Griswold Family Christmas TreeCredit: National Lampoon's Christmas VacationLet's cut right to the chase by saying using real Christmas trees for the holidays have a lot of drawbacks. They're messy, you need to keep them watered, they are made out of a more flammable material, and you will have to wrestle with them when putting them up or taking them down.

But if you're a sentimental kind, you may remember the zealousness of Clark Griswold in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  He drove his family out to the middle of nowhere, without a saw, and hauled off the Griswold Family Christmas Tree.  And he loved every minute of it, even Audry's eyes had frozen. 

Using a real tree will involve a lot of hard work but there are a few benefits, and this article is going to talk about why you may want to choose real Christmas trees over artificial ones.


• Tradition: This is pretty self-explanatory, but there is a certain charm to continue doing what has been done for generations.
• Memories: Great family memories can be made when going out to a tree farm or into the woods trying to find that perfect tree for your home. The experience will force you to work hard and work together….which will make memories. Be sure to take a measuring tape and make sure you drive something where you can haul the tree home.
• The Smell: There really is nothing like the smell of real Christmas trees that have just been moved into the home. The smell seems to spread to every area of the house and you know the holidays have arrived. That wonderful smell does decrease significantly over a week or so unfortunately. You can go out and buy a similar artificial scent if you want the smell to continue, though.


• Falling Needles: If you cut a live tree down it is going to start losing its needles, which is just part of nature. That is why the most common tree used for Christmas is a fir. The needles of a fir don't fall out as bad when they dry out, and the species retain their color and scent better than other trees. Watering the tree regularly also keeps needles from falling out.
• Disposal: You will have to do a little work to dispose of your tree after the holidays, but the good news is that after you get it out of the house they'll be a lot less work. Real trees can be recycled quite easily by putting them through a wood chipper and using what's left as a mulch. Often after the holidays there are events held to do this very thing. You can also, if you wish, just drag your tree to an out of the way place to let it naturally decompose where it is often used for cover by small animals.

There are companies now that will sell you potted trees in soil with the roots intact. These are known as "Living Christmas trees" and can be set out in the ground after the holidays. Another benefit of living trees is that they retain their scent longer and are less likely to shed needles (as long as you keep them watered). You can either buy or rent these trees. Rented trees will be picked back up after the holidays, while trees that were bought can be planted by the owner.

Recommended Additional Reading:

Convincing Arguments for Artificial Christmas Trees

The White Elephant Gift Exchange

Why we watch football on Thanksgiving Day

You know it's good when Santa endorses it. :)

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