Choosing Between Real and Artificial Christmas Trees

Choosing Between Real and Artificial Christmas TreesChristmas trees are a big part of our holiday celebrations, and it can be hard to decide what kind of tree to go for. To help you choose between real and artificial Christmas trees, we’ve listed the pros and cons of each.

Traditions

Children decorating a Christmas tree
Decorating the tree with family remains an age-old tradition in most households. Photo courtesy of The Heart Comes Home.

Throughout the years, families have made an annual trip to the tree farm in search for their perfect live tree. Purchasing an artificial tree is a different experience, as you can order it online and have it delivered to your doorstep. Still, that doesn’t mean you won’t have room for family bonding.

Whether you choose a real tree or an artificial one, you can keep traditions alive by involving the entire family in choosing your tree and decorating it for the holidays.

Variety

artificial Christmas tree light variety
Artificial Christmas trees provide more shape, type, and light options.
Firs and spruces are among the most popular real Christmas tree species in the world. Usually found in the more temperate regions, these real trees are grown and cut closer to the holidays, then shipped to homes a few days before Christmas.
While the seasonality of real trees can be limiting, artificial Christmas trees mimic their appearances and are available year-round. These provide shoppers many options as to tree shape, foliage material, and even its colors. Choose between the classic green, a colorful tree, and a snowy white tree, and purchase it anytime.

Convenience

Jen Lutz fluffing Christmas tree
Artificial trees require fluffing to achieve their ideal shape.

Artificial Christmas trees can easily be ordered online, saving you the time and effort you’d spend traveling to and from a tree farm. These trees usually come in sections, making them relatively easy to assemble. If you find manually stringing branches with lights too much of a chore, consider opting for a pre-lit artificial tree with traditional or LED lights.

One thing to note for artificial Christmas trees is that you need to fluff their branches to get the best look. On the other hand, real Christmas trees retain their natural shape and require little to no fluffing.

Scent

Scentsicles
Scent diffusers or sticks can be used to enhanced the scent of artificial Christmas trees.
Many people love the natural fragrance of real trees in their home. This familiar scent adds to the festive mood and evokes fond memories of childhood Christmases.
This may be absent in artificial trees, but it’s easy to bring in the aroma of freshly cut trees with oil-infused pinecone ornaments or scent diffusers.

Safety

Christmas trees should be kept pet-safe
Loose needles can be harmful to pets. Photo courtesy of French Garden House.
For those with pets, loose needles from real trees can harm animals when swallowed. Real trees are also more prone to fires, especially when they begin to dry out. To help prevent this, real trees should be freshly cut and have an adequate supply of water at all times.
Most artificial trees, on the other hand, are made from flame-retardant materials, which reduce the risk of fire hazards. These are also ideal for people sensitive to pollen, dust, and other air particles that may cause allergies.

Lifespan

Storage Bag
Artificial trees can be stored and re-used for more holidays to come. Photo courtesy of Inspirations by D.
Real trees are the more “green” option, but this requires buying a new one every year at just the right time. They also need consistent watering and care to stay fresh. To maximize a real Christmas tree, recycle or replant it after the holiday season.
Artificial trees need to be used for at least 10 years for them to count as the more environmental-friendly choice. Instead of buying a live tree each season, reuse your artificial tree for many years. Opt for trees with warranties that guarantee repair and replacements when you need them.

Maintenance

artificial Christmas trees for wedding
Artificial Christmas trees do not shed and does not require constant watering, so they can be repurposed after the holidays. Photo courtesy of Jaime Costiglio.

A real tree sheds and requires upkeep to survive through the holidays. After the season is over, real trees can be composted or recycled.

With an artificial tree, there are no needles to sweep or sap to clean up. After Christmas, take the tree down and put it in storage until next year. You can also recycle, repurpose, or donate your artificial Christmas tree after years of use.

Cost

Different types of artificial Christmas trees
Consider the cost of buying a real tree every year, or spending on an artificial one that will last longer.

On average, a mid-size real Christmas tree can cost you around $50, along with the cost of traveling to and from the tree farm. This minimal cost makes it an appealing choice to many buyers.

Artificial Christmas trees cost anywhere from $100 to $1,000, plus shipping and other processing fees. However, you can reuse these for multiple years to get the most from your investment, as opposed to buying a real tree every year.

Finding the perfect tree helps set the tone for your holiday celebrations. Consider these important factors before making your choice, and get your family involved.  Whether real or artificial, your Christmas tree is a great way to add cheer to your home and create lasting memories with your loved ones.

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