It’s a Christmas debate of old; to buy a real Christmas tree or an artificial Christmas tree this year? We examine the pros and cons of each option
Should you buy an artificial Christmas tree or a real Christmas tree?
Artificial Christmas tree advocators will wax lyrical that they are saving the planet by not cutting down trees. And whilst there’s an element of truth to this statement, let’s clarify. The Nature Conservancy in New York found, taking into account the carbon pollution effects of manufacturing and transporting artificial trees (and their packaging), a person would have to keep their artificial tree for more than 20 years for it to be more beneficial to the environment than cutting down a real tree. According to their research, most households only hold onto their fake tree for an average of six years.
So, environmental touting out of the way, let’s examine the pros and cons of real and artificial Christmas trees:
The average real Christmas tree costs from $60-$100 to purchase, depending on size and assuming you’re buying from a Christmas tree vendor and not making a trip into the woods to cut down your own. A real Christmas tree also needs a stand, which can range from $24 to $55.
Prices for artificial Christmas trees vary depending on the quality and size of the tree. For an 8ft, real-looking tree prices can reach $799. At 4ft, real-looking prices sit around $200. Artificial trees that sit below the $100 price point might tick boxes for height and size but vary in terms of quality.
Amount of effort involved:
The process of obtaining a real Christmas tree can require a bit of effort (but many would argue that this is part of the fun); driving out to the Christmas tree farm, choosing your tree, securing it in your trailer or car (pine needles will go everywhere, but at least it will smell amazing), getting it into the house, securing it in it’s stand and then making sure it stays alive. And then there’s disposing of your tree at the end of the holiday season, which either requires you to arrange with your Christmas tree vendor to come and pick it up, or taking it to the tip yourself. There’s a lot involved, but where is the satisfaction without a bit of effort?
In comparison, an artificial Christmas tree requires little effort; assembly and dismantling aren’t too difficult. All you’ve got to ensure is that you’ve got sufficient space to store it for the months of January through November.
Look and smell:
There’s no beating the smell of a real pine Christmas tree. Infusers, perfumes and candles can’t re-create the same sweet scent. And whilst artificial trees can come in very realistic options, they can never really compare scent and look-wise.
However, when it comes to decorating the tree, there’s no denying that it’s much easier to hang decorations off the wire-enforced branches on an artificial tree than the softer branches of a real tree (having a summer Christmas means the pine branches haven’t had a chance to harden from the cold).
And the winner is…
Sadly, and probably frustratingly, there isn’t a clear winner. Whilst each has their pros and cons, it ultimately comes down to the preference of the buyer. But hopefully, this has helped to sway you one way or the other.
Words by: Bea Taylor