Real vs. Fake: the Great Debate

Well, not really. It’s not really a debate, I mean. Seriously what would you rather have: this?

this "beauty" was recently seen at an MCC Thrift Shop. shockingly, these are worth a ton of money. go figure.

this “beauty” was recently seen at an MCC Thrift Shop. shockingly, these are worth a ton of money. go figure.

Or this?

our beautiful Fraser Fir. smells like a forest in my living room!

our beautiful Fraser Fir. smells like a forest in my living room!

It’s not just a preference thing. As a person wanting to live at peace with my environment, and it actually seems somewhat surprising, but a live tree is much more environmentally friendly. Most Christmas trees are grown on farms for that purpose (so it’s not like you’re clear-cutting a forest) and when you’re done with them, they get chipped up and are reabsorbed into the environment.

Fake trees are plastic, made from petroleum by-products and will never die in a landfill. And as for the fire hazard debate, as long as your real tree is well watered, it will not be a fire hazard whereas a fake one can be. Check out the before, during and after pics in this blog post about real vs. fake trees. Crazy, right?

my wonderful husband not only cut down the tree, he took my pic. multi-talented!

my wonderful husband not only cut down the tree, he took my pic. multi-talented!

I cannot imagine having a fake tree. I might not always be able to go and cut one down myself but there will always be folks willing to do it for me (like my husband). I love the smell, the look… just the whole idea of having a huge, real tree in my house makes me inexplicably happy. We decorate our tree with ornaments we’ve gathered on our travels, ornaments made by our son, ornaments that were gifted to us – every one of them has a memory attached to it and it’s such a joy to pull them out and hang them up every year.

Yup, love my tree! How about you: are you a real tree or a fake tree person?


I’m linking up with Apron Thrift Girl for her ThriftShare Monday. I’m always fascinated by her finds and by those of others who share. Check it out!

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24 Responses to Real vs. Fake: the Great Debate

  1. SixBalloons says:

    Love real trees but funny thing, last year we bought a fake tree from my local MCC, then donated it back after christmas. I was pregnant and did not want to crouch to water the tree and sweep needles!

  2. garethbrandt says:

    Being a thrift shopper you must think about the money issue. We bought a fake tree for $75 more than 20 years ago and are still using it. How much are real trees? $50 per year? That would be $1000!

    • indeed i do think about the cost but i am not just a thrift shopper, i’m a thrift shopper for PEACE – which includes peace with the environment. an artificial tree will indeed last for years – in fact, when you die, that artificial tree of yours will live on and on and on and on… it’ll never die in a landfill; whereas my real tree (that i paid $45 for, so you do have to hunt around for a good deal on trees) will first sit on my deck for the winter where it will feed the birds with the edible ornaments i’ll put on it and will then get chipped and return to the earth. sometimes being a thrift-hearted person means spending MORE money, it just means you have to make choices around where you’re going to spend it!

  3. Jill says:

    We had a real tree for many years, but no more – there are no tree farms in our area to select your own, so we either had to buy one from a lot or go hunting in the woods for one, which was never a happy experience. I miss the aroma of a real tree but not the needles falling off almost daily, our preference is an artificial tree, but it has to be a green one!

    • it’s true that we prefer to cut a tree down than choosing one from a lot, it’s too bad that your going in the woods to find one isn’t a good experience – it seems so romantic to me! we choose frasers or noble firs because they never drop needles, they are really amazing. i’ve had my tree stay green until May outside on my deck!

  4. Denise says:

    I would love to have a real tree however a few years ago it became apparent that this mom could no longer go up the mountain ( hill), chop (saw) the tree and somehow manage wrangle it back down to attach it safely to my car….it was a sad day indeed. I rescued a beautiful tree from someone who felt that 7 feet was not big enough and the rest is history. I actually find it can be more work to ‘fluff’ the fake one but once it is decorated the Christmas spirit is same and the lights bring me happiness.

    On another note, I actually have a ‘tinsel’ tree identical to the one above (it has been carefully wrapped in tissue and stored with love) . It was erected each year at my grandparents home with blue flood lights underneath…once the furnace kicked in it would shimmer while grandma would read to us….I love that tree!!

    • yes, i often wonder if i would chop down my own tree if i had to do it myself. Aaron and John usually do that grunt work for me while i say encouraging things and promise hot cider later; still, i’d go to a tree lot and get a real one before buying a fake one. my mom has a fake one (two actually) and it just doesn’t work for me – but she’s not allowed to have a real one in her place becuase of the ill-informed fire issue.

      that tinsel tree of yours is worth a lot of money! the assistant manager at Abby East did some research on the one pictured above and they were selling for upwards of $300 on ebay. must be all the warm fuzzy memories that people attach to them!

  5. Marlene says:

    I also prefer real – put ours up way too early this year but so far it’s holding up well. your tree is beautifully decorated but the topper is kind of scary looking angelika.

  6. Nascara says:

    Your tree is beautiful!

  7. Plastic Forked says:

    Is the “beauty” you posted an aluminum Pom Pom tree? No petroleum by-products there. Your photo is misleading.

    • I am not sure if the aluminum tree pictured with the other green, fake trees is a Pom Pom tree or not. I apologize if the photo is misleading. You are correct that the aluminum trees do not have any plastic in them – and i guess since they are made of metal and wood (most have a wooden trunk) then they are actually recyclable – so a lesser evil! The green trees pictured there are definitely petroleum by-product trees.

  8. SKL New York says:

    I agree with you that a live tree is fantastic! The smell, the feel – and one that is potted can be replanted in the yard 🙂 This year, though, we did something a bit different! Take a look here –

  9. Erica says:

    We live in Oregon where there is an obvious abundance of trees to choose from during the holidays. We always have a real tree. You just can’t beat it. BUT I do have a 4′ vintage aluminum tree in my office as well as our real tree in our family room. The best of both worlds if you ask me.

    Happy Holidays!


    • indeed – i may be having a change of heart about those aluminum trees (don’t tell anyone) i guess if i had to have a fake one for some reason i’d choose that simply because they could actually be recycled. but you’re right, can’t beat a real tree!

  10. Dawn says:

    I love my real tree too! I go to a lot and I get Douglas Fir which does drop needles. But that is the type my grandmother always got and so I do too, reminds me of our Christmases together. I think they are more aromatic too. When I vacuum the needles everyday it is like spraying room freshener, the heat from the vacuum? makes them smell. I do have an aluminun silver table top tree in my bathroom tho and it is really pretty.

    • sounds like you had (have?) a neat relationship with your grandma! i do love that christmas tree smell. i was just sitting next to my tree last night and enjoying all the ornaments and the soft glow of the lights and the wonderful scent. and jeepers. i’m just gonna have to go and get an aluminum tree, for cryin’ out loud – i’m really missing something here!

  11. Van says:

    I never realized it, but it makes sense now that real trees are the better choice environmentally. I’ll be making some small DIY trees this year, but I’ll miss the smell of a real one!

  12. lally Young says:

    I have a fake tree, but a real wreath, my husband sneezes when a real one is near him, hence a wreath is outside!!

  13. we are having artificial trees for 10 years and we will probably use it for a lot longer. We bought it for a number of reasons, we store it carefully, and it looks great.In this my family is also contributing to save the environment means we need not to cut down a fresh tree every year, in this we have saved 10 trees so far. LOL

    • well that’s the debate right there, isn’t it? no matter how long you save your artificial tree, when you finally take it to a landfill, it’s going to stay there forever. a fresh tree – from a christmas tree farm – that is then recycled goes back to the earth. so in my books, it’s still more environmentally friendly to buy a fresh tree!

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