It’s so hard to choose between a real vs fake tree, how do you decide? As Christmas approaches and folks are starting to consider decorating for the holidays, you can usually find people rigidly entrenched in one of two groups: team real tree or team fake tree. Those who prefer artificial trees either love them because of the ease of setup and clean up, or because they don’t care for the smell of pine. Team real tree generally likes the idea of picking out a unique tree every year and craves the smell of fresh pine. If you have not established a holiday tradition where trees are concerned, or you are just curious about why someone may choose one over the other, keep reading. I have come up with a pros and cons list for purchasing a real tree and a fake tree to help you make the decision that is right for you.
Our family has been #teamfaketree for several years now, and this is mostly because of budget and practicality. We lived in a three-story townhome in Chicago and just hated the idea of lugging a tree up the stairs only to haul it back down again a couple weeks later. I also did not care for having pine needles litter our carpet from moving the tree up and down the stairs. We bought a $15 pre-lit five-foot artificial tree from Family Dollar (on sale!) for our first Christmas in that house. That was in 2018. It looked obviously fake and cheap, but with a smattering of beautiful ornaments, it looked pretty decent. We joked and called it our “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree”. I had grown up with real trees, and I missed the smell and the way the needles felt on my fingertips, but I knew we would eventually do a real tree at some point in the future.
Real vs Fake Tree: We Switched Teams!
This year, we fully intended to drive over to the tree lot and cut down a Christmas tree, but we had either been sick or out of town for all the weekends leading up to Christmas. One of those weekends we were all completely out of commission with a stomach flu. So this year, we borrowed my mother-in-law’s nine-foot artificial tree, and it was perfectly fine. We kept our five-foot tree in the dining room to hold Christmas cards. But next year, I want to start our family tradition of riding over to the farm and cutting down a tree as a family. It is also just a wonderful excuse to do some more family bonding, in addition to the time spent decorating the tree together (and baking cookies). If you haven’t guessed, I am Team Real Tree, although I can see how it might be practical to have an artificial tree. Here are some pros and cons if you are on the fence.
Pros and Cons of the Fake/Artificial Tree
- Guaranteed the same quality tree every year
- No recurring costs
- No need to water
- Pre-lit artificial trees reduce decorating time
- Can look very realistic
- Upfront cost can be high for a high-quality tree
- No fresh pine smell
- Depending on how you care for it, can start to look worn after a while
- Lose out on the fun of finding a new tree every year
- Cheaper trees can look obviously fake
- Lights may start to go out on pre-lit trees
Pros and Cons of the Real Tree
- The SMELL
- Feel more connected with nature, especially if you cut it yourself
- You can buy them at the supermarket
- The fun of shopping around and picking out your unique tree
- Shedding pine needles, especially if the tree is not fresh
- Sticky sap can be hard to clean
- Keeping the tree watered so that it stays fresh
- Likely won’t be completely symmetrical and perfect
- Transporting the tree can be a hassle if you don’t have a truck
There is no clear winner here. It really comes down to preference: what you like, what you grew up with, what fits with your current lifestyle. So which team are you on? Comment Below!