Fir or Fake?

Dear Noel, I’m in the middle of a fierce debate in my home at the moment about whether to put up a real tree or an artificial one this Christmas. Can you help settle our argument?

Signed, On the Fence

Dear Fence

Yeah sure, I can settle your argument. But first just give me a minute to ensure the smooth transition of President-elect Trump, just after I untangle Britain’s exit out of Europe and deliver everlasting peace to the Middle East.

This tree debate has been raging for centuries.

If you’ve been a loyal subscriber here at Festive Treason you may have read in an earlier post where Saint Boniface was the guy attributed to starting the whole Christmas tree tradition, back when everyone wore funny hats and long pants.

The tradition eventually made it’s way to the United States through German immigrants, where the Christmas tree trend kicked off, around the same time the native American Indians were getting kicked off their land.

The take up of trees included both real and artificial versions and since then there’s been debate about what sort of household yours is – Fir or Fake.


Comedian Ernest Hemingway once wrote: “If my Valentine you won’t be, I’ll hang myself on your Christmas tree.”

Seems Hemingway didn’t profess which type of tree to hang himself on, but as always when I need authentic tree advice I consult The American Christmas Tree Association. That’s right it’s the Association (or ACTA), whose mission is “To provide the public with the data necessary for them to make educated, informed decisions when purchasing Christmas trees.”

Why don’t we have organisations like this to help us with the important things in life, like who to vote for? Sorry, I forgot. That’s what the news is for.

So here are the expert’s facts* to help you decide which tree you should have this year:

  • Fir trees are more popular, with 21.6 million purchased versus 12.9 million fake trees
  • Fir trees are cheaper; $US46 per tree versus $US78 for a fake

The numbers seem to favour Fir trees. But, Fake trees last longer. You could own one for a lifetime so that’s better for the environment. Well, that may be the case, but when is cutting down over 20 million trees in the U.S. alone good for the environment?

So there’s really no strong argument for either Fir or Fake. Both have long enough histories to be considered traditional. Both are generally pretty ugly and both will do the job of hanging your favourite Christmas decorations, in addition to Ernest Hemingway.

Fence, the best advice I can give you right now is to quit trying to solve this one. So snap yourself out of United Nations mode. Get off the fence. There’s nothing wrong with a good all-in, punch throwing, family scrap to settle your argument and as we say here at Festive Treason, Christmas is the best time of year for it.

As for everyone else, it’s clearly the season to be voting.

Just assuming you partake of all this nonsense, what type of tree will you have at your place this year? Fir or Fake?

Yours, Noel

*source: ACTA research by Nielsen, 2011. Note: 10,000 trees were destroyed during the conduct, evaluation and printing of this research report.

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