September 28, 2020

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Real, live Christmas trees back in vogue

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 22/12/2009 (3932 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Real Christmas trees appear to be making a comeback as consumers move toward a greener and more family-oriented holiday celebration.

"Our numbers have grown over the past few years," said Scouts commissioner Murray Gartner.

The 66/67 Scouts group in Winnipeg sells Christmas trees each year at the River Heights Community Centre. In recent years, they've sold roughly 250 more trees than earlier this decade, Gartner said.

All proceeds of the Scouts sale, run by parent volunteers, go toward funding Scouts programming.

"It's a bit of a community tradition," Gartner said of the sale. "People look forward to it, they bring their family, they bring their sleds, they bring their dogs."

Gartner said he feels real trees are becoming more appealing as people reclaim a nostalgic sense of family togetherness during the holiday season.

"People are going to a more traditional type of Christmas, getting away from the commercialism of artificial trees."

Dan Friesen, acting president of the Manitoba Christmas Tree Growers Association, agrees.

"For us, this year, our tree sales were up. I think people are a little more aware of real trees," said Friesen, who also owns Timber Trails Tree Farm near Steinbach. Timber Trails has welcomed several first-time live-tree buyers this year.

"I think people are always looking for different activities you can do as a family," said Friesen, who offers sleigh rides and fire pits to enhance the tree-buying experience.

Buying a fresh tree is also better for the planet than the artificial option.

"Real Christmas trees, it's a biodegradable, recyclable and renewable resource," Friesen said.

For the eight to 10 years, the trees grow on the farm, sequestering carbon, producing oxygen and providing wildlife habitat. Used trees can be made into mulch through the City of Winnipeg's Let's Chip In Christmas tree recycling program.

Not all fresh-cut tree retailers are selling out. Retailers in the city's southeast, such as St. Mary's Nursery & Garden Centre, have lots left.

"There's always some wastage," manager Ken Land said. "Very few people run 100 per cent out."

Other ideas

WHILE fresh-cut trees have less environmental impact than their artificial rivals, there are better options for the planet. Here are Resource Conservation Manitoba's suggestions:

"ö A potted tree: Bring in a pine from your yard you can replant when the holiday is over.

"ö A homemade tree: Get your kids together for a crafts night to create your own unique tree.

"ö Buy local: If you are buying a fresh-cut tree, get it from a Manitoba tree farm to cut down on carbon emissions.

-- For more tips, go to

Shelley Gallagher and Paul Fast load up a Christmas tree at River Heights Community Centre.

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Shelley Gallagher and Paul Fast load up a Christmas tree at River Heights Community Centre.


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