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What percent of the 90 million US households that display a Christmas tree will use an artificial one? As is common with statistics, it depends upon the source. The American Christmas Tree Association says 81%, while the National Christmas Tree Association says 44%.

Artificial Christmas trees are older than most of us think.

The first were made in Germany in the 1880s and were goose feathers painted green. In 1930, the Addis Brush Company made artificial Christmas trees by attaching toilet scrubber bristles to aluminum skeletons. The arguments for fake trees are their practicality and variety. Real trees are nostalgic, organic, and environmental.

Now there is something else these two associations disagree on.

According to their website, “The American Christmas Tree Association is a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate the public with factual data to help consumers make intelligent decisions about Christmas trees and the Christmas tree industry.” A new study the ACTA sponsored says the manner in which artificial trees are disposed of is the defining element –  what they call “end of life treatment options.” They say the harsher environmental impact that comes from fake trees inevitably ending up in landfills is cancelled out when you keep your tree for five years or more. 

The National Christmas Tree Association, who represents sellers of real trees, rejected the study’s findings, saying it was fall-off-your-horse simple that a tree made out of oil, turned into PVC plastic in China and shipped over on a boat, cannot be better than growing a real tree.”

The ACTA says there is no such thing as a bad Christmas tree.

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