Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

Reader Response: Real vs Artificial Christmas Trees

Ruben Holthuijsen / Flickr

Many Americans opt for fake trees like this one during the holiday season.

Here’s a little known fact: fake Christmas trees were invented to help the environment. The first artificial trees were created in Germany in the 19th century. Made of goose feathers painted green, the trees were intended to prevent deforestation, according to researcher James Hewitt.  These days trees are made of metal and plastic and shipped in from China, prompting a lot of people to worry about their environmental impact.

Last week we reported on a recent study that said those concerns were overblown. Although, a lot can be done to lessen the impact of either fake or real trees, the reality is that either of the two options has less of an environmental impact than the typical daily actions of someone in the United States. The study says, “The impact of the tree life cycle, for all scenarios, is less than 0.1% of a person’s annual carbon footprint and therefore is negligible within the context of the average American’s lifestyle.”

A lot of you had problems with the study or were looking for more information. We decided to follow up with some of your burning questions. Here’s a look at your responses to the “settled” debate about the impact of holiday trees.




  • Tree Girl 22

    The American Christmas Tree Association based in Hollywood CA is comprised of a very few Artificial Christmas tree manufacturers and importers (most fake trees are produced overseas). The American Christmas Tree Association promotes artificial Christmas trees and has an extreme bias on their position. The National Christmas Tree Association is comprised of thousands of AMERICAN Christmas tree farmers that produce REAL Christmas trees on land throughout the United States and create REAL jobs for hundreds of thousands of REAL Americans. Your choice. Fake or Real, Giant Box-store or Family Farm, American or Chinese.

  • We started a city wide tree composting 15 yrs ago. However conifer forests do not support wildlife as hardwoods do. So how about a conifer decorated in your yard &something small in the house. Or how about Hannukkah which is very environmentally friendly. Happy holidays

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