Real or artificial: which Christmas tree is better for your wallet and the environment?
- December 3, 2022
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Christmas trees – real and artificial – are getting more expensive this year.
Most wholesale growers say they have to charge up to 15% more. The average cost of a real tree was nearly $70 in 2021, according to the National Christmas Tree Association. This year, a real tree is expected to cost between $80 and $100, according to the Real Christmas Tree Board.
“There’s a lot of work that goes into a Christmas tree,” said Tina Callas, the owner of the Los Angeles Christmas tree lot.
Callas said she also sees supply shortages.
In the case of artificial trees, there are high shipping costs from China.
Larry Gold, president of Aldik Home, which sells premium trees with built-in LED lights in Los Angeles, said he also needs to raise prices. Some of his trees cost more than $1,000. Gold said cheaper trees may not look as real or last as long.
But which tree has more of an impact on the environment – the real ones that are cut down every year or the artificial plastic ones that are reused?
Bill Ulfelder, executive director of the Nature Conservancy, said a real tree is “undoubtedly” better for the environment since live Christmas trees are a renewable resource.
“The only debate is about the carbon footprint,” said Ulfelder.
Ulfelder explained that you would have to keep an artificial Christmas tree for years for it to potentially have a lower carbon footprint than a real tree.
“I’ve seen some numbers that say seven or eight years. I’ve seen some as long as 20,” he said. “So it’s not an insignificant amount of time.”