Nov 23, 2017

Real tree or artificial tree? The pros and cons

When it comes to the centerpiece of the festive decorations, and the whole real versus artificial debate, most people are either firmly in one camp or the other. For some, it’s just not Christmas without pine needles all over the living room floor, while others prefer to simply pop to the garage or the loft and root out the artificial tree from where it’s been hiding since January 2nd the previous year. If you’re undecided about which option to go for this year, here is a quick run down of the pros and cons for you.

The first obvious thing to consider is the cost. A good quality Nordman fir standing at around 8ft or thereabouts will set you back up to £75, depending on where you buy it. On the other hand a similarly sized artificial tree could be well over £100 but is a long-term investment, and could last up to ten years or more as long as it doesn’t suffer too badly at the claws of the cat!

Convenience, is another thing to consider. Unless you buy a really good quality natural tree, they do tend to shed their needles, especially after a few weeks in a centrally heated home when the branches start to dry out. So you need to be prepared to have the dustpan out every other day in order to keep the floor tidy. Then there’s the issue of disposing of the tree in the New Year. You may find a local company offering tree collection and disposal post Christmas, but if not, you will need to take it to the landfill yourself as tree collection is not a service that many councils offer. On the other hand, an artificial tree won’t shed needles all over your carpet, and come the 2nd of January all you have to do is pop it back in its cardboard box and put it into storage for another year. Job quickly done!

When it comes to aesthetics, it’s pretty impossible to replicate the individual quirks and charm of a real tree, however, over the last decade or so, companies producing artificial trees have really upped their game when it comes to their looks, and now do a pretty good job of faking it! Like real trees, however, you’ll need to dig deeper into the pockets for the better looking artificial ones. And when we’re considering the overall ‘experience’ of the tree, you just can’t beat the wonderful smell of fresh pine that a real tree fills the living room with. Plug in air fresheners just don’t quite cut it!

Finally, there’s the environmental impact to consider. According to The Carbon Trust,* real trees have a much lower carbon footprint than artificial trees, being equivalent to 16kg of greenhouse gas emissions if they end up in landfill. Compare this to 40kg of greenhouse gas emissions for an artificial tree and you really do need to make sure that you get good use from your artificial tree in order to balance things out.

So then, a few things to consider before you go on the tree shopping expedition. Regardless of the choice you make, have fun and enjoy the experience!