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Tree time: Real is 'greener'

Staff writers
December 6, 2012 — Putting up the Christmas tree is a favourite family tradition, but sometimes people have a tough time deciding between real or artificial. What kind of Christmas tree do you prefer?

A real tree can be an environmentally friendly choice
A real tree can be an environmentally friendly choice

Each year, many families ask each other, “should we get a real tree this year?” 

The Ontario Forestry Association says, it's definitely an environmentally friendly choice. 

“Artificial Christmas trees are a plastic product so that really is a petroleum based product,” says Carla Grant, with the Ontario Forestry Association.

Grant adds that although it may seem like buying an artificial tree is better for the environment because it can be re-used, that's not always the correct assumption.

“People always think re-use is the way to go, but consumer studies show that people are replacing their trees every five to seven years. So when you think about that they end up in the landfill and those trees are never going to degrade in landfills,” explains Grant. 

Over 500 farmers in Canada grow millions of trees each year for the Christmas season. 

“And even though people are cutting down trees...there's thousands and thousands that are still here. Throughout the year they're providing habitat for animals, they're improving our air, they're improving our water, so they really do provide a role,” says Grant. 

Real trees are also 100% biodegradable, so once they're taken down after the holidays they are mulched and used in municipal parks in the spring.

Do you have a real or artificial Christmas tree?
Do you have a real or artificial Christmas tree?

National Christmas Tree Day 

While real Christmas trees have been used for hundreds of years, this year marks the first nationwide celebration of National Christmas Tree Day. 

In August, the Canadian Christmas Tree Growers Association passed a motion declaring Saturday, December 8th as the national iconic holiday.

It's a way to promote the industry and the real harvest of Christmas trees.

The motion was supported by provincial associations from British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. 

"That Saturday is the busiest day of the Christmas tree season, so there's all kinds of activities already...and each individual farm is going to promote it in its own special way," says Shirley Brennan with the Christmas Tree Farmers of Ontario. 

Have you put up your Christmas decorations yet? Share pictures of your tree in our online photo gallery. Your photo could be featured on The Weather Network on TV.

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