Even though real Christmas trees outsell fake ones more than 2-to-1, the overwhelming odds are there's a plastic tree-in-a-box in your house this holiday.
Last year, the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) reported that 33.02 million real trees and 14.7 million artificial trees were bought in the United States. Yet its peer, the American Christmas Tree Association, anticipates that 81 percent of displayed trees in 2014 will be synthetic.
"It may take a while to see a reversal," said Mary Jeanne Packer, executive director of the Christmas Tree Farmer's Association of New York. "There are people who still think they are doing the right thing by getting a fake tree. Because they think they need to 'save a tree' ... nobody is buying a fake carrot to save a carrot. A Christmas tree is not part of a forested eco-system. It is part of a crop."
Experts like Packer believe that this trend is attributed to consumers trying to save money. Real trees cost half what fake trees do, but people also keep fake trees longer (a decade or longer, by some estimates).
"It would over time, save you money, particularly if you take advantage of getting it on sale," said Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, of buying plastic. "[But] people need to be reasonable when they purchase one. An item on sale isn't a responsible purchase unless we can afford it."