The Depressing Life of Christmas Trees

Only the prettiest ones get picked, but for most, the end is as gruesome as it will be for us humans.

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Dec 17 2014, 3:00pm

This post originally appeared on VICE UK

Every year, around January 5, Christmas trees are thrown out on the streets, alleyways, and skips of London and I feel like a tiny pink elf inside me dies. So, around this time last year, I decided to find out where these trees come from and exactly what they go through.

I took the train to a farm in Cheshire that I'd heard is the main supplier of Christmas trees in London. When I got there, I was met with a frenzy of excited families and chainsaw men cutting down five-year-old trees from a field. People were buying trees straight from the source and tying them on the roof of their cars to then drive them home.

The trees that are not bought in farms like the one in Cheshire make their way to the city, where they are sold at a higher price. They range in size and age from tiny to mature. But only the prettiest ones get picked.

They get dragged on streets, carried around the city by pairs of humans like they are injured, or stuffed in public transport carriages. They are taken to cosy terrace houses, carpeted flats, and boutique shops for suburban magpies. They get pruned, blinged out, and placed by windows to be shown off to passersby.

Then, a few days after New Year's, you start to see them dumped on their backs on cold, wet pavements—it's not a pretty sight. Completely stripped off their ornaments, they just lie between garbage bags. A few lucky ones will end up in a park so at least it looks like they're ending their life back home, but for most, the end is as gruesome as it will be for us humans.

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