Real or Fake Christmas Tree – Which to Buy?

If you celebrate Christmas, you’re more than likely keeping a Christmas tree in your home.   Many memories from childhood come from the Christmas Treeholiday season, and the Christmas tree is often a part of the festivities and center of some of the activities.

One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that many families have regular traditions with the tree.  It may decorating the tree the same way each year, adding some long-time ornaments to the tree, or even keeping it in the same exact location.  What about the idea of keeping the same exact tree every year?

Depending on your decision when considering whether to buy a real or fake tree, you just might be able to keep that same tree every year for a long time.

Now, I could have called posed the decision as “real vs artificial tree”, but often times the latter really are fakes.  They’re generally intended to look like the real thing, not the other way around. They’re fake. But that doesn’t mean they’re bad.

Why Buy a Fake Tree

For me, the reason is clear cut: allergies.  My family had a fake tree all the way back to my childhood, for that very reason.  So for some people, this makes the decision an easy one.

For others who don’t have that as a factor, there might be other reasons:

  1. Cost.  By spending up front, you can spread the fixed cost of buying a tree over many years.  Let’s say you pay $200 for a tree and keep it 20 years, you’re spending $10 per year. Not bad! So you want to keep it only 10 years? Well, then it’s still only $20 annually.  Sure that goes up if you buy some super-deluxe tree, but generally your average annual cost won’t be too bad.
  2. Convenience.   The tree is right there at home, you don’t have to go out and lug a different one home every year.  Time is money after all, right?
  3. Tradition.  There can actually be attachment to the same tree year in, year out.  I still remember the tree from childhood, that we had at my parents’ house.  There was a nice familiarity to it, and it was a regular, reliable part of the holiday season. When you have really good memories with the same surroundings, it’s easy to have great feelings for the whole scene – including enjoying having the same tree.
  4. Cleaner.  Something that’s manufactured is likely to be less messy than something that was a living, organic thing growing from the ground.  Real wood and needles are not as conducive to a clean place than to the fake variety.

Why Buy a Real Tree

  1. Natural.  While I have never personally had one, I can totally see how there’s something different about having a real tree.  After all, it’s real - not fake.  How often is any fake item more desirable than the real thing?
  2. The Environment.  Now, I can’t speak to this completely – but it makes sense that a real tree would be more environmentally friendly in the big picture than a fake tree.  Can a fake tree truly be as recyclable as a real tree?  What went into making the fake tree, and transporting it to its distribution or retail center? Just questions that one can think about.
  3. Tradition.  Didn’t I say this above? Sure.  Traditions can take many forms, and I can totally see the tradition of going out and finding a nice tree every year.  It can be a fun thing to do each year, something to look forward to as a part of the season.  While I personally haven’t done this, I can see how it could be really cool for many people.
  4. Scent.  This probably goes back to the “natural” aspect, but a fresh pine scent can have great appeal to people.  One would think that artifical pine-scented oils and candles can only replicate the real thing so much, from a sensory and psychological perspective.

The Bottom Line

Really, I think many people might have strong opinions on this either way, and already have their minds made up.  It really is a personal decision for each household.  However, if you have a decision to make, it’s worth considering these factors before making your purchase!

My Questions for You:

Which type of tree do you prefer – real or fake?

Why do you have that preference?

Is this the same type of tree you had when growing up?