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Live vs Imitation Christmas Trees

Updated on December 15, 2010

It can be a real dilemma when the time comes to choose a christmas tree.  Do you go with an imitation christmas tree or a live one?  

Both have pros and cons.

The Fake Tree

An imitation Christmas tree may last for 20+ years and therefore should pay for itself over time. The length of time it lasts will depend on the quality. While the fake tree my parents had lasted for over 35 years, the same may not be true for those made today.

Another aspect to consider is environmental. Is the tree recyclable? Most fake trees are made from petroleum based plastics. Plus, how much energy and material was used to create it?

Pre Lit Fake Trees

If you're really busy or just hate dealing with strings of light, you can buy prelit christmas trees and optic fiber trees.

Tired of the snow and cold?  Have a tropical christmas with your own prelit palm tree. It just may help you forget the weather outside. 

Live Christmas Trees

A live tree provides oxygen for our planet while it's alive, smells great, and it can be recycled.  On the other hand, dry live trees can be a potential fire hazard and can set you back $60 or more.

The Potted Live Tree

An alternative to a cut live tree, is a potted tree.  Check to make sure it can be planted in your yard after Christmas (or in the spring if the ground is frozen or covered in snow!).  

Don't have a yard to plant it in?

You can purchase a live, potted tree from The Living Christmas Tree Company in Portland, Oregon.  Not only will they deliver it locally, but after the holiday they will pick it up and plant it in a watershed.  How cool is that?

If you live outside Portland, they suggest you contact your local parks department to see if they can plant your tree.

Open to Tree Alternatives?

If you're willing to part with the usual cultural norm of a fir, balsam or spruce tree - whether artificial or live - there are other options.

Decorate a Ficus Tree 

If you have a ficus tree in your house, use that as your Christmas tree.  You may need to use lighter decorations but it will still work.


Recycled Cardboard Christmas Trees

Cascades.com has created a Christmas tree made out of recycle cardboard.  You can paint it any color you like or let your kids decorate it for you.  Watch the video below to see more:

Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

Do you remember Charlie Brown's sparsely branched Christmas tree?  If not... take a look at the video below:

Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

Make Your Own Charlie Brown Tree

Guess what? You can make your own with a kit from Amazon (see sidebar) or on your own!

To make your own, just find a fallen branch from a local fir or spruce type tree. Secure it in a base. Decorate it with one bulb attached to the very top. The decoration should be heavy enough to make your tree bend a bit.

Voila! You're almost done. It wouldn't be quite the same without a little blue blanket keeping it warm and sending it love.

Recycled Bottle Christmas Tree

You have to see this one to believe it. You definitely wouldn't want little kids or pets near this tree! Even Santa might accidently knock it over...

Beautiful Beer Bottle Christmas Tree by Yummies 4 Tummies, on Flickr
Beautiful Beer Bottle Christmas Tree by Yummies 4 Tummies, on Flickr | Source

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