The Big Christmas Decision: Real or Artificial Christmas Tree?

Real or Artificial Christmas TreeFace it – it’s one of the biggest decisions of the Christmas season. And, no, I’m not talking about watching National Lampoons Christmas Vacation or The Christmas Story. (Everyone knows you watch both!)

I’m talking about the real or artificial Christmas tree decision!

Almost every household has a preference when it comes to getting a real or artificial Christmas tree. Some trees swear by natural trees, while others go with the simplicity of the faux fir.

Of course, both real and artificial Christmas trees have their advantages and disadvantages. If you’re still trying to decide between a real or artificial Christmas tree, the time to do it is now! There are only a few weeks until Christmas, and if you wait too much longer, the pickin’s will be pretty slim for both types.

To help you make the decision, let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons for each….


One of the first factors that comes to mind when trying to decide between a real or artificial Christmas tree is the cost. Generally, real Christmas trees do cost a little less than nice artificial Christmas trees. I’ve even seen real Christmas trees at Walmart this year for as little as $20. Taller and fuller trees from roadside stands, on the other hand, can be pretty pricey. However, you must take into consideration that a real Christmas tree will be an added expense every year.

High quality artificial Christmas trees can also be quite pricey. However, you’ll only need to plunk down the cash every few years, or less often, depending on how well it’s taken care of. Seasonal sales and end-of-season clearance sales can really help take the sting out of the cost of an artificial Christmas tree, though.

Set Up

An artificial Christmas tree is generally the winner when it comes to the initial set up. It can take far less than an hour to put up an artificial Christmas tree and everything you need for the setup is included.

Real Christmas trees, on the other hand, can be quite a hassle to put up. They require special tree stands and lots of time and patience to make sure they’re straight. Not to mention, you’ll have to head out into the cold and find a way to transport an entire tree from the tree lot to your home. If you don’t have a truck, that usually means strapping a tree to the top of your car.


Whether you have a real or artificial Christmas tree, decorating is usually one of the most fun moments of the holiday season! I think most artificial Christmas trees have a slight edge here though, since many of them come prestrung with lights. Some even come with decorations as well, but where’s the fun in that?


Artificial Christmas trees definitely win here! After all, you don’t have to water artificial Christmas trees. Real Christmas trees that are allowed to dry out, however, not only look sad but are also fire hazards. You’ll also need to vacuum much more often when you have a real Christmas tree.


The looks of real and artificial Christmas trees is really a matter of personal preference. I personally don’t prefer one over the other, as it really does depend on the tree. When properly put up and decorated, I think quality Christmas trees are beautiful. And, even though I usually prefer natural items, I’ve seen some pretty sad and sickly looking real Christmas trees.


You definitely want to take the smell of real ad artificial Christmas trees into account when making your decision. Like the aesthetics, this is purely a personal decision.

If you love that piney holiday smell, then a real Christmas tree is your best bet. If you’re not a fan of the pine smell or you have allergies that are easily irritated, you may want to stick with an artificial tree.


Christmas trees and decorations are one of the leading causes of fires during the holiday season. While artificial Christmas trees aren’t completely fire-proof, they are generally made with flame retardant materials.

Real Christmas trees, however, can be bigger fire hazards. The biggest danger with real Christmas trees is not keeping them properly watered. Branches that are allowed to get dry can be very flammable, and all it takes is one little spark to start an out of control house fire. Of course, an ounce of prevention goes a long way. Always keep your real tree watered, never overload electrical outlets, and don’t leave your lights on when you’re away from home.

End of Season Considerations

Your own personal situation will determine if a real or artificial Christmas tree will be better for you at the end of the season. If you live somewhere that you can easily dispose of your tree, a real Christmas tree is a nice option. It doesn’t take up any storage space at all, since it must be discarded. You won’t have to worry about discarding an artificial Christmas tree, but it will need to be stored out of the way for the majority of the year.

So which is it for you and your family — real or artificial Christmas trees?


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