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The Great Christmas Tree Debate: Real vs Artificial

2023-12-01 20:53


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  • Should you get a real Christmas tree or an artificial tree? SERVPRO found out there are benefits and risks to both.

    The debate happens every year. Should you get a real Christmas tree or an artificial Christmas tree? Here’s a breakdown of the benefits, and possible dangers, of both.

    The Benefit of a Real Christmas Tree

    A real Christmas tree provides more than just a wonderful pine scent. The Texas A&M Forest Service points out that real Christmas trees benefit the environment and the economy. Each year, an average of 20 to 25 million real Christmas trees are sold in the United States. Additionally, nearly 100,000 people or more are employed each year by the real Christmas tree industry.

    Real Christmas trees contribute to forestry management. Before harvesting, Christmas trees are allowed to grow for eight to ten years. Dense forests lead to unhealthy forests, says the Forest Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, so it considers real Christmas trees a healthy way to cull forestry. “Live Christmas trees are a cradle-to-cradle product. It’s a product that mimics the regenerative cycles of nature.” Live trees are also biodegradable, and once the holiday season is over, it can be ground up and used for mulch. The U.S. Forestry Service goes on to say, “Christmas tree farms provide a healthy wildlife habitat, mitigate erosion and support farmers and local economies.”

    The Danger of a Real Christmas Tree

    However, fire professionals warn there is a real danger with real Christmas trees. According to insurance companies, a Christmas tree is always a fire hazard. The National Fire Research Laboratory reports that, statistically, more than 200 house fires are reported each year involving Christmas trees These fires cause an average of six deaths, 16 injuries, and more than $16 million in property damage.

    Insurance professionals say the fire risk of real Christmas trees begins when the needles of the tree begin to dry out. A living tree should be watered daily and should not be kept for more than four weeks. Research by Cavallo & Signoriello Insurance Agency also found real Christmas tree fires are usually a result of electrical problems or heat sources that are kept too close to the tree. Dried-out Christmas trees are a fire hazard.

    The Benefit of an Artificial Christmas Tree

    More than 80% of U.S. households choose an artificial Christmas tree each year, according to the Regulatory Review. Many people note the cost savings of an artificial Christmas tree as their reason for making the purchase. An artificial tree can be used year after year, and depending on which style you choose, can even cost less than a real Christmas tree. An artificial tree is also convenient because, as Inspiration Wholesale U.K. points out, an artificial Christmas tree requires no maintenance, watering, and will not drop needles on the floor. There is no disposal of a tree of this type and there is no transportation of a heavy tree to bother with. Artificial trees are characteristically light and break down into smaller lightweight sections for storage.

    A large number of people are allergic to trees and find that an artificial tree is a better option. An artificial tree can give relief to allergy and asthma sufferers in your household, making this a popular choice for Christmas.

    The Danger of an Artificial Christmas Tree

    Typically, artificial Christmas trees are a safer choice than real Christmas trees. However, according to the Burn and Reconstructive Centers of America, even an artificial tree can pose a fire hazard. “While most artificial trees are less flammable than live trees, artificial trees can still be fire or electrocution hazards. Artificial trees are typically flame retardant or resistant but, if the fire burns hot or long enough, the resistance can wear off, causing the whole tree to catch fire.”

    If you are adding lights to the artificial tree, professionals advise that you check the packaging that came with it. Instructions will include a bulb count recommendation for the size of tree you have purchased. If the tree is pre-lit, check the tree to make sure there are no exposed wires.

    Christmas Tree Safety

    Whether your Christmas tree is real or artificial, firefighters warn that decorations and ornaments should be non-flammable. They also advise that the tree be turned off or unplugged when no one is home. Supervised lighting is essential in preventing fire emergencies during the holiday season.

    When Fire Damage Happens, Call SERVPRO®

    If a fire damages your home or business this holiday season, call SERVPRO. No matter what happens, we are ready to answer your call, day or night. Our 2250 locations in the U.S. and Canada are always available to provide professional fire damage cleanup, repair, and restoration. You can expect an immediate response from us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including all holidays.

    We also offer water damage cleanup, construction services, and document restoration and deodorization services. SERVPRO offers services for residential and commercial properties including schools, hospitals, restaurants, offices, and more. Call your local SERVPRO today to schedule a carpet cleaning, deep cleaning, or ask about our 24/7 clean up, restoration, and construction services.

    For more information about SERVPRO and the cleanup and restoration industry, review our FAQ and Glossary.


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