Nothing quite screams Christmas like a Christmas Tree. From picking the perfect tree with the perfect green and thickness of branches, to choosing the decorations with the utmost care; there is something truly magical about standing back and taking in all your hard work and carefully thought out planning of your finished product.
But if we are being honest, Christmas is filled with so many decisions from what gifts to purchase, which pudding to make, and how to celebrate without the whole family, let alone the age-old question of whether to get a real or artificial Christmas tree. In the end there is no right or wrong answer and really it all comes down to personal preference, but we have a few pros and cons of both Christmas tree options to help you make a decision.
BUT FIRST, WHERE DID CHRISTMAS TREES COME FROM?
While the notion of Christmas trees have been dated as far back as the ancient Egyptians, Germany is generally credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition as we now know them. It all began in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes as a festive decoration.
Even if wood was scarce, Christmas pyramids made from wood and decorated with evergreens and candles (the first fake Christmas trees) were a popular decoration found in many homes. And those lovely twinkling lights? It is widely believed that Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree, which has become a much loved tradition in homes at Christmas time around the world. It is said that he was walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, when he was filled with awe by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles.
This popular Christmas decoration, quickly spread across Europe and America and now is a crucial part of Christmas tradition that we can’t quite do without.
SO, REAL VS ARTIFICIAL?
First off, let’s take a look at real Christmas Trees.
1. They Keep Festive Family Traditions Alive
No matter how hard we try, setting up a plastic tree every year doesn’t quite have the same impact as heading to a Christmas tree farm or local nursery and bringing home a fresh, live Christmas tree. For many people who celebrate Christmas, a real Christmas tree is a festive and romantic symbol of family, tradition, and nostalgia, which is why it is a nonnegotiable, seasonal staple.
2. They Smell Incredible
For many this is the only point to consider when shopping for a Christmas tree. While Christmastime comes with its own range of delicious, memory evoking scents, there is something uniquely special that comes with the smell of fresh pine needles. And sure, you can always light an evergreen-scented candle, but if we are being honest, it really just can’t compare to the natural woody musk of a freshly cut Christmas tree.
3. They’re Biodegradable and Recyclable
For many years, the chopping down of real Christmas trees had a pretty bad wrap. It was largely misrepresented as detrimental to the environment, but truth be told that’s not exactly accurate. In fact, they are actually considered a sustainable crop, with many Christmas tree farmers undertaking extensive planning to make sure that any planting and harvesting are balanced to protect the environment. Essentially, for every real Christmas tree they harvest, they plant at least one new tree. And of course, using a real tree means that they are completely biodegradable and recyclable. With many repurposed for mulch, instead of going to waste once December passes.
But before you get too excited, let’s take a look at the other option: Artificial Trees.
1. You Can Reuse It Next Year (and the Year After That)
If your biggest concern, when purchasing a Christmas tree is budget, then an artificial tree may be the way to go. Although the average price of an artificial tree in 2018 was nearly $30 more, an artificial tree can be used again and again, letting you off the hook from buying a real tree year after year. The other thing is that the artificial trees are looking more and more realistic than ever before. Like this gorgeous 7ft Ponderosa Pine or Vienna Spruce – they actually look better than the real thing!
2. They're No-Mess and No-Maintenance
Yes, real Christmas trees are fabulous—but they’re also high-maintenance too. It’s one exceptional houseplant you’ll need to tend to on a daily basis, and not everyone has the time or patience to deal with it – which is totally fair. One of the obvious reasons to get an artificial spruce is to eliminate the hassle of watering, sweeping, trimming, and worrying about the right placement for optimal freshness. And you won’t need to lug it to the end of the driveway or a nearby recycling program post-Christmas – which is a huge win!
3. They're Easy to Customise
You can’t exactly request the specific tree of your dreams from Mother Nature (which, to many, is part of the charm), but ordering an artificial tree lets you customize to taste. Whether you prefer the look of a tall-and-lean Kingswood fir, voluminous Blue spruce, or rustic Ponderosa pine, human-made trees offer whatever you need—even if your preferred tree variety isn’t naturally available where you live. You can also buy them pre-lit, deckled with pinecones, or frosted with illusion snow.