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"Thy leaves are so unchanging!" It might be true the song wasn't written in celebration of artificial Christmas trees, but there should be someone out there singing their praises because they happen to be awesome.
Some people think artificial trees somehow detract from the holidays, and there is something to be said about nostalgia and the smell of pine, but it's hard to deny the long list of benefits that come with buying a fabricated tree.
Yes, artificial trees are made of plastic and it's easy to end the argument there. On the flipside, though, cut Christmas trees are an agricultural crop in the U.S. that produces over 20 million trees per year. That's a lot of pesticide and herbicide, which means a lot of contaminated runoff every year as more trees are grown to serve demand.
Conversely, artificial trees are reusable year after year and don't require watering or recycling. Eco-friendly energy-saver trees are designed to last 10 years and come with long-lasting lights that require little power. Taken in total it adds up to environmental savings over the long run.
Once upon a time one of the arguments against artificial trees was that they looked ... well, artificial. That was a long time ago, though, and now fabricated Christmas trees look just as lifelike as the real thing. In fact, they can often look a lot healthier if the tree farmer over-sprayed this year's crop.
Perhaps even better, though, is that artificial trees now come in a wild array of styles, sizes and colors in addition to the stately and ever-popular evergreen. Frosted Christmas trees, colored Christmas trees ... even upside-down Christmas trees are available to spice up the holidays and make for a start to new traditions.
An artificial tree comes in the mail, out of the box and - snap! It's done. The rest of the time is spent doing fun stuff like decorating and stacking presents under it. There's no maintenance and no cleanup, and when it's time to come down there's no mess, and no stress.
Maintenance of cut trees starts at the sales lot and involves dispelling nightmarish images of an unsecured Christmas tree pinwheeling into oncoming traffic. If it makes it home, it has to be watered frequently lest it lose its needles before the big day. Then there's the sap. Oh, the sap. The nostalgic scent fades far too fast to make it worthwhile. And finally, there's the disposal. What's with that bag? Getting a cut tree into one of those is like trying to refold a new map.
A single cut tree is a bargain - a decade of cut trees can start to add up. According to the American Christmas Tree Association (yes, it's real) the average price of a cut tree is about $50. So, that's $500 over ten years, not accounting for inflation.
An artificial tree can cost as little as $30 and for a few more bucks they even come with lights already strung and ready to plug in. Of course, that doesn't mean there's no room for tradition and ceremony. It'll still need all the ornaments, and those are really what make a Christmas tree "real."