The Value of Christmas Trees

"...there is no reason why the joy associated with the Christmas evergreen may not be a means of arousing in the minds of children an appreciation of the beauty and usefulness of trees; and keen appreciation of the beauty and usefulness of trees is a long stop toward the will to plant and care for them (Arthur Sowder, US Forest Service, 1949)."

Friday, October 1, 2010

Time for Annual Bashing of Christmas Trees

It's October -- time for Halloween, Christmas decorations to pop up in stores, and the annual bashing of real Christmas trees. Thought I'd share the following that I sent in to a blog connected with artificial trees praising them as the environmental choice.


"...there is no reason why the joy associated with the Christmas evergreen may not be a means of arousing in the minds of children an appreciation of the beauty and usefulness of trees; and keen appreciation of the beauty and usefulness of trees is a long step toward the will to plant and care for them (Arthur Sowder, US Forest Service, 1949)."

A Christmas tree is a celebration of life -- renewed life in the dead of winter -- renewed life because of the birth of a Savior. How can that be celebrated with a big plastic brush? Because that's all an artificial tree is no matter how lifelike. It's not a tree. It never provided a perch for a butterfly or protection for a bird from a summer storm. It was never brushed by a deer or bear as they walked by. It never felt the pull of the sun to make it break bud and grow. It was never alive as a real tree was.

So what if you cut it down? Another will be planted in its place. That's the circle of life, after all. If people really wanted to be environmentally conscious at Christmas there would be no lights, no presents, no feasts, no visits to family. Cutting down one tree at Christmas is nothing compared to the trees cut down to supply an average home's paper needs for the year. But a real tree becomes part of the family if only for a few weeks. And after the season is over, it can be recycled into mulch to provide protection to new plants in the spring.

Don't we have enough plastic from China already in our lives? Shouldn't a really great Christmas have a real tree?

So yes, Virginia. It's OK to use a real tree to wait for Santa on Christmas Eve. It will make the Jolly Old Elf smile to himself to think that not all the traditions of yesteryear have not been forgotten.

3 comments:

  1. First: I am an advocate for real trees. I have always purchased my tree from a local choose and cut operation and hopefully always will. I truly enjoy the whole process. Thankfully I can
    afford to purchase a real tree every year.

    You make some excellent points based on environmental awareness and emotion. Both valid reasons. However, for many families this choice comes down to a simple dollar and cents decision. Also a valid reason. Long term, they see it to be less expensive and more convenient to buy a high-quality artificial tree. All the facts and statistics show most families now use artificial trees and this percent continues to trend upward. This choice does not mean these people are unintelligent or uncaring about the
    environment. This is simply what they feel they can afford and it works for them. Thankfully we all have the freedom to choose and some families
    don't have to go without a tree because they can't afford it.
    One final point: Speaking of bashing, its getting very old and tiresome for some people associated with the Christmas tree industry to continually bash the Chinese as a way to promote real trees. Lets not resort to race baiting as a way to convince people to use real trees. It does not reflect well on the industry.

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  2. I thought that Anonymous had some good points. In response, real trees come in a range of costs. I know when I was a student, all I could afford was a white pine, a rather inexpensive tree, and I enjoyed it. But even expensive trees cost no more than a good dinner out which in the holiday season is in the reach of most Americans. As far as bashing the Chinese, my comment was rather flippant, but was certainly not racially motivated. I think it is important to realize where most artificial trees are coming from. China does not have the greatest track record in either protecting the environment during manufacturing or worker rights. So I was not bashing the Chinese as a race, but rather the Chinese government which does not, in my opinion, compete fairly with the US. In my opinion, other countries which do not require their industries to protect their workers and the environment should have their products taxed accordingly to be sold in the US -- thereby putting everyone on the same playing field.

    In any case, thanks for much for your support of real trees and your interest!

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  3. Thanks for clearing up the comment on the people of China. I only mentioned it because I have heard the same message multiple times from advocates of real Christmas trees. An Extension Agent in western North Carolina never misses an opportunity to say something negative about trees from China in workshops. Would it not be more productive for her to just state positive attributes of "home-grown" and "locally grown" natural trees? Let's leave the negative comments to the politicians. Remember, some people have relatives of Chinese descent in their families. I myself find these comments by impartial state educators to be inappropriate and disrespectful.

    As far as taxing foreign products to meet "our" standards, I would be very careful about seeking that requirement. You will end up paying a LOT more for everything from clothes, to cars, to electronics, appliances and much more. Be careful what you wish for.

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