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Should I Buy a Real Christmas Tree or an Artificial Christmas Tree?

By Edited May 16, 2015 3 16

Every year at Christmas, many people look forward to decorating their homes for the holidays. Probably the most frequently used decoration is the Christmas tree. Each year, families and individuals procure a tree, bring it into their home, decorate it, and enjoy it for the holiday season. Today, people are faced with the choice of many different types of natural, or real Christmas Trees, as well as a plethora of offerings of artificial Christmas trees. The decision that must be made, then, is whether to buy a real Christmas tree, or buy an artificial Christmas tree.

Some of the factors to consider when deciding whether to buy a real Christmas tree or buy an artificial Christmas tree include: Looks; Safety; Smell; Decorations; Allergies; Care; Cost; Economics; Storage; and Disposal.

Looks

Many people choose what Christmas tree to buy based primarily on the looks of the tree. This is a natural, and a good consideration. When shopping to buy a real Christmas tree, each tree looks different. While you are shopping, you are looking for a tree that looks good, and will fit in the area that you have designated for your tree. Some people prefer tall, lean trees, but others prefer shorter, more squat trees. There is immense difference from tree to tree. Each year you buy a tree you will need to search for one that matches your mental image of the ideal Christmas tree. For many, the search for the perfect tree is part of the enjoyment of the season. For others it is viewed as drudgery. For some, no artificial tree compares to the looks of a natural tree. An artificial tree, on the other hand, lasts for multiple Christmas seasons. Thus, if you find one you love, you will not need to search for it every year. Artificial trees can be made to look "perfect" if that is the sort of look you like. Or, they can be made to look more natural by building in small imperfections. An artificial tree can look like a real tree, or it can look like something completely different if that is what you prefer. For example, while they are not as popular now as in days of the past, artificial Christmas trees can me made from silver color aluminum, or even pink. Today, there is a wide selection of white artificial Christmas trees that you can buy. Ultimately, you simply need to decide what you like, and then if you buy that artificial Christmas tree you can enjoy it year after year.

Safety

Safety is an important concern when you decide whether to buy a real Christmas tree or buy an artificial Christmas tree. Real Christmas trees are flammable, and thus a fire hazard. It is important to not let a real Christmas tree dry out. In general, an artificial Christmas tree is the safer bet with respect to flammability.

Decorations

In general, you can use the same assortments of decorations whether you decide to buy a real Christmas tree or buy an artificial Christmas tree. However, due to safety concerns, it is more important to consider whether the decorations will get hot or not. Don't use hot ornaments on a real Christmas tree. Each year that you buy a real tree, you will need to decorate it. Some artificial trees, though, can be bought with certain decorations already in place. For example, some artificial trees come with lights already in place. This saves you the effort of stringing the lights year after year. However, for some, the activity of putting lights on the tree is one of the most fun parts of having a Christmas tree. You need to decide for yourself when you decide whether to buy a real Christmas tree or buy an artificial Christmas tree.

Smell

A real Christmas tree smells like a real Christmas tree. An artificial one doesn't. It's as simple as that. Some people love the smell of a Christmas tree. Others don't. Smell is another consideration when you decide whether to buy a real Christmas tree or buy an artificial Christmas tree.

Allergies

Some people are allergic to real Christmas trees. Most people are not allergic to artificial Christmas trees. These facts can make the decision very easy whether to buy a real Christmas tree or buy an artificial Christmas tree.

Care

Once you set up an artificial Christmas tree you are done with taking care of it other than occasionally dusting it, adjusting the decorations and so forth. On the other hand, you need to trim a real Christmas tree, ensure it has water at all times, sweep up pine needles that have fallen from the tree, etc. So – if you do or don't like this type of maintenance can assist you when you decide whether to buy a real Christmas tree or buy an artificial Christmas tree.

Cost

Costs of Christmas trees vary widely based on size, species, how "good" it looks and so forth. Real Christmas trees can be bought for as little as $15, for a small one to as much as your budget will allow for a bigger, better tree. Artificial Christmas trees cost more than real trees when you view the purchase for just one year. Cost is a factor when you decide whether to buy a real Christmas tree or buy an artificial Christmas tree.

Economics

First cost is not the only consideration with whether to buy a real Christmas tree or buy an artificial Christmas tree. A real Christmas tree will last only one season, whereas an artificial Christmas tree can be used year after year. So, it is important to consider the year after year cost when deciding whether to buy a real Christmas tree or buy an artificial Christmas tree. An artificial tree can be the better long term value.

Storage

A real Christmas tree lasts only one year, so storage over the non-holiday season is a non-issue. An artificial tree lasts for many seasons. Hence, you need a place to store it in the "off-season." Consider whether you have the place to store an artificial Christmas tree when you decide whether to buy a real Christmas tree or buy an artificial Christmas tree.

Disposal

Each year, you must dispose of a real Christmas tree. Some cities offer curbside pickup of Christmas trees. If not, you will need to find a way to dispose of your real Christmas tree. Since you use an artificial for many years, disposal is much less of a concern. Keep disposal in mind when you decide whether to buy a real Christmas tree or buy an artificial Christmas tree.

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Comments

Dec 21, 2010 12:19pm
divaonline
Excellent pros and cons for tree selection!
Jan 3, 2011 7:27pm
aguy
My brother was allergic to Christmas trees so we always had an artificial one. They are a lot better now!
Feb 4, 2011 7:12am
lifelearner
What a good discussion of real vs artificial Christmas trees.
Feb 18, 2011 7:58pm
aguy
Thanks, lifelearner!
Dec 3, 2011 2:01am
AuroraWindsor
I think an artificial tree is the best option. It is so convenient and presents the opportunity to reuse your resources (plus you can get a good deal if you buy at the right time). Good job comparing both options.
Dec 3, 2011 6:40pm
aguy
Right. I think after Christmas would probably be a good time to shop.
Dec 21, 2011 12:44pm
Lynsuz
Real tree or fake tree, good question. I like both. In the bedrooms I use fake. Then in the livingroom I use a real tree, but not one cut off from the roots. After Christmas we plant it outside.
Dec 21, 2011 1:45pm
aguy
Wow - does that work? I didn't know you could do that.

Thanks for the great info!
Feb 26, 2012 11:09am
mcdonasa
My grandparents have always done this, too. It makes a lot more sense than cutting the tree and throwing it out after Christmas.
Dec 21, 2011 1:45pm
aguy
This comment has been deleted.
Feb 26, 2012 11:13am
mcdonasa
I like real trees for a few reasons: I love the smell, I am a burgeoning farmer and I sympathize with Christmas tree farmers who rely on this seasonal income to support themselves- and the trees are grown for this purpose, so it's not like trees from a natural forest are being cut, and finally, in Louisiana you can donate your old Christmas tree to science, and it will be used to reinforce coastal barriers to prevent erosion (whether that actually works is debatable, but it's worth a try).
Feb 26, 2012 4:31pm
aguy
Lots of great info, mcdonasa.

Thanks for stopping by!
Feb 26, 2012 4:30pm
aguy
Lots of great info, mcdonasa.

Thanks for stopping by!
Sep 19, 2012 8:11pm
samr421
Artificial for sure =)
Sep 24, 2012 9:50am
aguy
Hi samr,

Yes - Everyone has their own preference. Thanks for stopping by!
Dec 15, 2012 7:10am
Breidbe
Great article on the pros and cons. I hadn't thought about the allergy side of the decision before.
Dec 17, 2012 8:46am
aguy
Thanks for commenting.

Yes - when we were kids my brother was allergic to Christmas Trees. Hence, we always had to have an artificial one.
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