Fake Christmas Tree or Real Christmas Tree - Pros and Cons
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.
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.
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.