Pine or plastic?
December 13, 2005
AVON – Wearing a puffy red winter jacket and beanie, a middle-aged man circled a stand of plastic trees in Wal-Mart. Frowning, he checked price tags and touched the synthetic leaves. Finally deciding, the man grabbed a box containing pieces of a white Christmas tree with lights and left the store. “The white trees are really popular this year – much more than the green ones,” said Wal-Mart manager Francine Velasquez. “Especially the ones with lights, it just saves a whole step.”In Velasquez’s six years working at Wal-Mart, she said she’s seen plastic trees gaining popularity. “It saves a who lot of work,” Velasquez said. “These are in a box. You just throw it into your trunk, and you don’t have to vacuum all those pine needles … There are a gazillion reasons.”Velasquez said she also attributes the increasing popularity of artificial trees to rising environmentalism. “There’s a lot of people who are into saving the environment,” Velasquez said. “These (plastic) trees are reusable.”But ecomall.com, an environmental activism website, recommends avoiding artificial trees at all costs, calling them “petroleum-based, wasteful products.” Instead, ecomall.com recommends getting a live, replantable tree, which will survive inside for about a week and then need to be planted. For years Vail resident Richard Carnes took his family into the forest to chop their own tree, but eventually the allure of convenience won out, and Carnes purchased a synthetic tree.”In less than five minutes, I’ve got the tree up,” he said. And while the Carnes family now lacks a tree chopping outing, Carnes said the Christmas spirit is still alive and well in his household. But Amy Dose is sticking to tradition and to live trees. “I think it’s because my mother was such a purist,” Dose said. She added she just can’t ignore the inviting smell of fresh pine and also wanted to share the pastime with her 5-year-old daughter. Artificial trees range from $16 to $150 while live trees run from $40 to $250.