Northland Christmas tree farm keeping it real while many families opt for fake

PLATTE COUNTY, Mo. — Real or fake, what do you choose?

According to the American Christmas Tree Association, a growing number of families are going fake. However, one Platte County Christmas tree farm says there is no replacement for real.

For the Nester family picking out a Christmas tree is serious business.

“It has to look pretty, it has to be a pretty color, a pretty green. It has to be kind of full, and a little tall,” said 14-year-old Kendall Nester standing with her parents and two younger siblings.

Nester said if you are going to cut down your own tree – it’s got to be just right.

“We all see one and we’re like, look at that one, look at that one, and then we just kinda find one and we’re like this one looks good, and then we cut it down and take it home,” Nester said.

She helps pick one out with her family each year, but more and more, people are picking artificial trees. The association says 81% of people who will display a tree will have a fake one. Which means fewer than 20 percent of trees in homes are real.

“There’s nothing like the smell of a real tree when you bring it into your house,” Brian Fulk of Fulk Farms said. “You’re not going to get that from an artificial one.”

Fulk says it takes ten years to grow a Christmas tree, and they sell about 1,200 each year at their Platte County farm. He says the artificial tree industry must have some kind of impact on them, but not enough for them to see it. Fulk says each weekend after Thanksgiving it’s hard to find a place to park on their hilltop farm.

“You’re not taking down a tree that will never be replaced,” Fulk said. “We plant more every year, and hopefully people keep coming out to buy them.”

The association says some move towards fake trees out of convenience, allergies, sustainability, and safety. However, Kendall says the memories of a real tree will last forever.

“I think it spreads more Christmas cheer, because it’s more real, just like the Christmas spirit is real, and trees are real, and I like decorating a real tree, and having to water it,” Nester said. “It’s just so fun to do it.”

The association says if you do buy an artificial tree for sustainability it will be a positive environmental investment if you use the same tree at least five years in a row.