’t think a tree farm is easy work, as I have known a few xmas tree farmers, but they definitely enjoy it…along with so many families who visit the farms each winter. Good luck with your decision!

  27. says

    I prefer a real tree. I love the smell! When the season is over … we chop our tree up and use it as kindling for our fireplace. :) Thanks for the post … I will be hunting down a local tree-farm for this year’s tree.

  28. sage_brush says

    We’ve had both over the years, and are now firmly in the real tree camp. Nothing to compare to it. Additionally – we are fortunate to live in a woodsy area, and my husband always drags the tree to the back of the yard where other brush is piled up. (We live along a creek) Small mammals and even small birds shelter there during our brutal winters. We can even see that deer have curled up next to it at night, using it as a windbreak.

    It’s always fascinating to look at the different paw and claw prints in the snow. Tells a story all its own.

  29. says

    The best Christmas tree is in a flower pot. After Christmas you can plant a whole new tree instead of throwing away some dried already up .

  30. Alicia says

    A real tree is a lovely tradition. When my daughter was growing up we’d get a Charlie Brown tree and try to “plump” it up with spray-on snow. Not very green but I didn’t know better then. We would splurge and get a new ornament or two and would marvel at our wondrous creation. A couple of stockings and presents and we had Christmas!
    These days my husband and I use a fake tree and will continue to do so. I pack it up carefully each year and it should last indefinitely. When I go to Goodwill I see many fake trees that could be recycled back into use. I think everyone should do what’s best for their situation but not be wasteful or overspend.

  31. says

    I don’t like killing a tree for something as trivial as a Christmas tree. Given space, I would rather decorate a live tree in my yard.

    Typically though, I just decorate a small 3′ artificial tree I have had for ~8-9 years. If you are concerned about chemicals, there are a number of artificial tree makers providing environmentally friendly alternatives including utilizing recycled materials.

    Also if you want the article to be fair, then you need to consider the environmental impact of your local farmer and tree recycling programs. Does he water his trees? Does he use fertilizer? Does it utilize mechanized equipment that burns fossil fuels? How much fuel is burnt from all of the people traveling to the location?

    Also to be considered is the end result of the various local tree recycling programs. The tree may be used as fuel for energy purposes or chipped and turned into fuel pellets. If that is the case then any carbon trapping benefit is rendered moot.

  32. says

    I’m asthmatic although blessedly lightly and being a bit wheezy is a small price to pay. However, rather than chopping down a tree we bought a potted one and have managed not to kill it in the 12 months since (it survived by the skin of its needles) so we will either plant it out or repot it again. We’re in Victoria Australia so if we plant it outside we can open our gifts under the tree in the sunshine on Christmas morning. :)

  33. Jeremiah says

    I grew up with artificial trees. I remember the first year we had a real tree and it was great.
    My grandma bought her fake tree in 1970 and when she passed away in 1996 we had it donated to a local church that still uses it. My parents had a fake tree they bought in 1980 and donated it in 2000 to a local church. They did real trees for a few years and when my mom got tired of the prep work and watering (we all helped but she got tired of it) she went out and found a big, beautiful fake tree. We’ve used that one for around 6 years and this year she wants a live tree (5′ or so) and maybe the fake one will come out again next year.
    I live in a small studio apartment and having a fake tree provides me with safety (less likely to burn down the building) and the ease of city living. I don’t have to drag the tree hone and then into the alley, fix it up to come inside, sweep and clear the debris… etc.
    If I had my own home and a large yard I’d get a real tree, plant it and decorate it outside every year. I’d keep the little fake one and use it inside. It’s already done the damage to our environment, right? May as well get as much out of it as possible.

  34. says

    One of my favorite memories growing up is going out with my extended family and cutting down our own trees every year. Unfortunately I am not only allergic to the scent on pine, but to the touch as well. It makes me sad that my kids won’t experience having a real tree, but my health is more important. Maybe they’ll be able to have real trees when they are grown.

  35. Sarah says

    Every year, my mom says she is going to just purchase a fake tree, so that she doesn’t have to worry about it being watered and it can just be stored…and every year, wouldn’t you know, her GROWN (and not even in the house most of the time) children refuse to let her…so every year, at home, we have a real Christmas tree…I grew up in Oregon, with an abundance of Christmas tree farms, but we usually just go to one of the local corner lots with the trees already cut (major city people, what can I say?) or we purchase through the band at the local high school. Fundraiser! :-)

  36. Jess O. says

    What a timely article! My mom and I have been debating the pros and cons. I forwarded it to her, I’m sure she thought it was an argument for a fake tree (that’s the way I was leaning), she’ll be pleasantly surprised.
    We always had a real tree growing up. My husband and I got a fake tree years ago and I’m okay with it, but it’s not the same. Looks like we’ll have the best of both worlds this year ( we recently relocated to be closer to family), a real one at my parent’s house and the fake one here.

  37. Betsy Jabs says

    Not sure if this will work for all of you with allergies, but our local Christmas tree farm recommended spraying your fresh tree down with water to wash off allergens before bringing it into the house. Of course, this doesn’t apply to folks who are allergic to the actual pine tree, but it may be helpful for some. (And a bit of a hassle too, since it will have to dry before dragging it indoors.) Just thought I might add this. :)

  38. Sarah says

    I grew up with real trees and fell in love with a man who is terribly allergic to them, like so many others have commented. When we buy our house, we will invest in a nice, neat “half” artificial tree (one with a flat back that hangs on a wall), in keeping with most of our other minimalist decor.

    I foresee lots of wintery walks through forests in our future, so we can enjoy the nature without having to bring it inside our little hypo-allergenic sanctuary.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Your “hypo-allergenic sanctuary” comment had me cracking up! :) I’m picturing everything sterile and white, with you and the hubby walking around in hospital masks. ;) Sounds like leaving nature outdoors is your best bet. Lol.

  39. Julia Shultz says

    I LOVE real Christmas trees! When my German immigrant parents first came to the US they continued to use real candles on the tree as is customary. I’ll never forget how beautiful that was! Thank you for encouraging the purchase of a real tree ~ I agree, it’s worth it!

  40. Brenda says

    While I appreciate the thought, what are you supposed to use if you are highly allergic to conifers? I can’t be in the same room with pine/cedar/etc or else my entire face starts swelling and I get to the point I can’t see because of it. I currently have no choice but an artificial tree, no matter how much better they look are are for the environment.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      My apologies Brenda… a huge oversight on my part while writing this article! I never realized how many people were allergic to conifers. I definitely recommend doing what you have to do to stay healthy!

  41. Bridget says

    Thanks for this! Love the post. I am an adamant real tree advocate as well. I know this is not technically recycling, but at least it is not a landfill and it is a very fun tradition. Every year in January we have a big party at our house and invite our friends to bring their dried out real Christmas trees as well and we have a giant bonfire. Dried out pines can really burn! It is very fun and a fond childhood (or adult!) memory for everyone involved.

  42. Morningstar says

    I live in central Florida, so I am lucky enough to be able to plant trees whenever I want. So this year I have started a new family tradition: fruit trees in place of traditional Christmas trees. This year I’m using an orange tree. After Christmas I can plant it in the yard and over time I will have a whole orchard. I also love the looks on people’s faces when they see my tree.

  43. Rodney & Donna says

    Thanks to your article we have changed our family tradition into something we look forward to every year. We took your advice, I have lived in Lansing for almost 35 years and had no idea there was a Christmas tree farm like the one we went to called Tannenbaum Farms. We didn’t have time for homemade hot chocolate, but did stop and buy some on the way there. The kids had a blast running around looking the perfect Christmas tree. Our oldest boy used the provided handsaw and cart to cut it down and haul it back to the barn. My wife and I enjoyed the relaxing time of walking through the trees and playing with the kids. Next year we plan to make the choco at home! Thanks

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Yay!!! Tannenbaum Farms was our absolute favorite…we were just a few miles away from them when we lived there! We’re so glad you’ll be making this into a yearly tradition…such a fun outing to look forward to. Matt felt like we got jipped this year because the NC tree farm actually cut the tree for us once we picked it out, and he is used to being able to use his manly skills to cut it himself. :)

  44. ME says

    We had real tree’s growing up but I have fake trees now. I pulled one out of a dumpster that did not have a top. We found a nice big angel at the local thrift store and no one knew the difference. I gave that one away when I moved and found some from local yard sales for under $5 each. I figure they would end up in the landfill anyway so why not rescue them. I hardly ever buy anything new so they were already bought by someone else. I used to live in the forest and there were many Christmas tree farms around where I was. In my view they cleared perfectly good forest to put a fence around it and grow trees. It really makes no sense to me especially when you can go by your local thrift store or yard sale and get a fake one for super cheap that will last for the rest of your life.