Guest blog – by Matthew Gay, Gays Christmas Tree Farm, Augusta GA., GA Christmas Tree Association

It’s that time of year when we’re all getting ready for the holiday season. We look forward to spending time with family and friends. And besides the turkey or ham selection, preparations are made for Christmas.

Tree selection is a vital part of Christmas preparations. Choosing a real tree vs. an artificial tree is a decision each family has to make. Here are a few reasons I feel choosing a real tree is best:

  1. Provides a great family experience to go out and choose a tree, especially when visiting a choose-and-cut tree farm.
  2. Real trees actually provide a source of oxygen and help clean the air we breathe.
  3. Supports a local business vs. sending our money overseas.
  4. Live trees do require some care once selected. To ensure freshness they must be kept in water throughout the holiday season. Nothing smells better than a live Christmas tree!
  5. Once the season is over, live trees can be recycled for mulch or disposed of in the landfills, where they decompose and provide organic matter back to the earth. Artificial trees are made with petroleum-based products and other hazardous materials that are not good for our landfills.

Some folks think, “I don’t want to cut a tree down,” but keep in mind for every Christmas tree that is cut, three get planted to replenish the resource!

Christmas tree farming is a labor of love. Most farmers work other full-time jobs and grow Christmas trees as a hobby/job. COVID has been very difficult on everyone, and we need families to stand together to support local small businesses. At a tree farm, you are outside in an open area and can elect to wear face-covering if you choose.

I can honestly say, Christmas tree farmers are some of the hardest working people around. Farmers work for years to grow trees so families can come out to their farm and select one that’s just right for them. I would like to encourage everyone to visit your local tree farm and select a locally grown tree and support a local small business.

“It’s Christmas, keep it real!“