Are you an artificial Christmas tree family? Congratulations. You're part of a very large majority.
As of 2021, 84 percent of U.S. homes that had Christmas trees opted for an artificial tree, according to the American Christmas Tree Association.
The trees, typically made with PVC needles — although some high-end artificial tree companies such as Balsam Hill supplement vinyl with urethane, using molds taken from actual branches and needles — have come a long way since they were used in A Charlie Brown Christmas as a symbol of crass commercialism in 1966.
To begin with, ACTA says surveys show that 65 percent of consumers listed easier setup and takedown as a benefit for artificial trees, 49 percent noted ease of maintenance and 56 percent felt there were long-term cost savings when owning an artificial tree.
Add to that recent price hikes in traditional trees.
ACTA says polling from Dynata in 2023 shows 78 percent of consumers expressed worries about inflation. (Real trees are expected to be 10 percent more expensive this year due to farmers' rising costs for growing and shipping.)
Artificial trees are still knocked as being less sustainable, with the website OneTreePlanted.com saying it would take 10 years for the carbon footprint of a PVC tree to balance out the use of plastics in production and shipping from China-based manufacturing plants. (Personally, I've been reusing my artificial tree for nearly 20 years without complaint, so I guess I'm ahead of that curve.)
ACTA, which is neutral on artificial vs. real trees, notes that nearly a quarter of American homes with trees use both versions of the trees.
"We are encouraged to see that consumer demand for all types of Christmas trees remains high in 2023," Jami Warner, ACTA executive director, said in a news release. "Artificial, live, small, tall, flocked, you name it — there's no such thing as a bad Christmas tree."