オーストラリアでは 25日（Christmas Day） 26日（Boxing Day）が祝日。
１１月下旬ぐらいからよくChristmas Trees for Saleの看板を路上で見ますが、自然のPine（松）の木を使用するか
Now Christmas is coming up and lots of people are preparing to celebrate in all sorts of ways. One thing that gets many of us into the festive spirit is the Christmas tree. You can buy a single-use fresh tree or an artificial one that lasts for years. Kirsty volunteered to un-wrap the origin of the tradition and see if either tree is better for the environment.
KIRSTY BENNETT, REPORTER: When Christmas Day comes – and if you’re lucky – you might find a present under the Christmas tree! These bushy branches have become a big symbol of Christmas around the world. You can find them lighting up living rooms, shopping malls and even presidential palaces!
They reckon the idea of Christmas trees started in Germany in the 16th century. Since then they’ve got a bit more hi-tech with fibre-optic lights and even built in Christmas carols!
But for some people it’s not Christmas until you decorate a real tree with the smell of pine drifting through the house.
This is where real Christmas trees start life – out on a Christmas tree farm. I met this farmer in SA who showed me around his place, where he’s growing about 20,000 Monterey Pines. This type of pine is from California and Wes reckons they’re a better option for many farmers because they grow a lot faster than native Australian pines.
WESLEY SAUNDRY, CHRISTMAS TREE FARMER: Well native trees are a very small variety take a long time to grow to maturity to try and cut them like we do these would take us 50 years and we’d only end up with a tiny tree.
KIRSTY: Depending on the type of pine and where they’re planted it can still take 3 to 7 years to grow one big enough to sell.
WESLEY: That tree there is about two years old.
KIRSTY: To make sure there are enough trees every Christmas some farmers plant new trees every year or let new ones grow from the old stumps.
WESLEY: This one here we cut off a big tree. If you have a look there, look that’s where the original one was taken off and now we’ve got the little one coming up.
KIRSTY: So when one lot of trees is ready to be cut down, other crops keep growing to get big and bushy for the coming years.
I bet you didn’t know this farmers like Wes actually have to give the trees a bit of a haircut so they look more like Christmas trees!
Some people like to buy real pines because they think they’re better for the environment. That’s because once Christmas is over, the trees can be turned into mulch and they soak up carbon dioxide while they grow. But there are also negatives, like the chemicals that might be used to control weeds and pests.
So the other option is to buy an artificial tree made out of plastic like PVC. Sure they can last a lot longer than a real one but producing PVC can harm the environment. Some experts say producing plastics can make poisonous by-products. Another problem is once they’re thrown out, the plastic doesn’t break down so that Christmas tree could be around for a long time.
So if you’re thinking about a Christmas tree no matter which one you pick it’ll sure help remind you of the spirit of Christmas.