Fake vs. Real Christmas Trees

Jon Fesmire | December 2, 2020 @ 6:00 AM

Christmas and the entire holiday season is coming upon us fast! You’re probably buying presents, putting up decorations, and, of course, thinking about your next Christmas tree.

You’ll need to make a choice. Do you get a real tree, or do you get an artificial one? Both have their pros and cons, so we’ll explore those here.

Real Trees: The Pros

When many of us think about getting a real tree or an artificial tree, our hearts know what they want, and that’s a real tree. Many of us feel nostalgic for past Christmases, going to the tree farm with our parents, and picking a pine or fir, strapping it to the top of our car, and bringing it home.

And yes, nostalgia is an important factor in choosing a tree. That gives us a warm feeling that is right at home during the holiday season. It’s a lovely tradition, going to pick up a tree with your family, bringing it home, setting it up, covering it in lights and ornaments, and putting the presents underneath.

Then, there’s the smell of pine, which adds to the seasonal atmosphere. Add the smells and tastes of peppermint, chocolate, and coffee, and it’s hard not to feel content.

Purchasing a real tree helps local businesses, not large corporations, and that money goes right into the local economy. The people who run tree farms know how to grow and sell these trees sustainably, which brings us to the next point. Real trees have a low environmental impact. Oh yes, and they cost 20% to 30% less than artificial trees.

Real trees can be recycled, and your city or town probably has a program especially for this. They may pick them up on certain days on the curb, or you may need to bring it in, but that’s great for the environment and the sustainability of real trees for the holidays.

Real Trees: The Cons

There are a few downsides to getting a real tree. First, there’s a slightly higher chance of fire. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were about 100 Christmas tree fires from 2015 to 2017, so make sure you get quality tree lights and turn them off at night if you have a real tree.

A real tree requires lots of maintenance. You need to water it daily, vacuum up needles, and yes, haul it out to the curb or a recycling center after the holiday season ends.

Artificial Trees: The Pros

The most obvious pro when it comes to getting an artificial Christmas tree is that you can reuse it for years. If you don’t like going out to get a new tree every year, you don’t have to. Simply get your artificial tree out of storage and set it up.

There are several other benefits related to this reusability. While they cost more upfront, you can save money over time by getting an artificial tree. After two Christmases, you’ll have spent less than you would have on two real trees. If you use it for five years, the environmental impact is less than if you had bought five real trees.

Artificial trees don’t produce the mess that real trees do, so you won’t have to vacuum up needles or water them. They’re also fire resistant, so a bit safer. While you will need to store the tree somewhere, you don’t have to deal with throwing it out.

They come in a variety of colors. There’s the natural green shade, but red and silver are also common. If those express your personality better, you can get them.

Artificial Trees: The Cons

If you were to replace your artificial tree every three to four years, it would still be worse for the environment, because of the manufacturing process, than getting a real tree every year. Also, once the tree is wearing down, you can’t recycle it.

Another downside of having an artificial tree is that you’ll need to store it. Of course, that’s no more difficult than taking it to a recycling place, but it can take up room in your home. We recommend getting a self storage unit, where you can keep not only your tree, but your ornaments, off-season clothes, and more.

So, what do we recommend, you may wonder, a real or an artificial tree? That’s still up to you, but we hope we’ve given you enough information that you can make an informed decision that’s right for you and your family. Have a happy holiday season!

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