There are a lot of great things about the decorations of the holiday season. The twinkling lights are mesmerizing and the bright colours are truly something to behold. Life in Toronto and the surrounding communities in Southern Ontario can get pretty crazy, so it’s nice to take this time to slow down and reflect before we head into a brand new year. With the joy of the season comes a few environmental hazards you need to be on the lookout for every holiday season. Of course we’re not saying don’t enjoy the holidays, we’re just suggesting a few precautions to help keep you safe.
The air we breathe
There is nothing quite like the smell of a fresh holiday tree in the house. It brings home the holidays in a way that simply cannot be matched. There are sporadic reports of people finding that their holiday tree sets off a case of allergy symptoms that are similar to hay fever. The likely culprit? Well, it’s entirely possible that it’s all the dust that covered the boxes of holiday decorations you hauled up from the basement earlier in the week. But another possible source of your sniffles and itchy, watery eyes is the brightly festooned tree temporarily taking up residence in your living room.
If you are generally allergic to trees in the great outdoors, unfortunately those allergies do not disappear when you move the party inside. However, there may be another, slightly more sinister explanation: Mould. Though holiday tree growers hotly contest the claims, the argument that holiday trees can be brimming with mould is one that makes sense. After all, it’s a tree that is left sitting in a big pot of water for weeks on end. Maybe you’re thinking that avoiding mould is a good enough reason to make the move to an artificial tree. Not so fast…
Artificial trees are not risk-free
Though there may be some evidence that artificial trees have fewer mould spores than their genuine counterparts, the storage methods for your artificial tree in the off-season can affect their safety too. Most families keep their holiday tree in the basement when it is not in use, and one of the most likely locations for a mould infestation in a house is… The basement! When you unpack your tree, give it a sniff. If it has the telltale odour of mould, it’s time to shop for a new tree.
Weigh the odds
A lot of people would argue that the holiday tree is an integral part of the celebration of the season, and we’re inclined to agree. If the symptoms your tree sets off are mild enough to be tolerable, go ahead! Have your tree and some egg nog and enjoy the fruits of the season. The levels of mould you’ll see from Christmas trees, real or artificial, aren’t likely to require the services of a professional mould removal company. However, we feel it’s important to keep your overall exposure to this potentially harmful toxin to a minimum. The first municipal pickups of holiday trees are usually in the first week of January. Be sure to get your tree out there as soon as you can.