With Christmas fast approaching, it’s time to start thinking about your Christmas decorations (we know: how has it come around so quickly?). Since there’s so much to think about in the run-up to December, your Christmas tree is something to tick off the list early so you can decorate and enjoy it all month long. But, most of us have the internal debate of whether to go for real or fake this year, especially if you’ve stuck to one or the other for a long time.
There are plenty of benefits of choosing an artificial tree, just as there are many pros to buying a real one. If you’re on the fence about your yuletide tree decision, this article will help you decide. Let’s take a look at the pros of real versus artificial Christmas trees to see which comes out on top.
Artificial Christmas Trees vs. Real Christmas Trees
Pros of a Real Christmas Tree
- Going out and choosing a real Christmas tree is often a tradition in itself for some families. The activity of heading out into the cold, finding a seller, and debating which tree to buy can be exciting. There’s the process of wrapping it up, hauling it onto the car, and bringing it home to be dressed and decorated. Many people (particularly those with young children) value this tradition and prefer real Christmas trees for this reason.
- A real Christmas tree is unlike any other tree, which is a bonus for many people. Artificial trees are, of course, human-made, which means that there are prescribed shapes, sizes, and colors to adhere to. Artificial trees are often identical and there’s no uniqueness involved. Real trees grow naturally, so if you love the idea that your Christmas tree is completely unique, a real tree is your best bet.
- They smell amazing. Light all the Christmas candles you want and place endless bowls of festive potpourri around the house but nothing smells quite like a recently-cut fir tree.
- Real Christmas trees may be the better option for the environmentally conscious. They're recyclable and biodegradable and can be repurposed for mulch rather than going to waste in the new year. A lot of energy is required to manufacture and transport artificial trees that are manufactured overseas. So if you’re doing your bit for the planet, a real tree may be a good option. Plus, Christmas tree farmers often practice planting and harvesting that is balanced so the environment is protected, planting at least one new tree for every fir tree that they harvest. Of course, cutting down and transporting a huge number of trees each year all around the country comes with its own issues, so do your own research if this is a big concern for you.
- Real Christmas trees are disposed of at the end of the year, which means you don’t need to worry about finding space in your attic, garage, or shed. This makes real Christmas trees a better option for those working with limited storage space.
You can support a local (likely small) business by buying a real Christmas tree, as opposed to an artificial tree, which may have been mass-produced by a large corporation.
These are all great reasons to buy a real Christmas tree, depending on your priorities. If you’re already a fan of the tradition of sourcing one and bringing it home and love the smell, a real tree is a good choice.
Pros of Buying a Fake Christmas Free
Real trees aren’t without their downsides, however, so here are some of the best reasons to invest in an artificial Christmas tree:
- Here’s the most obvious bonus: it’s reusable! Many people prefer a faux tree because they’re more comfortable with a one-off purchase. The average price of an artificial Christmas tree is often higher than that of a real tree upfront, but you can use it year after year rather than paying for a new one. At the end of the year, you simply pack it away in the cupboard or loft for next year.
- You can arrange them however you like. Real Christmas trees may have the smell, but they’re not often much fun to decorate. They’re fairly sharp (not great for kids) and often have dense, uncooperative foliage that makes getting the lights arranged properly an anger-inducing affair.
- They won’t start to die too early. As something that is made with fibres rather than grown in the ground, faux trees look and stay the same from day one. They won’t go brown or start to droop, meaning you can put them up as early as you like without worrying that they’ll look disheveled by Christmas Day.
- Many artificial Christmas trees are fold-able and easy to assemble. Rather than lugging a hefty tree through the front door and into the living room, you can take it out of its box and put it together with relative ease. If the weather outside is frightful, (and the fire is so delightful…) you don’t need to head out to find your tree when you’re ready to put it up. Just grab your box and assemble.
- No annual new-year disposal trip. On the topic of lugging a hefty tree around, artificial trees are a great shout if you want to avoid disposing of a real tree in January. Getting a real tree home is one thing but those who have real Christmas trees are faced with the issue of disposing of it. This involves another car trip with wood and pine needles everywhere, and this is after removing all the decorations and putting them back into boxes. With an artificial Christmas tree, you only have to bring it to your garage or loft, so if Christmas has left you with little energy for de-rigging, a faux tree is the way to go
- Choose your ideal tree. While you can hardly put in a request that Mother Nature sends a tree of a specific size, shape, and color your way, you can do that with a lot of manufacturers. Whether you prefer a voluptuous Blue spruce or a slender Kings-wood fir, you can have whatever you want, even if your favorite type of tree isn't naturally available in your area. Artificial trees are also a great option if you love the look of a decorated tree but don’t like the hassle of decorating them – you can buy your tree pre-lit with fiber-optics and flocked with artificial snow. An instant Christmas tree!
While we’re on the topic of things being low-maintenance, artificial trees require far less effort than the real thing. We often don’t think about it this way, but a real Christmas tree is just an oversized dying tree that we bring into our homes for one month of the year. Pine needles always go everywhere, creating a mess. As you’d expect, artificial trees don’t shed at all. With an artificial tree, there’s no sweeping, watering, trimming, or trying to figure out where to place it so it stays fresh as long as possible.
No allergies. Allergies are another thing to consider when deciding whether to go real or faux. Many people are unknowingly allergic to Christmas trees with an allergy known as Christmas Tree Syndrome. This is caused by mold which rapidly grows when fir trees are placed into the home. Over 50 types of molds have been found on Christmas trees and they have been known to bring on cold-like symptoms and even asthma attacks. If someone in your household has asthma or other respiratory problems, artificial trees are a good bet.
- You’ve already got the best tree. Another element of hassle that can come with buying a real tree every Christmas is the act of choosing one. While this is a fun tradition for some, it’s a faff for others. If you have the same tree every year, this tiresome step is removed and you know what to expect, year after year! Plus, an artificial tree eliminates the stress of your favorite vendor running out of the good trees and you having to trudge home with a sad-looking tree that has all its volume at the bottom.
- These days, faux Christmas trees are more realistic than ever, made using real-needle technology to shape the branches and give them an incredibly lifelike look. PE/PVC mixed needle trees are extremely realistic and all you need to do is fluff the branches up a little, and you’re ready to decorate! Just make sure you purchase your artificial tree from a reputable company that uses high-quality materials and can guarantee a long-lasting product.
- Artificial trees can also be safer than real trees - the needles they shed aren’t ideal if they get into the hands of a child or the paws of a curious cat! Plus, artificial trees are now often made with fire-resistant materials. This is a comforting plus for those who love to adorn their tree with lights, burn Christmas candles, or are lucky enough to have a fireplace. Your pets are also less likely to start chewing it, which could lead to some costly Christmas vet visits.
- If you’re going to visit family on Christmas day, it may not be worth buying a real tree. If you’re all about Christmas day itself more so than the lead-up to the big day and you’re heading off to a family member’s home for Christmas day, it may not be worth buying a big, expensive real tree.
Which one should I pick: an artificial or real Christmas tree?
The choice you make this year depends entirely on the type of home you have and your unique needs. There’s no right or wrong option; it simply depends on your lifestyle, budget, and available space. For example, if you have excited kids who just don’t want to forego the exciting ritual of choosing a tree together as a family, then a real one is a good option.
If you live in a small flat and want something that it doesn’t take up too much space, an artificial tree may be your best best. If you have tiny kids or curious pets, artificial will be much less likely to cause injury.
Ultimately, it’s your choice, so weigh up the pros and cons of each and decide what’s best for you. If you’re all about the nostalgia, smell, and don’t mind getting sharp pokes in the finger and hand while you decorate, go for a real one. If you think you’d love the ease and value for money of an artificial tree, opt for that. While your real tree won’t last much beyond new year, your artificial tree will always be there, even if you decide to buy a real tree next year.