Christmas trees: Dead, fake or alive?

Some tree choices are greener than others

Fake: Chances are, your fake tree was made in China (largely out of polyethylene) and will travel on container ships and big rigs on the way to the department store, coughing up CO2 along the way (about 62 kilograms emmitted per tree, according to But if you’re committed, you’ll be getting only one for the rest of your life.

Tree farm: Even though cutting down a tree cuts down on carbon-sequestering, many Christmas trees come from farms growing trees that wouldn’t otherwise be planted. And there are many cut-your-own or pick-and-cut farms within a short driving distance from Chico (Visit for a listing of tree farms in the Butte County area.) Tree lots do truck in their trees, but given our proximity in the center of the state, chances are that at least some of the vendors didn’t haul them too far. As with anything, check the source.

Live tree: There’s really no down side to getting your own live conifer in a pot. Keep it around for a few Christmases, then plant it in the yard and get another one! You can pick up a full size tree at Little Red Hen in Chico (189 E. Eighth St.) for as little as $75, and starters are as cheap as $6.