Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dreaming of a Green Christmas

One of the things I love most about Mr. Wonderful is that he calls me out on my nonsense. He tells me to calm down when I’m worked up over something silly. He reminds me that I need to think positive if I start dipping into negative nelly territory. And this past weekend, he gave me a mini-Charlie Brown smackdown to get me to stop being a holiday hypocrite.

I was talking about getting my Christmas tree this year and Mr. W said, “It’s amazing to me that a composting Prius driver would actually kill a tree just to stick it in the living room at Christmas.”

Uhhh...

He was kind of right. I use cloth napkins. I lament the fact that the polar bears are drowning. I buy green cleaning products…but I’ve yet to purchase a fake Christmas tree.

I’ve thought about doing this for the last couple years, but I think laziness more than anything has stopped me. Now that I have been called out on my inconsistent behavior, however, there is no excuse.

So this week, I will head to Lowe’s or Target and see what I can find in the way of plastic trees. I will not have needles in my car or on my carpet this year. I will not grapple with the guilt of throwing my crunchy tree out on the curb at New Year’s. And next year, I will only have to walk to the garage when I decide it’s time to decorate.

Mr. W says I’m making a good investment for our holiday future. But I have to wonder how many plastic trees are clogging up the landfills in this country…

16 comments:

laura said...

I have had a fake tree for the last several years and it was great! but, this year i decided on a real tree for a change. And no, i do not feel guilty about it. Look at it this way, they are already cut and sitting in the lot, if you don't buy it, someone else will...and all the leftover trees that don't get purchased really go to waste.

Brian Watkins said...

interesting question you pose at the end. I wonder if having a plastic tree really is better for the environment. It's not like we're cutting down the rain forest in order to produce Christmas trees. People that sell Christmas trees need to replant after they cut a tree down. Otherwise, they'd be out of business pretty soon.

Mike129 said...

This would appear to be a point of much disagreement and discussion. Here are just a couple of articles on the topic:

Real vs. Fake

Is A Fake Christmas Tree Green"

To me it seems that the live trees are the way to go as long as they are not grown in place of hardwood forests (or other potentially important crops).

Wow, that was awkward said...

I used to think that way too, but then when I moved to Colorado I found out how important it is to have certain forest areas cleared to control fire danger and promote regrowth. There are very specific areas the cutting occurs and we are actually helping by putting these trees to good use when they will be cleared by the forest service anyway.

Mr. W(rong) said...

Okay, so after a bit of research, apparently I might be wrong on this topic. It seems that Christmas tree farms are grown for the sole purpose of cutting and replanting. Which probably isn't any worse than what FTD does for all flowers.

I still have to ask the question though of which is worse. Is a one time plastic tree making process and delivery worse than 8 years of farming, tractors, pesticides, chain saws, delivery, garbage collection, mulching and then delivery of the mulch?

Anonymous said...

I love my fake tree and after a few days with a furnace on, a real tree doesn't have the pine scent anyhow. For the price of real trees these days, the fake tree is paid for in nothing flat and when adorned with beauty, it creates the same Christmas spirit. Also, it always looks perfect year after year.
Mom

thecoconutdiaries said...

The way the economy is going in California, you may end up eating that tree for sustenance so go with the one that tastes best.

justrun said...

I have to admit, green-wise I struggle with the justification. But mess-wise, and cost-wise, and time-wise, I like the fake tree. And my favorite part, other than the scent that soon fades, is the light it gives the room when decorated (and with all the other lights off), which the fake tree provides quite well. :)

Amy Turpin said...

What about a live tree in a pot that you bring in every year and decorate and then put back out on your porch/backyard the rest of the year???

Dingo said...

I was just going to make Amy's suggestion. Mr. Dingo and I have two dwarf pines that we've bought over the years. They now sit in pots outside on our terrace.

geekhiker said...

I have a fake tree, a smaller one at about four feet tall. I bought it a couple of years ago and re-lamped the whole darn thing in a custom lighting scheme.

I think both sides have valid arguments, so I suppose none of us should have any form of tree at all. Maybe a locally-grown, completely native manzanita bush might be better.

Oh, well, until those are more readily available, I'll get several more uses out of this try and, hopefully, they'll have figured out a way to recycle it by the time I wear it out!

Jane Monepenny said...

I grew up with fake trees all my life: easy clean-up, easy installation and easy yearly recycling! I only had a real one once when I actually got to cut the tree down and it was fun for about the first day before it got messy.

Come to the dark side, Mel! After all, "spirit of the season" is what's important and all these cheese. :p

Hannah said...

We always had a fake tree. But not to be environmentally friendly, it was because my parents were worried it would catch fire and burn the house down.

So I am all for real ones because of my years of real tree deprivation. :)

Emily said...

DOOOON'T DOOO ITTTT. Nothing can replace a real tree. And that's all I have to say about that.

Julia said...

I was listening to Talk of the Nation (I believe) on NPR last night. The topic was on greening Christmas. From her studies, she said the most responsible option (if you're going to get a xmas tree) was a locally grown chopped down yourself tree. The fake trees require a lot of toxic chemicals to make and those chemicals are released into the environment.

I had trouble finding the show to link to. Anyone else hear it?

SoMi's Nilsa said...

It's hard for this Jew to wrap her head around a fake tree. Good for you for going to something you can reuse every year. If I were in the tree buying market, I think I'd find a place that replants new trees for every tree it cuts. Seems like a good compromise to me.