I was recently interviewed for an article in Real Homes Magazine (it’s the December 2018 issue so if you’re quick, it’ll still be available) answering the question: Are Real Trees Better Than Fake? It was a friendly sort of debate between myself and a woman with three children with each of us having our own arguments for why we’ve chosen what we have. As you can probably guess from the title of my post, my answer was, of course, ‘No, real trees aren’t better than fake’ but this is simply my own opinion and what’s right for me won’t necessarily be right for you.
While I haven’t yet put up my tree this year, I wanted to go into a little more detail in terms of why I always choose artificial over real trees. The truth is, I totally get why someone would want a real tree. Totally. The smell, the ritual of choosing it, the tradition… but, well, it’s not for me. The pros of a faux outweigh the pros of a real one and I’m going to tell you why now…
I’m a blogger
This may seem like a really weird one to start with but it’s actually quite a big reason for me choosing a faux Christmas tree. Ya see, people start looking for inspiration for their own Christmas decorating around November or so. It’s about the time the weather really turns and we start thinking of the cosy winter to come and well, with that, is always Christmas. So in order for me to present ideas and decorating tips before you actually start shopping, I’ve gotta get my tree up. Added to that, most brands want Christmas content to start coming in around November or at the latest, early December. This means I decorate my tree far earlier than what others might do.
Now, real trees tend to need a lot of love if you want them to look exceptionally well after a month of being up. Knowing how much I tend to neglect my plants on a regular basis, I don’t trust that I’d be able to keep a tree alive for the 6 weeks of the ‘Christmas season’ in blogland. It’s just not going to happen. My tree would look dead and brown by 25th December and well, I would kind of like it to last until at least then. So artificial it is.
I’m a perfectionist
There was no 2017 tree – we were in the midst of packing for our move and so I opted for decorating just the dining room instead!
I don’t like gappy trees. I don’t like asymmetrical trees. I don’t like imperfect trees. And guess what? We’re talking about NATURE here. Things aren’t ever going to be perfect. The problem is, I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I want a tree that’s completely symmetrical, totally bushy with no weird gaps anywhere. Oh yes, and the perfect height and width for my room. Not much then! The only way I’m going to get that symmetry and perfection is with a fake tree.
I don’t have children
I actually think this is kind of important to consider as well. I reckon if I did have children (you can read why I don’t here), I would love to have that tradition of bringing the kids to the tree farm to choose a tree, strapping it to the roof of the car, bringing it home and decorating it as a family (awww!). There’s nothing that sounds more Chrissmassy to me than that. (Yes, I watch a lot of Christmas films, there’s a certain lovely charm about the whole thing.) But, hey, the fact is – I don’t have kids. And so I don’t have that tradition in my life. I’m not looking for pity here – not at all – it’s just a fact. And here’s why I’m not bothered by that…
It’s less of a hassle
Saying that, the idea of having to add “drive to a farm and choose a Christmas tree” to my already-ridiculously-long list of things to do to prepare for Christmas doesn’t appeal. Not at all. Wayne goes up to the loft, hands down the box to me at the bottom of the ladder and I build the thing in about 20 minutes. Job done. One less thing to worry about. I also don’t have to constantly clean up dropping needles. It will stay looking exactly the same without me having to do a thing (aside from maybe removing my cat from climbing inside of it)!
And one more bonus: I can decorate it exactly how I want and not worry that my kids want to decorate it their own way (which is fair enough of course when you do have children) but I can be as ‘Monica from Friends’ about it as I want to! Ha!
It’s more cost-effective
Buying real trees is expensive. I have had one of my artificial trees for 8 years, the other 4. So, if you buy a good quality one and take care of it, it can last for years and years meaning you can use the money you save on buying real on what is normally a very costly season!
The Environmental Impact (?)
The whole topic of which is environmentally better is a difficult one because there are so many different factors involved. If you kept your artificial tree for 10 years and then gave it to a local charity (which you should definitely do – please don’t just throw it away!) and they use it for another 10 years, well, the environmental impact of that one tree is going to be very low. However, if you decide to buy an artificial tree every year and chuck your old one into a landfill, the environmental impact will be so much higher.
Many real trees are put in landfill every year (terrible for the environment needless to say) and many places import real trees from other areas – making the carbon footprint of a real tree higher. However, if you buy a real tree from a local farm and recycle it, well, the environmental footprint is so much smaller than fake. So for this, I’d say, do your research and if you do decide artificial is for you, then please do get as much use from it as you possibly can and when you are done with it, please donate it!
So those are the reasons why I always choose an artificial tree over a real one. And now, do you want to join in the (friendly) debate? Which do you choose each year and why?