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The benefits of real Christmas trees

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As the temperature plummets and outdoor activities become an icy proposition, the holiday tradition of picking, or perhaps cutting, a real Christmas tree couldn’t be easier, thanks to the Oak Park High School men’s hockey team.

I realize there is a debate between real versus artificial trees, but putting that aside for a moment, let me tell you about a gem of a deal as well as a great fundraiser that has been going on for 15-plus years.

Back in November, we were contacted by one of the players on the hockey team. We placed an order, and in early December a beautiful, locally-sourced tree from a Headingley nursery was delivered right to our doorstep. For $60 it’s convenient, entirely volunteer-driven and a great way to support a local team.

Around my house we prefer real trees, each one with a shape all its own. The fragrant smell, the fun of making a fresh cut, dragging it into the house, watching it thaw and unfold is all part of the appeal.  

Sure, there are needles on the floor and you have to remember to water it on a daily basis, not to mention getting it out of the house after the holidays are over, but it’s not really anything to get too fussed about.

According to the Manitoba Christmas Tree Growers Association, there are also environmental and economic benefits associated with real trees.  Not only are they biodegradable, which creates essential organic matter, a real tree provides a job for the grower during its life on the farm and is then replaced by another tree to start the cycle over.

Statistics Canada has even crunched some numbers that paint an interesting picture. In 2011, the most recent year that information was available, Canadians spent in excess of $50 million on approximately 2.5 million fresh-cut Christmas trees that were sourced from over 2,300 Christmas tree farms across the country. However, both sales and the number and size of Canadian tree farms have been in a steady decline since 2006.

No matter how you choose to celebrate the season, let me extend my best wishes for a happy and healthy new year!

David Hultin is a community correspondent for Charleswood.

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