The time has come once again to put up a Christmas tree, string some lights and spread holiday cheer around the home. But that raises the old question of whether to buy a real or an artificial Christmas tree.
Some enjoy the tradition of going to a tree farm to pick out the perfect tree, while others enjoy the more relaxed experience of using the same artificial tree every year. While there are pros and cons to both, I believe artificial trees are the easier, more convenient option.
The fun of having a real tree, for me, was going to buy the tree with my family. For a few years, my parents decided to buy a real tree instead of using our old artificial tree. We always went to the same tree farm a couple of days after Thanksgiving.
After picking out the tree, we would head to a small, neighboring building to buy a wreath and ice cream. So, half of the fun of having a real tree was the traditions that came with retrieving it.
However, looking for and buying a real Christmas tree involves a large investment of time that some do not want to commit to, which is understandable.
Artificial trees just require going to the store and picking one out. Once a real tree has been chopped down, it has to be attached to the top of the car or put in the back of a truck. My family had to borrow my grandparents’ truck whenever we got a real tree, which added an extra step to the process. The years we had an artificial tree, we bought it online and had it delivered to our door, completely eliminating the need to transport it from the car to the house.
Throughout the process of the holiday season, real trees can also be difficult to take care of. They drop needles, creating a mess, and need to be constantly watered. Also, if the branches are too long or the tree is too tall, it needs to be trimmed.
Getting the tree in and out of the house is even more of a hassle. While artificial trees can be brought up from a basement or attic, a real tree must be carried inside from the car, which may be a long distance for some and sheds needles the whole trip. Even inside, there are needles that need to be cleaned up, but at least your house smells good.
After Christmas, real trees have to be taken to a Christmas tree recycling lot. Some are unwilling to do that so instead they let the trees rot in their backyard.
Artificial trees are much less bothersome than real trees. They do not need to be watered and do not drop as many needles. They require one time maintenance most of the time, and that’s the set up and tear down of the trees. They come in a variety of colors, and many come pre-lit. Artificial trees can be kept for years, whereas real trees do not last long after Christmas.
My family used the same artificial Christmas tree for years before the lights began to burn out and needed replacement. If we had used a real tree every year, we’d need to buy lights when those burnt out on top of a tree just for that year to have the same amount of Christmas cheer around the house.
Because artificial can be reused year after year, they are cheaper in the long run. It is like a one time payment investment. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, the average cost of a real tree was $75 while the cost of an artificial tree was $107. This may sound like real trees are a cheaper option, but real trees also need lights and a base, and cannot be used the following year. According to USA Today, WAP Sustainability Consulting asserts that artificial trees also have less environmental impact than real trees if they are used for multiple years, according to USA Today.
I believe that artificial trees are the better option. They do not require as much work and are cheaper if used year after year.
Artificial trees are also more convenient than going to a tree farm every year, and many come with lights and a base. Ultimately, of course, the consumers have to decide which option they prefer, but to me, artificial trees are definitely the better choice.