BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ- Every year when Christmas rolls around, my family takes a trip to the Great Swamp in search of the perfect Christmas tree. In snow or sun, we look through rows of evergreens until we find a special tree to throw on top of the car and bring home. This is one of my favorite Christmas traditions, but not everyone brings home a real tree every year. A survey of Governor Livingston students who observe Christmas showed that roughly 46% of students surveyed prefer real trees, and another 23 prefer fake trees, along with a few students who purchase both real and false. 

Several Governor Livingston students explained that they use fake trees for convenience. Most students reasoned that fake trees do not leave a mess, and some mentioned that their pets try to eat the pine needles of real trees. Sophomore Abby Botte reported that she does not have a real Christmas tree, nor does she want one. She stated, “Once my Dad bought a real Christmas tree and there were bugs in it. I was scarred after that. So we just started getting fake trees.” Freshmen Frederick Huggins stated the reason behind his family’s fake tree is allergies. Sophomore Charlotte Kaltenbach likewise had an interesting story to share: “My cats used to eat the pine needles and drink the water at the base of the Christmas tree, so we switched to a fake one.” Though there are many different reasons to have a fake tree, many students explained that they would like to have a real one. 

Other students shared their Christmas tree traditions and stories, from why their families get a real tree, to how they pick it out. Sophomore Sophie Cresitello had an elaborate story to share about finding the perfect tree. “My Christmas tree is real. Ten feet tall, so thick we have to move the couches in the living room.” Ornaments typically range from fancy, store bought decorations to fun, family memories from places like Disney World. Cresitello’s favorite part of the tree picking process is cutting the tree down. “We get up at 7 A.M. to get to the tree farm first.” Cresitello certainly had great things to say about her Christmas tree. Senior Gayatri Gupta-Casale also gets a real tree. She stated, “It’s a tradition. My family has always gotten real Christmas trees and it always symbolizes the beginning of the holiday season when we pick out our tree.” Personally, I find that a real Christmas tree adds to the holiday magic. 

There is a fair split between preference over fake and real trees at Governor Livingston, but no matter the tree, Christmas spirit is in the air and students cannot wait to enjoy the holidays.