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Fake vs. Real Christmas Trees and their Environmental Impact

Image courtesy of Media From Wix

Before reading, ask yourself what's better for the environment, real or fake Christmas trees? To answer this question, also think about how Christmas trees environmentally impacts the Earth.

Origins of Christmas Trees come from not the Christian origin but instead a Pagan one that was celebrated towards the Pagan god Thor, which can be dated back to Germany in the year 723. It was then later molded into the Christian faith over a course of years, along with the tale of Santa Claus leading to the holiday of Christmas that we know today.

The Christmas tree industry gains on a yearly average anywhere from nine hundred million dollars to over one billion dollars, with the industry selling trees anywhere from fifty to over seventy dollars each. Real trees are cheaper than fake trees, especially due to the want for fake trees to last for longer than one holiday season thus, leading people to buy higher quality fake trees. However, in the long run while fake trees may be more effective for the consumer it is not for the earth’s environment. Despite the thinking that we are cutting down the trees they are proven to have helped the environment to a larger extent than making plastic fake trees.

With fake Christmas trees the consumer thinks about the positive effects of said tree and the short-term effects of the real Christmas trees, which leads to the belief that fake are more sustainable compared to real, which sadly is false. The fake Christmas tree industry sells on average around ten million trees a year, with ninety percent of them being shipped through airplanes leading to a high carbon footprint that effectively wouldn’t need to be there if less were bought and produced. Alongside that, they are made out of plastic, and other materials that are becoming increasingly known for not being recyclable.

Whereas the real Christmas tree industry takes up a smaller portion of the carbon emission footprint due to their own personal nature and less shipping, since most people buy their real Christmas trees locally. A surprisingly lesser-known fact provided from The Nature Conservancy is that "350-500 million growing on tree farms across the U.S., only 30 million trees are harvested for Christmas each year.” Which leads to more money being provided to local farmers, helping not only the real Christmas tree industry but the farmer industry as well. But the best part of it all, is that with real Christmas trees they can be recycled or adapted to be more sustainable every year. Plus, real Christmas trees have a much better smell compared to fake plastic ones.

If you celebrate Christmas or know someone else who does, be sure to remember and pass on the long and short-term effects of real vs fake trees for next year!



Pittman, Cody. “Christmas - December 25.” National Today, 3 Oct. 2022,

Tikkanen , Amy. “How Did the Tradition of Christmas Trees Start?” Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., 2 Dec. 2022,


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