What’s Your Favorite Christmas Tree, Real or Fake? [COLUMN]
We’re not Scrooges or Grinches around here.
One of my colleagues put up a Christmas tree the other day at his desk. It’s a Charlie Brown tree, squiggly with one red bulb.
I like it.
I also like the office tree that another coworker decorated on Tuesday. It’s a little taller than Greg Jannetta’s pitiful tree, though not by much, and it is a lot fuller.
People who visit the station will see that we’re in the holiday spirit. Or that we're at least trying. Even Yoda, who holds a candy dish at the front office, has a Christmas bell around his neck.
Both of the trees are artificial – what they probably should be if you’re decorating this early in the season. At least that's been my experience.
I say early because it's not December yet and I have a problem putting up real trees too early. I'll explain.
My wife and I tried putting up a real tree in early one year, and by Christmas day there was a smattering of dried needles that carpeted our carpet. We put water in the basin often, but apparently it wasn’t often enough – but we eventually found out why: an inside pet had been drinking the water, even though she had her own water bowl.
There are no inside pets here at the station, but even if there were it wouldn’t matter because, like I said, the trees here are artificial.
I think that's a good thing. Apparently so does Kat, one of our dedicated office women and the one who decorated the not-quite-Charlie-Brown tree. She told me that before her daughter developed allergies, she preferred real trees, but she had much the same problem my wife and I had. The pitiful tree died before Christmas day.
"There wasn't enough water in the world to keep it watered," she told me. It became a fire hazard with all those dried needles.
The tree thing has been on my mind this week, and I decided to look up some numbers. Here’s what I found: Between 25 and 30 million evergreens are sold in the U.S. every year for Christmas, according to the National Christmas Tree Association.
Most of the Christmas trees sold are grown in Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Washington. The association says there are around 350 million trees currently growing on Christmas tree farms in the U.S. and that on average it takes about 7 years to grow a 6- to 7-foot tree, though sometimes as long as 15 years and as few as four.
But there apparently is a change taking place in the number of trees being sold, noticeable last year.
In 2017, artificial trees saw a spike in sales, partly due to the higher prices that real Christmas trees were selling for, according to a Dec. 11, 2017 report by USA Today.
It’s true: real Christmas trees can be expensive.
My family and I did buy an artificial tree, which we’ve been using for a few years now, but it wasn’t just the cost of real trees. It was convenience, partially -- and because we got tired of vacuuming the dried pine needles that we couldn't seem to keep on the tree.
Don't get me wrong, there is a real argument for having a real Christmas tree. I've been on both sides of the debate, and I won't deny it when we put up our artificial tree: I do miss the scent of a real evergreen.
Now it's your turn.
What kind of Christmas tree does your family put up for the holiday? And the more probing question is, why?