Live vs. artificial Christmas trees: Choose your ever-green


Keifer Spore

Ken Spore hangs ornaments on family Christmas tree.

by Keifer Spore, Managing Editor

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“O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree How lovely are thy branches!”

This year’s crop of real Christmas trees is smaller and in higher demand. Perhaps an artificial tree will provide finer branches?

Some people have artificial Artificial Christmas trees that they’ve had for years. Our family uses a pre-lit Christmas tree that we bought several years ago. This isn’t our first artificial tree though. We’ve lost one to dead lights and lost another to a misbehaving dog. 

Before we had an artificial tree, our family would go out and cut down a tree with our grandparents every year before Christmas. Many other families have traditions like this, too. The “cut your own” tradition is strong with many families, even though the annual expense would be better spent on an artificial tree.

This year many tree farms around the country have had a shortage of trees. Junior Luke DeMember and his family go to Gaver Farm every year to choose their Christmas tree. This year was a bit different.

“The tree selection was pretty weak. Most of the trees were all pretty small,” said DeMember.  

Junior Thomas Bedard recently worked at Gaver Farms and helped sell trees. This was the first year that Bedard has worked at Gaver, so working while the trees were being sold was very  different to him.

“There wasn’t really a moment when a tree wasn’t being sold, and I don’t think there was a  single tree over 9 feet tall,” said Bedard. 

Customer takes home tree at Mountains Edge Tree Farms. (courtesy of Natalie Rebetsky)

There is a risk that comes with real Christmas trees if they aren’t cared for properly. According to the National Fire Protection Association, every year there are an average of 160 home fires caused by real Christmas trees in the United States. 

Captain Nalborczyk of the New Market Fire Department suggests homeowners take precautions if you have a real Christmas tree including, watering the tree daily, keeping the tree at least 3 feet away from any heat source, and turning off the lights whenever you leave the house or go to sleep.

“I have never responded to a Christmas tree related fire in the 16 years I have been in the fire department. That doesn’t mean they don’t happen though,” said Nalborczyk. 

At home Nalborczyk owns an artificial Christmas tree and has never owned a real tree. 

Retired Linganore employee MaryJo York had a house fire on Christmas day where a candle ignited a tree.  Everyone, including pets, were safe, but they spent a year re-building their home.

Which kind of tree does your family have?