Real or Fake Trees?

I the holiday season, there are so many things to think about, what to do to celebrate the hope and gratitude we feel? How do you balance generosity and rampant consumerism?  How much mood stabilizer might we need while going to the mall or waiting in line at Borders?  Well, while all that is going on, thank goodness someone is thinking about our earth and how celebrating Christmas.  (By the way, we need some students to take this to the next level and investigate the environmental impact of Hanukah, Diwali, Ramadan, and Kwanzaa as well.)

Activity: Real or Fake

  1. Have students brainstorm the what environmental impacts are for various objects.  What goes into assessing this? (Think of the production (or growth), the shipping, carbon footprint, materials it is made out of (and it’s length of time in a landfill, etc).
  2. Discuss the issue between an artificial tree and a real tree. Consider all of the things you just discussed.  Take a standing vote: who believes that an artificial tree is better for the environment?  Why? Who believes that real Christmas trees are better for the environment? Why?
  3. Have students read the article: Article from Live Science. What does this article say about this debate?
  4. Have students look up statistics about this topic: How many Christmas trees are sold in the US alone? How many are artificial? How many are real?  How long does it take to grow a tree?
  5. Have students in small groups read about (or share personal experiences) of the holidays of the time period (Hanukah, Diwali, Ramadan, Christmas, and Kwanzaa).  Have each group present basic information: (Who celebrates this holiday? When is it? How long does it last? What does it represent? What are the main ceremonies involved? What are the main symbols? What do these ceremonies and symbols mean? How has this holiday changed over time – if it has?).


Enciendalo! (and Happy Holidays  – whatever you celebrate)


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