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Real Christmas tree vs artificial

Updated on December 22, 2013



Real vs Artificial

A Christmas tree is the center piece of your holiday celebration! Choosing a Christmas tree should be fun, and our choices and options have come a long way. There is no wrong or right, bad or good when considering real vs artificial. Each option has its pro's and con's, giving you a huge selection to make your holiday memorable, beautiful and bright!

Brief mention on symbolism and history of Christmas trees

Long before Christianity, people toiled and worked very hard all year to stay alive during winter months, trees that remained green all year (evergreens) had symbolic meaning and represented a bountiful harvest, essentially life for another year. Evergreen wreaths and bows were also hung on doors, in belief that evil spirits as well as illness would not be allowed to inhabit the property or location.

Germany was the first country in the 16th century to start the Christmas tree tradition as we know it today. Back then however some were built from wood and decorated with evergreen branches and candles. Not the safest idea! By 1890 ornaments were arriving from Germany and Christmas tree popularity was increasing in the U.S. Now we see Christmas trees incorporated in Mexico, Brazil, Ireland, Britain, and various other countries. South Africa celebrates Christmas in the summer so Christmas trees are not common there, but windows are often draped with sparkling cotton wool and tinsel.

A few fun Christmas tree facts

  • Trees are grown in all 50 states, including Hawaii and Alaska
  • 98% of trees are grown on farms
  • Over 70 million trees are planted each year
  • Christmas trees take about 6-8 years to mature

Real Christmas tree


Artificial Christmas tree


Selecting a real Christmas tree

Going out to buy a real Christmas tree can easily become a family tradition. Everyone can participate in picking out that "perfect" center piece for the family celebration. Real Christmas trees smell fresh and lovely, they are traditional, and natural. They leave less of a footprint on our beloved planet and you don't have to worry about chemicals or plastic toxins in your home. Since nature is unique, each tree is special and different which changes visual appeal year after year. Depending on where you are located, you'll be able to find a variety of trees such as: Virginia Pine, Spruce, Leyland Cypress, Monterrey Pine, Fraser Firs, and Sand Pine, which are all grown specifically for Christmas. On average expect to pay $50 for a real Christmas tree, but prices can be as high as $2000! Most real trees are used one time for the year, but some can be replanted, adding memories and landscaping to you home. Maintenance is higher for real trees, and you should treat it with TLC and love as you would do any other living thing.

Selecting an artificial tree

The options for selecting an artificial tree are endless, and decorating them is simple. Some come with artificial snow clusters, pine cones, even a variety of colored branches, including pink! Most artificial trees are pre-lit, so you just assemble, add your ornaments and decorations and plug them in. They require little to no maintenance, they can be used year after year when properly stored, and although they are manufactured with chemicals and plastics, they will not cause natural allergic reactions. Expect to pay $80 USD or more for an artificial Christmas tree.

Real vs Artificial

Real Christmas tree
Artificial Christmas tree
All natural not chemically MFG
Made from plastic & chemicals
That "Christmas" smell
No scent, which can be good
Need to be cared for like a plant
Low maintenance
Lighting has to be done by hand
Often prelit
Maintenance & clean up is messy
Easy clean-up
One year use
Can be used year after year
Naturally not perfect & unique
Wide style variety

All you have to do now is choose!

So now you can see the benefits to choosing a real Christmas tree vs an artificial Christmas tree. All you have to do now is choose the option best for your needs and family, start decorating and enjoy your holiday!


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    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 3 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Very unique hub. I'm partial to real Christmas trees because you can't beat the smell of the pine. I know artificial tress can be easier but my vote is real. I love the comparisons you have. I'm sure you're helping a lot of people on the fence decide.

    • Bishop55 profile image

      Rebecca 3 years ago from USA

      What a neat bunch of replies! We have a fake tree, it's on it's last leg pretty much falling apart. I'd like a real one once, but not sure I have the energy to deal with it. It's been a helluva year. I really like the variety of replies to this hub and was not expecting it. Thanks everyone for commenting!

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 3 years ago from USA

      We've been using an artificial tree for years, because we realized one Christmas that our son was allergic to the real ones. It is so much easier too.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      I dared to suggest that perhaps this year we should get an artificial tree, and my suggestion was met with a big thumbs down. I was told that if I dared do so, I would single-handedly ruin Christmas. Wow, I had no idea my family felt so strongly!

    • Dreamhowl profile image

      Jessica Marello 3 years ago from United States

      We currently rent a room so we only have room for a four-foot artificial tree. My family always used to go out and buy real trees, but I have really grown to like using fake ones. Mine isn't prelit so the setup is still a hassle, just a shorter hassle.

    • Bishop55 profile image

      Rebecca 3 years ago from USA

      I meant it. at work, trying to do things I shouldn't. LOL

    • Bishop55 profile image

      Rebecca 3 years ago from USA

      Thanks for sharing is Janet!

    • iguidenetwork profile image

      iguidenetwork 3 years ago from Austin, TX

      We have a variety of pine tree outside in our front yard -- when it was still small it used to be really our Christmas tree, the "outdoor" one (we don't chop it). But now it's too high to put up a star on top of it, although we still decorate the base of our real tree with lights. Now we have the fake tree inside our house. Which is really nice as we can use it again. :)

    • janetwrites profile image

      Janet Giessl 3 years ago from Georgia country

      I prefer real Christmas trees as they are natural, chemical free and unique. Thank you for sharing this useful and informative hub.

    • Bishop55 profile image

      Rebecca 3 years ago from USA

      wow, no kidding? No tree farms there?

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      we couldn't find a real christmas tree sold here in malaysia, basically unless you grow one in your own backyard. Most of the christmas tree are fake, made from pvc plastic.