Christmas tree season in Yucatán – Are you team natural or artificial?

As Christmas approaches, so does the opportunity of finding your ideal indoor greenery. When it comes to trees, most people tend to divide into two teams: artificial or living.

Although the first might not be as popular as it used to be, it is without a doubt the more practical and varied option.

Among the different home and construction products offered in ACE Hardware, you can now find their Christmas product selection. Photo: Verónica Garibay

For the past couple of years, Mérida has upped its offer in terms of shops and styles, and many different types can be found in department stores like Liverpool, Sears, or even Costco. 

Prices range from $1,000 MXN in the most basic styles — often green without decoration, up to $7,000-10,000 MXN, which often come in different colors, sometimes with lights, ornaments, and detailing like glitter or fake snow.

Christmas trees are dressed and displayed at the entrance of the store, alongside different ornaments and decoration. Photo: Verónica Garibay

The newly arrived Ace Hardware store has a unique, high-quality selection of trees, readily available over Paseo Montejo, Mérida’s main avenue.

Most prices are around $2,000 pesos per tree. Photo: Verónica Garibay

They are currently holding discounts and promotions on their seasonal products.

Photo: Verónica Garibay

Additionally, you can find a local selection of artificial Christmas trees in the pop-up markets present all over the city. We recently visited the one over Paseo Montejo, in the Slowfood market.

Although artificial trees are practical time savers, there’s also a strong case for natural trees.

The director of the Christmas Tree Forest of Amecameca, Carlos Maurer, has said that growing trees is good for forests, because contrary to popular belief, the process helps reforestation.

These small trees are often sold for people to plant directly on their yards, as they are much more resilient than species brought in from colder climates. Photo: Verónica Garibay

“When a tree is cut down it does not die,” said Maurer. “The trunk is still alive and from it grows a new specimen. Forests like ours have earned the National Ecology Award and the medal for forestry merit. Locally grown trees are good both for communities and the environment.”

Although care for the tree, as well as its life expectancy, varies upon many different factors there are some steps we can keep in mind in order to keep them alive for as long as possible.

Natural trees are often around $1,500 pesos, depending on their size. Photo: Verónica Garibay

Once you’ve made your pick and brought it home, it is advised to leave it in a sheltered area, such as under a covered porch or a larger tree canopy, during the first night. This helps the tree adjust to a change in environment. 

The next morning, hose the tree down and shake off any loose needles before bringing it indoors.

In Yucatán Magazine: Nochebuenas: Mexico’s Christmas gift is a bright red plant

Living trees are happiest with cool temperatures. Although we have a few cool days in Yucatán, this requirement is rather hard to ensure. Instead, try to leave your tree close to a large window or door, avoiding direct sunlight. Make sure it receives as much fresh air as possible. 

Sams club and Costco are some of the most important retailers during this time of year. Photo: Verónica Garibay

Potted trees indoors will dry out more quickly than those in your garden. Water daily and top-dress the soil with some mulch or artificial remedies to help prevent water loss through evaporation. One remedy commonly found in Yucatán is the so-called “tierra de agua,” a kind of hydrogel that keeps the trunk moist. 

After the season has passed, the Ayuntamiento of Mérida has a Christmas tree collection drive, often announced on the first days of January. This ensures your tree gets composted, and reused into the green areas of the city.

Whether you choose living or artificial, we hope your home is full of cheerful spirits during this special season.

In Yucatán Magazine: What to find in a Yucatecan Christmas market

Veronica Garibay
Veronica Garibay
Verónica Garibay Saldaña is a Mexican columnist, communications major, and poetry enthusiast. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
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