The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Christmas shoppers tackle the tree question

Christmas+trees+of+all+sizes+are+lined+up+to+be+sold+for+the+holidays+at+ABC+Tree+Farms+in+San+Carlos.
Kiana Chen
Christmas trees of all sizes are lined up to be sold for the holidays at ABC Tree Farms in San Carlos.

As the first week of December unfolds, families celebrating Christmas put up their lights and decorate their real or fake trees.

For Christmas tree shoppers, a big question remains whether buying a real tree each year is better than buying an artificial tree that can last for years. 

For the past month, farms around the West Coast have come to sell their Christmas trees up and down the Bay Area. All trees, varying from a little “Charlie Brown” tree to a massive Grand Nobel fir, can be found.

ABC Tree Farms is a company that distributes Christmas trees grown in Northern Oregon and Chico, California.

“We have a Noble Fir, which is the Cadillac of all trees. It lasts the longest. Then we go down to a Grand Fir, which is the traditional Christmas tree. We also have the Douglas Fir, they’re a little bit cheaper than the other trees,” said Kellie McNabb, the San Mateo manager for ABC Tree Farms.

Each Christmas tree is unique and has characteristics depending on the tree type. Picking out and decorating the Christmas trees allows for new memories for kids and adults.

I love all the happiness that it gives people when they get their Christmas tree, and I love seeing all the little kids smile and the joy that it puts on everybody’s face.

— Kellie McNabb

“Christmas is all about excitement and the joy that each year brings with new experiences,” McNabb said. “When you come out and pick out a new tree, you get to have something different every year.”

One difference that sets real trees apart from industrial-made competitors is the notable scent of a freshly cut tree.

“We had a real tree every year growing up, so having a real tree was a fun way to bring nature into the house. I love the smell of them in particular,” said Caroline Coleman, a customer at ABC Tree Farms. 

Customers at Santa’s Tree Farm cut and choose their desired Christmas tree. Santa’s Tree Farm is a 487-acre choose-and-cut farm with various trees to choose from. (Natalie Sare)

Another Christmas tree farm is Santa’s Tree Farm, a cut-and-choose tree farm in Half Moon Bay, off Highway 92. Natalie Sare is the co-owner of the family business alongside her husband, who started the company after growing Monterey Pine Christmas trees for a high school project. 

“We’ve been open since 1972, so we have customers that come now with their grandchildren who used to come as children themselves, and it’s nice to see,” Sare said.

Santa’s Tree Farm allows customers to choose and cut their desired tree right from the farm, choosing from various sizes of the trees they grow. 

Christmas trees grow at different rates depending on the tree type and take four to 12 years to grow to 6 feet at Santa’s Tree Farm.

“It’s a year-round crop, so it is very labor intensive with the planting, trimming, the weed control, and maintaining the machinery like the tractors,” Sare said.

Christmas tree farms over the years have also been trying to sway more customers to buy real trees rather than faux ones because they are compostable and reduce carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.

According to a report by Recycle Track Systems, it takes over 500 years for an artificial Christmas tree to decompose due to the non-biodegradable PVC, plastic, and metal components. 

“Real Christmas trees are environmentally friendly. A lot of people compost it and use it for compost after. And some even take those Christmas trees, put them out, and use them as bird feeders,” Sare said. 

However, there are also some advantages of having a fake tree. For one, fake Christmas trees are often pre-strung with lights, cutting down a step in decorating the tree. Artificial trees are also easier to store and often break down into smaller pieces for more accessible storage.

“I like the convenience of being able to take out the tree from the garage rather than bringing one into the house that can easily leave a trail of loose leaves,” said Carlmont sophomore Natalie Nishikawa.

Space can be a big worry when buying a real Christmas tree because buyers are often looking for a tree that can fill a specific space in their home, and a tree too tall is complex to trim after being purchased.

Nonetheless, whether you have a real or a fake tree, happiness and cheer will surely come. 

“I love all the happiness that it gives people when they get their Christmas tree, and I love seeing all the little kids smile and just the joy it puts on everybody’s face,” McNabb said.

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About the Contributor
Kiana Chen, Staff Writer
Kiana (Class of 2026) is a sophomore at Carlmont High School and this is her first year with Scot Scoop. She enjoys taking pictures and connecting with others in her community. Outside of school, Kiana can be found on the soccer field or running for Carlmont's track team.

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