Fake Christmas Tree or Real Christmas Tree - Pros and Cons

My own pretty artificial Christmas tree
My own pretty artificial Christmas tree | Source

Is a real Christmas tree worth the trouble?

Growing up, our family always had a real Christmas tree. I guess my dad cut it down when I was little. I have a vague recollection of driving out in the truck onto our land. I remember watching my mom prop the tree up in a Folger's coffee can, putting rocks all around the trunk to get it to stay up. As I got older, I would help keep the tree watered to make it last longer.

After my parents split up, we kids would go with mom in search of our Christmas tree. I remember one year finding one on the side of the road. We stopped to cut that thing down and sneak it home. Hey, we were a single parent family. We certainly couldn't afford to buy a Christmas tree at some tree farm. Later on, we would cut down cedar trees that grew on our small plot of property.

We always had a real tree. Always. But sometimes traditions change.


The smell of a real Christmas tree

Sure, a real cedar Christmas tree smells good. It is a lot of work, though, to keep up that smell, as the tree gets older and begins to dry out. No matter how much water I've tried to keep in a real Christmas tree in the past, it still is always dried out before I'm ready to take it down.

Cedar or pine trees die fast once cut. I don't want to hold off putting up my tree and wait until a couple of weeks before Christmas to put up my Christmas tree. Nor do I want to take the tree down the day of or the day after Christmas. I want to enjoy the tree for a while. As far as the smell goes, any evergreen Christmas tree you cut down or purchase will lose its smell after a short time, anyway.

There are other things you can do to get the pine scent in your home. Air fresheners, potpourri, incense, or candles can be bought with that scent. Pine scented candles can serve two purposes, as they emit that Christmas tree smell while casting a soft glow for a nice, warm ambience.


My lit-up Victorian Christmas tree
My lit-up Victorian Christmas tree | Source

The ease of a fake Christmas tree

The difficulty of set up for a real or artificial Christmas tree is debatable. If you have a real Christmas tree, you do have to put it in something that will hold up the tree straight and also hold water to allow for occasional watering.

A fake Christmas tree is pretty easy to set up if it comes in three parts. You do, however, have to fluff up the branches, which takes some time. Some artificial Christmas trees require putting in individual branches. Ugh--I would steer clear of those. I had one of those once. Sure, they had color-coded branches with little pink, blue, or whatever else color, but it was a real pain to put that tree together.

A huge benefit of not having a real tree is that there are no sticky needles falling all over the carpet. Branches aren't falling, dropping ornaments, either. It is nice after taking down the tree, not to have to pull random needles off my socks. Artificial trees don't leave those things behind.

Storage, however, can be a problem for a fake tree. I've found that I need a huge Christmas tree storage tub, or else, I just have to stuff the parts in a bag and put them into the shed. Fortunately, so far, I haven't carried in any rats or other varmints from this practice.

Some people recommend to store the tree upright if you can--with many ornaments still on--to make decorating easier every year. I don't have a basement, only a shed, so that's where I store my three-part artificial Christmas tree.


The cost of real vs artificial Christmas trees

Growing up, the cost of cutting down our own Christmas tree from the farm that I lived on with my parents was cheap--or free. Cutting down the tree from the side of the road was cheap, too! When I got on my own, that real cut tree cost me $20 at a tree farm. That was twenty years ago, so I'm sure it would cost much more now.

After a year (maybe two) of living on my own and keeping up the tradition of putting up a real tree, I tried the artificial tree. I bought one half price after Christmas. It seemed expensive to me at first, at about fifty dollars or so, but it paid for itself after a few years.

So, cost-wise, the artificial tree is definitely the way to go, as a one-time investment that lasts for years. I've been through a few artificial trees over the years, but the current one I've had probably eight years or so.


Christmas tree with lots of ornaments
Christmas tree with lots of ornaments | Source

So, which is better, artificial or real Christmas trees?

Well, when my real tree fell over the first year, I was disappointed. When ornaments started falling off because the branches kept falling, despite my watering, I was even more bummed. After I took my first real tree down and I had needles all over the carpet, I was done with a real tree.

Let's face it, I love lots of ornaments, too. A real tree with its irregular branches that leave holes, plus its branches that start falling after a week or two--there is no way those branches can hold up my 300 Victorian ornaments!

Okay, maybe there aren't quite 300, but, if you've seen my Christmas tree, you might wonder. I tried to count once but lost track after 200. An artificial tree with sturdy branches will hold all the ornaments I want.


Poll on Christmas trees

Do you prefer a real or artificial Christmas tree?

See results without voting
Trudy loves it under the artificial tree with no sharp needles.
Trudy loves it under the artificial tree with no sharp needles. | Source

More by this Author


Comments 52 comments

CassyLu1981 profile image

CassyLu1981 4 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

We've always had an artificial white tree. This year I am happy to say we are having both!!! The real one is going outside to be decorated in the front yard and the white one will be in the house (I love the no mess type of trees). There are definitely pros and cons to both! Voted up and shared :)


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

If it ain't real it ain't going up in our house....period!

I don't think I have anything to add to that. LOL Good job Vicki!


Crystal Tatum profile image

Crystal Tatum 4 years ago from Georgia

Well, while I understand some folks' sentimental viewpoints on real trees, it's not really an option for me, given my allergies. Great hub topic!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

This subject always brings to mind a happening years ago when my son (now 57) was a kid. His paternal grandmother had decided to put up a shiny artificial tree, which was a current rage. Steve, who was always an aware kid, came into the room where the tree was, took great big breath and proclaimed, "Oh! Wow! Smell that aluminum!"

I'm not sure my m-i-l ever forgave him. . . .

Personally, I grew up with natural trees all during my childhood & through the early days of my marriage. It was simply part of what Christmas was, especially the aroma of the tree itself. But eventually, the convenience of an artificial tree (green, not shiny) became acceptable; and there were lovely potpourris to supply the aromas.

Your tree and your precious "Trudy" under it are just the nicest of images!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

CassyLu! Both would be great! Then I could leave up the artificial one longer and take the other down earlier!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

LOL, Bill, I'm not surprised! Wish I could have both, but with my decorating scheme, artificial just works better. Thanks for reading. Gosh, artificial trees, comfortable bras--you show up for it all! And I do appreciate it! :-)


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Crystal--Allergies! I have those, too. You're right--that's another reason! :-)


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 4 years ago from San Francisco

Thank you for this. When my kids went off to college, my wife switched to a fake tree.

p.s. I have a train that goes around my tree too.


carol7777 profile image

carol7777 4 years ago from Arizona

I think more and more people are going the artificial way. And it is convenient and no mess. Both good things. Thanks for all the information. Voted UP


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Nellieanna, that's so funny about your son!!!!

I might go back to a real tree one of these days, but right now the artificial really works for me. I'm glad you liked the photo. My cats love getting under the tree! :-)


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Mhatter--I want a train to go around my tree! I always have!!!


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica

It's real all the way for me. I can't stand fake trees. If I can't get a real tree I don't put up a tree at all, that's how much I love the real thing. What you have to do to keep it long is to plant it in some soil in a bucket. Also make sure the bucket has enough rocks to keep it sturdy. Wrap the Bucket in Christmas plastic wrap and water your tree every other day. If you punch holes in the bottom of the bucket you water every day. When i put up my real tree I don't take it down till New Year.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

Ah, Victoria. And such a pretty cat she is, too! Our cats always were so excited, even when we were getting out the decorations and starting to decorate the tree. It was as though they knew it was a celebration brewing. They always fully participated in our activities. Of course, they liked to bat the decorations around when the tree was up and going, too; so we put unbreakable decorations on the lower branches. hehe

Saving real trees to grow up has merit too.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Carol, it definitely does have its advantages! :-)


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Cardisa, I can see your point. I liked the real tree until I discovered the ease of the artificial tree. But I can see both viewpoints. I like putting a tree up early, too, so it's hard to keep it fresh for over a month. Maybe one day I'll try a real tree again! :-)


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Nellieanna, thank you! I know, it's neat how the animals get so excited with the decorating! Yeah, I'm careful what I put at the bottom, and I tie the tree to the wall every year to make sure it doesn't get pulled over.

True, artificial does save trees. Where I used to work, we would buy a live tree every year, complete with roots, for about $100 or so, and then we would replant it after Christmas. Not all the trees survived, but some of them did. That was neat!


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia

I think a Christmas tree is a symbol of Christmas. I found it in every home for those who celebrate Christmas. Thanks for writing and share with us. Voted up! God bless you :-)

Prasetio


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

I am a huge fan of real Christmas trees and am so glad to be in a home and with a financial situation that allows for one now. However, I completely understand why artificial trees make sense for many people. It is important to weigh the pros and cons.

Your cat looks right at home under the tree! So classic.


europewalker profile image

europewalker 4 years ago

I love the smell of a real tree and always had one when my kids were still at home. Now that is is just me and my husband I just put up a small artificial tree.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

For years now I have an artificial tree ;no needles months on end but there is still that magical quality that comes along with real tree.

Thanks for sharing.

Eddy.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

prasetio--The Christmas tree definitely is a symbol of Christmas. Thanks for visiting!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

I agree, Random, about weighing the pros and cons. There are many! Glad you like the pic! Cats are so photogenic!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

europewalker--I can see changing things after your kids left home. Decorating can be a whole lot of work!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Yep, Eddy, I think you're right. Good point. Thanks for stopping by. :-)


TToombs08 profile image

TToombs08 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

Heya, V. Would you believe that I don't really have a preference? I just care that I am able to celebrate the holiday with my family. Heck, some years, we haven't even had a tree. :) Great hub, love the stories of your childhood!


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

Trudy is so sweet. I love how cats are attracted to Christmas trees. It must bring out the natural climbing instincts in cats. We are not putting up a tree, haven't for several years now although we were blessed with one last year. We have a little decorated 3 foot tree that I place on a table and that is that. Your own tree is lovely. I like the Victorian theme.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

T--no preference? I thought an Alaskan girl would go out and cut her own tree! LOL. Glad you like the childhood stories. I love those memories. :-)


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Hyphenbird--I love how cats like trees, too. It's always fun to watch them get involved with the lights and everything, too. I love Victorian! :-)


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

No real trees for me. I tried them, between my allergies and the mess they make I've been going fake for 20 years and never looked back. It's always so sad to see the real trees kicked to the curb after the holiday. I know their only trees, but they look pathetic. "OK, you served your purpose now get out." I say save a tree and go fake.

BTW, Trudy looks adorable under your pretty tree.


nanderson500 profile image

nanderson500 4 years ago from Seattle, WA

I put up a fake tree, but my parents have both a real one and fake ones. To me, putting up a real tree is just too much trouble to deal with. This is a great overview on this subject. Voted up, interesting, and shared.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

I agree, Sunshine! Those poor ole, messy, used up trees! Save a tree!

Thanks about Trudy. She is so freakin' cute!


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida

I hate to see all the live trees destroyed in the name of Christmas! I have always used artificial trees. For one thing, I worry about fire with a real tree. The only time I bought a living tree, I planted it in the yard after Christmas. Yes: let's all save a tree!

I voted UP, etc.


Rfordin profile image

Rfordin 4 years ago from Florida

Growing up we always had an artificial tree until I was about 15 and complained a whole lot that "I wannnnnted a REAAAALLLLL Christmas tree".

Ever since then I've always had a real Christmas tree too. There's really no comparison in the effort involved, sturdyness, and cost in my book. Artificial trees will surely win that debate hands down but for some reason every year I still spend $80+ on a "real tree" and deal with "real pine needles" for months to come. What can I say a glutton for punishment maybe?

Thanks for sharing....your tree is beautiful I might add.

~Becky


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

nanderson500--Yeah, it's a lot of trouble! Smells good, though. Thanks for reading and voting and sharing! :-)


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

mary615--A living tree is cool. Yeah, danger of fire! And I like to put up my tree early and leave it up for a while. Thanks for the input!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Rfordin--80 bucks? Is that what the real ones cost now? Wow. Still another argument for an artificial tree. LOL. It's been so long since I've had a real tree that I just might try it again someday. Glad you like my tree! :-)


Rfordin profile image

Rfordin 4 years ago from Florida

Yeah that's for a 8 ft tree....while we were there we did learn that it takes NINE YEARS for a Christmas tree to get that big....in retrospect that would be yet another reason to lean towards an artificial tree.

But I still opt for the real ones.....

~Becky


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

9 years, Becky? Wow! Well, if you enjoy your real tree, you go for it. :-)


Jeff Gamble profile image

Jeff Gamble 4 years ago from Denton, Texas

I'd much rather have a real one. When we were in Massachusetts we put up a real tree every year, decked out all the fireplace mantles with real pine and fir swags, had real wreaths, the whole deal. Down here in Texas, real trees are way too expensive, unless you go with a live oak or pecan, but those aren't very traditional. We've done fake ever since moving down.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Jeff, I might try a real one again one day. Not if they cost so much, though!! :-)


ologsinquito profile image

ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

I love my artificial tree because my late grandmother gave it to me one year, shortly after my marriage. It doesn't shed many "needles" and it's the perfect size, a little on the small size, but we cover it with ornaments. We also leave it up the entire month of January.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

ologsinquito--I, too, leave my Christmas tree up longer than most people--usually at least until mid to late January. I enjoy the lights, even if I turn the outside ones off. That is neat that your tree has sentimental value. Thanks for sharing your story!


moonlake profile image

moonlake 3 years ago from America

I like a real tree but now that we are older it's easier to have an artificial tree. I like your cat under the tree. Our cat loves knocking the balls off. Enjoyed your hub and voted up.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

I know what you mean, moonlake, about the ease of an artificial tree. I love it how cats gets under the tree. They do mess with the lower decorations, though! Thanks for reading!


FullOfLoveSites profile image

FullOfLoveSites 2 years ago from United States

Fake tree indoors and a real one outdoors. I live in a tropical country where obviously there's a scarcity of pine trees, although there is a certain species of pine tree here in our front yard, I only don't know what name but it is odorless and does grow pinecones. We don't want to cut it down, but we trim it. we also decorate our outdoor Christmas tree so result is we have two trees hehehe - one fake and one real.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

I much prefer a fake Christmas tree. I hated untangling the lights, so I was glad when they came out with the pre-lit ones. Enjoyed the hub!


WiccanSage profile image

WiccanSage 2 years ago

First, I'd like to say your tree is just beautiful. We put up a small tree for our Solstice celebrations, we use a fake one. I love the smell of real trees; I do not like the expense, the mess, and least of all the fire hazard. Fake trees win hands-down for me. Great hub.


Tonyx35 profile image

Tonyx35 2 years ago from Illinois, USA

We've always used a fake tree, Store and reuse.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 2 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

FullofLoveSites--That's neat that you do both and decorate outside! That tree sounds neat!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 2 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Rebecca--I hear ya on that. The only pain with mine is when some of the pre-lit ones burned out, and I had to add extra strands, anyway, since I couldn't find the culprits. LOL. I prefer fake, too, though. So much easier. Thanks for reading. Merry Christmas!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 2 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

WiccanSage I agree with all the reasons you list. Thanks for the compliment about the tree. I had too much going on to decorate this year, but I plan on starting early next year!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 2 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Tonyx35 - It's definitely so much easier and cheaper!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working