Here's my silly and somewhat embarrassing Christmas tree story. Growing up, it was always a big family event to go get the Christmas tree. My first Christmas out of college, I lived in a small apartment, and had reasoned that it was impractical to have a real tree. So embracing my new-found practicality and my credit card, off I went to get a fake tree from the local Target. We pulled into the parking lot and got out of the car, but as we started walking toward the store, all of the sudden I burst into tears, much to the astonishment of the dear man I was with. Alarmed, he said, "What is it, what's wrong?"
And I, in a perfectly ridiculous and unintelligible way said, "Nothing."
"Okay, you are crying in a parking lot. Clearly something is wrong."
"I don't want to do this."
"What?" He put both hands on my shoulders, "Go to Target?"
"I don't want a fake tree. I want a real tree."
And without saying another word, the lovely man turned me around and put me back in the car and drove to the Boy Scout tree lot, where he froze as he patiently shook out 20 trees for me to look at, whereupon I finally chose the first one, which was far too enormous for my apartment. And I was blissfully happy. The End.
In honor of Christmas tree stories throughout history, here are the Jennings & Gates top ten reasons to buy a real Christmas tree this year.
10. Buying a real tree promotes sustainable agriculture. For every tree harvested, 2 or 3 seedlings are planted in its place.
9. Christmas tree farms stabilize soil, protect water supplies and provide refuge for wildlife while creating scenic green belts. Often, Christmas trees are grown on soils that could not support other crops.
8. Tree farming is a labor of love. The growing time for a 6-foot tree, which is average retail sale height, is anywhere from 7 to 15 years.
7. Most Christmas tree growers are small family farms. If you believe that we need more family farms in the United States, then vote with your feet. Buying a real Christmas tree is one simple way that you can effect real change.
6. Buying a real Christmas tree protects land near your home from development, and keeps your dollars local. There are about 15,000 Christmas tree growers in the U.S., and over 100,000 people employed full or part time in the industry.
5. Tree farms clean the air we breathe. Real Christmas trees absorb carbon dioxide and other harmful gases and emit fresh oxygen. Just one acre of Christmas trees cleans the air for 18 people. With approximately one million acres producing Christmas trees in the United States, that translates into oxygen for 18 million people every day. But farmers must make a living, so if people don't buy their trees, they won't grow them.
4. The tree buying trip is a memorable tradition for children and grandchildren. No one ever looks back on their childhood and says fondly, "Wow, I remember the time we went to the big-box Super Store and picked out the fake tree made in China and lugged the box to the car."
3. Most fake trees and wreaths are made in Korea, Taiwan or China and shipped by plane to the United States. But fake trees don't last forever. When they start to look ratty, they don't go back to Korea or Taiwan or China, they end up in our landfills and will never deteriorate.
(Don't worry about buying a live tree and re-planting it, you don't need to- a cut real Christmas tree will biodegrade quickly and put valuable nutrients back into the soil.)
2. A real tree or wreath smells good. Like outdoors. Fake trees and wreaths make you cry.
And the number one reason (as if you needed another one) to buy a real Christmas tree? Simple. A real Christmas tree is beautiful.
Please share your Christmas tree stories with us...