Oh, Christmas Tree, Oh, Christmas Tree, how lovely are thy branches? Real tree versus artificial tree for Christmas seems to be a hot topic every year around this time. The struggle is "real" for a lot of people. The pros and cons of both aren't helpful either. It seems like the debate gets bigger every year. So it basically comes down to personal preference for most. I have noticed though, that people are passionate about their choice. I figured it would be fun to talk it out and share my personal thoughts with you.

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I've always had a real tree for Christmas. I remember as a child, selecting the tree was so much fun. I wanted to continue that Christmas tradition with my family. Every year, going to pick out the tree was an exciting time and my children always knew they needed to dig deep to find their patience because finding the perfect tree was never easy for me. Does it lean too much? Is it tall enough? Will this gap show? You know all those questions you ask yourself for every tree on the lot. Then you have to pack your tree stand and hope they cut it just right to fit in the stand. Don't take off too much of the stump. Don't cut off too many branches. Make sure it's screwed in straight. Then you have to have the proper vehicle to transport it. So if you don't have a truck, you need to make sure you get a tree that isn't too big to tie on the roof of your car.

Getting the tree inside your house is when the real fun starts. The pine needles are just falling everywhere making a thick trail for you to sweep. But, oh my goodness it smells SO good. Now that the tree is in its spot, it's time to start stringing the lights and putting the decorations on. Oh, what fun! Until you start noticing all of the red scratches on your hands from the needles. Once the tree is all decorated, you admire it and smile with pride. But, you know what comes next. Another round of sweeping the pine needles and a good hour at the sink trying to get all of the sap off of your hands. Don't forget, you have to water it and continue to do so as needed.

Taking the tree down after Christmas is an entirely different situation because you aren't as excited as you were when you were putting it up. And the pine needles are falling way more now that it's all dried out from being in your house for a month. You'd rather stick needles in your eyes than take all of the lights off of the tree at this point. Then you have to dispose of the tree. So let's recap the pros for me. It was a fun outing with my family and we kept up with a tradition. It smells really nice. But, gosh those two pros totally count for like five cons each.

Two years ago, after getting a divorce, I moved out of my house and downsized into an apartment. Knowing that I would be doing most of the work myself, my sister in law bought an artificial tree for the kids and me. She got it on sale and figured it would be a great housewarming gift for us since we moved into the apartment in December. At the time, I wasn't thinking anything other than, THANK YOU! I couldn't help but think of only how helpful it was and how sweet it was. I never thought about how it was the first time we would ever have an artificial tree. I have to say, artificial trees don't look so "artificial" these days. They've come a long way from the days when they were invented from toilet bowl cleaners. When I decorated it, I noticed how happy I was that there weren't any pine needles falling everywhere. And I loved that I didn't have to worry about stringing the lights since it was a prelit tree. The placement of the tree and the decorations was so much easier since it was perfect with no holes and gaps. I start to tell myself, "why haven't I done this every year?" I loved the fact that I never had to water it or sweep every day. It didn't smell so I bought a pine-scented candle and that fixed that problem. When Christmas was over and it was time to take it all down, it was like night and day compared to the same task with the real tree. I didn't have to unstring the lights. I didn't have pine needles falling like crazy. And I didn't need to dispose of it. I simply took it apart and put it in the box to store for next year. The best part of all was that next Christmas, I didn't have to spend money on a tree. So there's that. It's an investment and you're not throwing away a dead tree you probably spent a lot of money on to display for a few weeks. As you can see, I love my artificial tree.

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Each industry has an association fighting its cause, the American Christmas Tree Association representing artificial tree manufacturers and the National Christmas Tree Association supporting Christmas tree growers. Both organizations present a compelling case.

TOP 4 REASONS TO BUY AN ARTIFICIAL TREE:

  1. PRICE - Not only are artificial trees strong and lively all season, but they also save you money in the long run! Artificial trees are a one-time cost and will pay for themselves after just a couple of holidays. Yearly costs on a real tree at the tree lot can add up over the years.
  2. SAFETY - Not only are artificial trees better for your budget, they are also safer than live trees. Artificial trees are made of flame-resistant materials while real trees quickly begin to dry out which makes them prone to spontaneous combustion. As time passes, the branches on live trees lose strength and begin to droop, causing your ornaments to ultimately fall and break. And finally, artificial trees are hypoallergenic, making it easier for people with sensitive allergies.
  3. CONVENIENCE -  With artificial trees, it will give you an easier setup, less maintenance, and effortless takedown. You can enjoy not having to worry about over-watering or under-watering. You won't have to worry about sap, pine needle upkeep and daily sweeping that come with live trees. Some artificial trees are pre-lit. The takedown is just as simple as setting it up, disassembling into smaller sections for convenient storage.
  4. AESTHETIC - Artificial trees are perfectly designed to make placement and set up easy. They are perfectly proportioned with hinged branches, so you never have to deal with patchy spots, and they are filled with thousands of realistic needles to give you that full effect that always looks beautiful.

 

TOP 4 REASONS TO BUY A LIVE TREE:

  1.  LOCAL ECONOMY - Christmas tree farmers are local business owners that travel to your area and usually employ local people. Artificial trees are usually made in China and sold by the big box stores.
  2. FAMILY TRADITION - Getting the family out to pick the tree is a tradition for a lot of families. Visiting a Christmas tree farm is very exciting for little children and even grown-ups.
  3.  SCENT - You just can't beat the scent of pine from a real tree. A pine-scented candle will help you achieve that aromatic feel, but it won't be the same.
  4. NO STORAGE - Naturally, if you buy a fake tree, you have to have somewhere to store it throughout the year. If you have a small house and not a lot of storage space this could be a problem.
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It really is just a personal preference. There is no right or wrong in my opinion. And often, people struggle with the decision. If you're still undecided, don't get your tinsel in a tangle. It really just comes down to your holiday traditions and what works best for you and your family. And if you still can't decide, just get both. A house with multiple trees is better than a house with just one!