Christmas tree: artificial or real?

With Christmas fast approaching, I had a look online for pros and cons about the Christmas trees. I decided to write about my views on this matter. As a child I had real Christmas trees and my mother switched to an artificial one as I got older.

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My husband and I, when we moved together many years ago we bought our first artificial tree. That was before our wedding and we kept the tree until we moved to UK. When I was going through the things we had (a lot of things, as we had a full 2 bed flat filled with furniture and white goods and all sort of small and big things), I asked my mother if she wants the tree. The tree was ok, not amazing, as we didn’t have a lot of money for this, as we finished Uni and had not-so-well-paid jobs. My mother was happy to take it because, while she has lovely Christmas decorations for home, she needed one to decorate an office that is used only a few hours each week. So, the tree we got 11 years ago is still used every year and it looks fine.

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This is how the tree looked like the last time we used it. Festus was 1.

We also had one year a real tree, as a second tree, with roots that I wanted to plant outside. It died before I got the chance to plant it. It was very upsetting.

After moving to UK, in the first year we’ve decided to get a small real tree with roots from a supermarket. It died. As it was the second time it happened, I was so upset and I’ve decided against getting one with roots, unless I’m well prepared to look after it.

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In 2012, the following year, we got our current Christmas tree, an artificial one. It looks great and it doesn’t shed a lot. By the looks of it, we might use it for another 10 years without any issues. In addition to that, this year we’ve got a couple of garlands to decorate the staircase. Last year we had tinsel and I think it will look better with garlands.

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The thing I was wondering is how eco-friendly the artificial trees are. The discussion is not as clear as one might think. It’s true that, eventually, after years of using the tree, it will end up in a landfill somewhere. But, as the same time, the number of real trees I would have bought during the years would have a similar effect, maybe even worse. The real trees, unless they are bought from a local farm, are transported and that adds up to the carbon footprint they create.
Another thing to take into consideration when it comes to real trees, is how they are farmed, soil erosion can be an issue. Other things that will affect the environment are pesticides and fertilizers, used especially in climates that aren’t great for this kind of trees.
What you do with the tree after Christmas can have an impact too. I store my tree in the loft, but a real tree can be shredded and used as natural fertilizer. If it’s not recycled, it’s worse than keeping it in the loft.

After carefully considering all the pros and cons. I’m very happy with the artificial tree that we have. When eventually it will not be suitable, I think I will get a real tree from a local farm that has recycling service after Christmas. I’m not sure if I’m prepared to go through all the hassle of having a real tree, with a lot of shedding and that we can’t have it from early December, as we like.
If you have an artificial tree that you want to change, think of ways how to use it: donate it to a local charity or use bits of it for the following Christmas for decor. Small twigs can be added as decor on Christmas gifts or wreaths can be made from the branches.

Do you prefer a real tree or an artificial one? I would love to hear your thoughts.

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10 thoughts on “Christmas tree: artificial or real?”

  1. Interesting post. I’ll admit, I’ve never thought about the pros and cons of a real tree v an artificial tree. Really interesting subject.

    I would love a real tree purely for the smell! But we’ll never get a real one – unless we plant one outside. I can’t cope with the shedding.

    We have an artificial black tree that we bought when we moved in together almost 5 years ago. It seemed like a good idea at the time – went with out black furniture. I would love to replace it with a white one but I won’t. I’ll just change the colour of the tinsel this year.
    Rebecca recently posted…Breaking BarriersMy Profile

  2. I’m not sure how eco friendly fake trees are, But I imagine if you are using them year after year, they cut down on landfills and also deforestation of pine trees. I grew up with real trees and I think there is nothing better, it had only been since moving to UK that I have had a fake tree and I don’t mind it, I have a full one with extra decorations that make it look real and will use it for years to come.

  3. I prefer having a real tree. I love the smell of them, and also the fact they come in odd shapes and sizes. I just think they’re more traditional.

    However, we have an artificial tree in our house because Tyrone suffers badly with allergies and I we worry that a real tree will make him ill.

    There is a beach just out side of Liverpool where they used to (not sure if it still happens) encourage people to take their Christmas trees there after Christmas and plant it there as they’re great at preventing coastal erosion. Their roots help to keep to make the coast more stable. I think it’s such a great idea!
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    1. Sounds amazing. I had no idea the trees can be planted there. I will look into this when I’ll change my Christmas tree. That would be amazing.

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