Homeowner Elaine Morrison used to enjoy picking a Christmas tree with her children and going to a tree farm. But now that her brood is older, she has made the switch to artificial trees. “I love the artificial trees. I want one in each area,” she says. However, Mark Rohlfs, owner of Santa & Sons tree farms, ” says you really don’t need another bogus thing in the home. “Artificial trees simply don’t have the aroma, presence and spirit of a true Christmas tree,” he says.
If you are still deciding between a real or artificial tree, have a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of each kind.
Tobi Fairley Interior Design
Artificial Tree Pros:
• multiple uses. The current economic climate creates artificial trees more appealing to people who want a product which will last several holiday seasons.
• Flexibility. You’re able to move around every single artificial division according to your decorating and design needs.
• Convenience. Storing an artificial tree is much easier than disposing of a true tree. Most tree styles also come prelit, a bonus for people who are already crunched for time.
Artificial Tree Disadvantages:
• PVC. Most artificial trees are made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a nonbiodegradable plastic; they will outlive us in landfills.
• Carbon footprint. Around 85 percent of artificial trees are made in China; importing them adds to their carbon footprint.
• No odor. A huge part of the Christmas tree encounter boils down to its odor. user Cathy, a homeowner in Alberta, Canada, says the lack of odor doesn’t bother her too much. “I burn scented candles and inhale. The house smells lovely,” she says.
• Price. Quality artificial fir and pine trees can sometimes cost as much as $1,800.
Santa & Sons
Actual Tree Pros:
• Experience. Many individuals have a nostalgic attachment to real Christmas trees and visit tree picking and decorating as a beloved holiday ritual. And nothing beats the smell of a tree in the home.
• Price. Rohlfs claims that a 7-foot Noble or Douglas fir costs anywhere from $69 to $99; trees purchased from home improvement shop lots cost as little as $20.
• Tree leases. Tree leasing firms like Evergrow and Living Christmas now give you a more responsible way to have a real Christmas tree (cut or live) in the house. You purchase a tree, they deliver it, and they pick it up and treat it until the following year; or, in the case of a cut tree, they convert it into biofuel.
Actual Tree Disadvantages:
• Inconvenience. Actual trees mean dropped needles on the floor, which adds yet another chore to your holiday list: vacuuming.
• Disposal. Landscape designer Matt Kilburn says that it consistently makes him unhappy to see trees lining back lanes awaiting garbage pickup right after Christmas. He encourages people to check in their regional tree recycling plans and also to dispose of the trees responsibly.
Note: Rohlfs highlights the importance of getting actual trees from local, family-owned farms. “Support local farming and your tree will stay fresh longer compared to a tree that has been trucked from miles and miles away and sitting on a good deal, thirsty,” he says.
Homeowner Michelle Round says that ultimately, “What’s that we are bringing the magic of the holidays in our house if all is cold, grim and dull out. It’s about how we cut and adorn our trees, about how they express our families and personalities — not simply the fact they smell good.”
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