Choosing a Christmas tree is part of the fun of holiday preparation. Deciding whether you want a real tree or an artificial tree may not be quite as much fun. Both types of Christmas trees have their own pros and cons. Let’s go through what we think are the best and worst features of real and artificial trees, so you can make the best choice for your home.
Artificial Christmas Trees
• They last quite a long time—years, and sometimes decades!
• They don’t require watering
• They don’t drop evergreen needles or drip sap on your floor
• Some are pre-lit, so you don’t have to deal with miles of strings lights
• They’re very uniform and balanced in shape
• There are tons of different styles, shapes, and colors available
• High-end trees look nearly identical to the real thing
• You may save money in the long run if you use it for many years
• They include a tree stand
• They come in an easy-to-transport, fairly compact box
• You can decorate earlier, and easier!
• They do shed plastic needles when you initially set them up
• If lights burn out on pre-lit trees, they may not be replaceable (Wallace’s trees have a 4 year light warranty and repairs are done in-house)
• They are very uniform and balanced—some folks may miss the character of the real thing
• Most of them are made in China and shipped thousands of miles before being sold
• You have to store them somewhere, all year, and they take up a fair bit of space
• They’re non-recyclable and non-biodegradable
• They may start to look a little worn after a few years
• They’re more expensive
• They don’t offer that real Christmas tree smell
Real Christmas Trees
• They smell delightful
• There’s something special about the family experience of going out to pick a Christmas tree
• If you buy from a local vendor, you’re supporting your local economy and jobs in your community
• There is a variety of different kinds of trees available
• Every single one is unique
• Almost every city has a tree-cycling program that transforms Christmas trees into bark mulch
• For every tree cut, 1-3 are planted the following spring
• Christmas trees sequester tons of carbon and C02 and make a lot of oxygen—1 acre of Christmas trees produces enough oxygen for 18 people every day
• Tree farms occupy land that is not productive for other types of farming
• Farmed trees do not contribute to deforestation and aren’t shipped overseas
• You can replace individual bulbs on strings of lights
• They’re very affordable
• You don’t have to store a real tree after Christmas
• They need LOTS of water
• They drop needles or drip sap on your floor
• They’re a bit tricky to get home if you don’t have a truck or a roof rack (Wallace’s has free delivery)
• You need to have your own tree stand
• You have to deal with strings of lights
• Color variation is limited
• They may not suit some decor themes
• Some tree farmers use pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizer to protect their crops
• If you don’t have a local tree farmer, your tree may travel many miles to get to you
• Availability can be an issue. With the current shortage, tree lots may run out.
At the end of the day, what type of tree to get comes down to personal preference. If you’re worried about the environmental impact, and you have a local tree farmer, you’re probably better with a real tree, since artificial ones can’t be recycled.
If you’re worried about the extra time spent making sure your tree gets enough water (up to a gallon per day!), sweeping up evergreen needles, and having to buy new every year, then an artificial tree might be best for you. An artificial tree may have traveled a long way to get to your local store, but you’ll use it for many years to come.
A real tree may be more maintenance, but you can’t beat the family fun of picking it out and revealing its unique shape, and the scent of Christmas tree mixing with all the delightful scents of holiday meals. And if the scent is what you prefer about real trees, but you don’t want all the maintenance, there are some fabulous tree scented candles available now that smell exactly like specific popular varieties of Christmas trees! Wallaces offers Scentsicles that hang in your tree and smell just like the real thing. We also have room spray and pot pourri in an awesome scent called Smell of the Tree.
Do you know what kind of Christmas tree you’ll opt for this year? If not, stop by our garden center. We’re a great place to shop for Christmas trees in Bettendorf, so stop by to pick one out, or to take a break from the winter weather and get some inspiration from our various Christmas displays. No matter which tree you take home, we’ll help you get your home looking merry and bright!