Fake Christmas Tree or Real: Which Is Right For You?

tree-litDo you prefer a fake Christmas tree… or a real one? No matter what you answer, you’ll most likely agree that, somehow, the family Christmas tree seems to be the heart of Christmas. The fairy lights add to the enchantment… and for some people, cutting down the tree is part of the ritual.

I admit, I adore real trees: We always had one when I was a little girl, and the scent was magical. But it was too sad when the tree finally died. The moment I realized you had to actually kill the tree to bring it home for Christmas, I stopped wanting one. And when we emigrated to Canada, we switched to artificial trees.

Green artificial trees really did the trick for me. I had the satisfaction of thinking about the living tree that didn’t get cut down (at least by my family) – and to me, the artificial green tree still looked as lovely, with its home made pine cone decorations and treasured, heirloom glass balls.

One year, we tried a silver artificial Christmas tree. It didn’t feel like Christmas at all. It was possibly the most dismal Christmas I remember, because the silver tree seemed to affect everyone’s mood. (Or maybe it was because my poor mom was going through menopause.) But that was the first, and last, time we opted for a non-green tree.

A Whole New Meaning To “Green”

Of course, nowadays, “green” has a whole new meaning. And it’s right that we should all be caretakers of this wonderful planet we inhabit. There are pros and cons for both types of tree – artificial and organic.

Real trees are grown on “tree” farms, and are destined to be cut especially for Christmas. When they are thrown out, they degrade quickly – whereas discarded plastic trees will probably still be sitting in the landfills 3,000 years from now, when archaeologists uncover them.

On the other hand, artificial trees can be re-used every Christmas. Small, pre-lit ones are a great option for seniors or the disabled – especially the ones nowadays that come with strings of fairy lights already installed. And you can use them for years.

Christmas Tree Rules It’s Harmful To Break

treesWhen it comes right down to it, “real” tree versus “artificial” tree is purely a personal choice: There is no easy “right or wrong” answer. But you can greatly minimize the impact on the environment (and on your life) by following a few common-sense rules.

  1. Take care of your artificial tree. When the Christmas season is done, pack it away carefully, and store it under dry conditions. That way it will last for years – if you’re going to play rough with your trees and toss them in your local dump every year, well, that sorta defeats the purpose, right? (Yet I know families who have done just that!)
  2. Water your organic tree. Water it often. The biggest mistake people who buy real trees make – and the one that is cited as the most common cause of house fires during the Christmas season – is forgetting, in all the excitement, that this is living material… and a plant that needs water. If it doesn’t get watered, your wonderful real tree will dry out and become a real fire hazard. (And trying to vacuum up pine needles is another challenge altogether!)
  3. Use LED lights - whether you put them on a real tree in your house, one in your yard or on an artificial Christmas tree. They not only use drastically less energy than non-LED – but if you put “ordinary” lights on an evergreen outside your house and leave them on all winter, they’ll kill the tree.

Or you could be like my sister, who digs up one of her carefully-planted white pines in the middle of her acres of forest, and keeps it potted and alive all through Christmas until it can be re-planted back in the wild, during the Spring. Nobody else I know who’s tried this seems to have made it work, or made it not look ugly – but if you want to talk about real magic, my sister is a wizard with all flora and fauna of the forest she caretakes.

Bottom line: Both artificial and organic Christmas trees can instill oodles of Christmas atmosphere and help you keep the Christmas spirit alive and well: But whichever one you pick – keep it “green”

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2 Comments

  1. 1
    Theody Says:

    We’ve always had a fake Christmas tree. Even before going “green” became fashionable, I felt sad at cutting down a tree for Christmas. So we recycle our fake tree every year.

  2. 2
    admin Says:

    Delighted to meet another tree-lover, Theody. ;)

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