Real or Fake?

Now, now, that’s not what we’re talking about today!

christmas tree

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Today we’re talking about Christmas trees! My very favorite part of the Christmas season is the tree. I love the smell, lights, decorating and mostly, how it makes a room feel. The Christmas tree glow is like nothing else. They’re all unique and beautiful.

Growing up, we always had a real tree. To this day, my husband and I still get a real tree. There was never any other option in my mind. Part of Christmas was going to get the Christmas tree, not drag it up from the basement; to me a fake tree was never an option.

It would kill my 10 year old self for even considering this, but the frugality in me is pushing more and more for a fake tree. I feel like it will take a lot of convincing on my husband’s behalf, but I’m so tempted to buy a really nice pre-lit Christmas tree and save thousands of dollars.

Real Tree?

Like I said, going and picking the tree has always been a part of my Christmas tradition. I can’t imagine my daughter not having the same experience. If we buy a fake all she will know is mom and dad bringing the tree up, never learning her mother’s mad skills at picking the perfect tree. She will never know the smells of the tree lot, the annoyance of having sap all over your mittens, coat and shoes, or need to have the responsibility of daily tree watering and vacuuming fir needles from your house, year round. These thoughts make me genuinely sad. I loved these memories and want her to have them too but let’s be honest, at an average cost of $40/tree/year we’re looking at a cost analysis situation.

Fake Tree?

Fake trees are easier. You pop them up, some already pre-lit, and plug it in. No messy needles to clean up and minimal maintenance.

The big downsides for me, are room for storage and upfront cost. If I’m buying a fake tree, we’re buying a really nice one. It has to wow me! I also worry about the lack of storage we have. We’re very limited in storage and I wouldn’t feel comfortable putting this investment in a potentially damp area, ruining it. I honestly don’t know where we would be able to store such a large box in this house. We won’t be here forever though.

Who wins?

For us, this year at least, we’ll buy the real tree. I’m not ruling out getting a fake tree later but since we don’t have the extra money in our Christmas budget we won’t be able to but a fake tree this year anyway. I have 12 months to save up and consider buying one next year but for this family, I have a feeling that even with the $40 annual price tag, real will win the battle.

Do you buy a real tree or have a fake one? Why?


38 thoughts on “Real or Fake?

  1. I was a real Christmas tree guy for years. I love the smell of them….but HATED the needles always falling off and needing to be vacuumed up. They also seem to get more and more expensive every year. About 8 years ago we bought a prelit fake tree and LOVE it. The tree itself cost us about $150…not only have we saved money over the years, but it’s less mess, less cleanup, and we don’t have to get rid of the tree afterwards.

  2. We have a fake little scraggly tree that we got when we first moved in together, and it’s been with us ever since! We lived in a tiny apartment so it’s only 5ft tall and kind of Charlie Brown-esque (like I said: scraggly and the needles are a bit sparse), but it’s pre-lit, easy to store, and quick to set up and take down. I’ve become oddly attached to it.. especially as it was a one-time cost of $30!

  3. Our ceilings are only 7.5 feet, which is a blessing come Christmas tree time. Lowes has 6 foot real trees for $20, so this year we went with that. We’ll see what sales on trees there are after Christmas. Maybe we’ll switch next year if we can score a sweet deal on one. 🙂

  4. We don’t usually buy trees, have stopped decorating in the last years. If we do go this route, then we like real trees, even with all the mess. It really smells like Christmas.

  5. I’ve always had fake trees. It’s what we had growing up and it’s what I’ve always had. My wife’s family does a real tree and we still go over there to decorate it. She pushes me every so often to get a real one but so far I’ve been able to use the cat as an excuse to not get one 🙂

  6. Real or Fake? Thought this was a reference to a Seinfeld episode. 🙂
    I love real trees. One year though, we had one die on us and turn completely brown two days before Christmas. Needles were falling off…it was a mess. So we took off all the decorations and went and purchased an artificial one. Used those ever since. Maybe one day we will give Mr. Real Tree a look-see again.

  7. I read something a while back that talked about you needed to use a fake tree for 20 years to match the carbon footprint of a real tree. I thought that was absolutely crazy. Also thought it was kind of cool because it helps justify having your living room smell like pine for a whole month.

  8. I don’t want to sound like a Grinch, but we haven’t bought a tree in quite a few years (our cats went crazy with the ornaments!) Instead, we decorate with lights, pine boughs, ornaments, and stockings. I don’t like the mess of a real tree and we don’t really have storage space for a fake one. However, growing up, we always bought a real tree. But….I can see the benefit of buying a nice fake one. If you’re worried about your children growing up without the real tree experience, you could always buy a real one every few years to supplement the memories. 😉

  9. I’ve always had real trees growing up (I’m from Maine). In fact I don’t think I knew anyone who had a fake tree, since Christmas trees are really easy to come by in Maine. Now that we’re in NYC and live in a 4th floor walk-up, a fake tree sounds pretty nice. The only issue is storage, but we have a storage unit already so that wouldn’t be a big deal. But, there is something really nice about the tree, the smell, the needles everywhere… This year we didn’t get a tree because nobody is coming to visit and it seemed like too much work. We just got out the other decorations instead.

  10. Susan says:

    We’ve had real trees for 20+ years. But this year we made the switch to fake. By us, a real 6′ tree runs about $50, and a fake 6′ tree (that looks acceptable) runs about $400. So it will take 8 years to break even with the fake tree, but now at least we can put it up right after Thanksgiving. The real ones always died in about a week no matter how much water we added to them – and finding a spare day the weekend before Christmas to go get a tree was never easy. : )

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