Artificial vs. Real Christmas Trees: The Pros and Cons Your Need To Know

Artificial vs. Real Christmas Trees…let’s get into it!

I know it seems a bit too early to be thinking about a Christmas tree…

But! Here’s the thing – last year when I talked about our love for our artificial Christmas tree at a more appropriate mid November date, most of them had sold out!

So, I made a note on my calendar to bring this up earlier this year…and here we are!

After years of debating real and fake Christmas trees every Christmas season, we’ve made some solid observations.

If you too, are in this artificial vs. real Christmas tree dilemma right now, today’s post is for you!

large pre lit artiificial Christmas tree


Artificial Christmas Trees vs. Real Christmas Trees – Pros and Cons

The holiday season is almost here!

Which means some holiday decor decisions are quickly coming up as well.

Year after year, the major question that dominates the Christmas-celebrating world is whether or not to get a real live tree.

There are endless reasons to consider both options, but to make things easier, we’ve outlined the major pros and cons of both of artificial vs. real Christmas trees for you below.

So let’s get into the artificial Christmas tree debate…

close up of artificial pre lit Christmas tree branches


Real Christmas Tree – Pros

There are quite a few pros that come with purchasing a real Christmas tree.

Typically, an annual excursion to a local Christmas tree farm is a much loved family tradition.

A fun outing, especially for small children, in order to find the perfect tree.

According to both the American Christmas Tree Association and the National Christmas Tree Association, by supporting local businesses and tree farmers, you’re stimulating your local economy.

Plus, it’s also likely that you’ll find other holiday decor accessories where you find your tree.

For many people, this event heralds the holiday season and is connected with fun family memories.

Finally, natural trees (like a Balsam Fir tree, the most popular type of tree) tend to enhance all the surrounding decor as a mark of real authenticity and enthusiasm for the holiday season.

Real Christmas trees harvested from farmA fresh tree harvested at a farm.

Real Christmas Tree – Cons

Of course, real Christmas trees have some draw backs as well.

They come with a few inconveniences.

First of all, the actual purchase and transport of the tree is a lot of effort and can be difficult.

The upkeep of a real tree is more intense.

It requires water to stay alive and will shed needles as time goes on.

Live Christmas trees can be a fire risk.

It’s also obviously more expensive, as you will need to purchase a new tree at Christmas time annually, rather than only once.

Expense and Environmental Impact of Real Trees

According to the National Christmas Tree Association (the official trade organization for the natural Christmas tree industry) the average price for a natural Christmas tree was $78. last year – a 4% increase from the year before.

Finally, real Christmas trees do come with a few negative environmental impacts, especially if you don’t live anywhere near where trees are grown.

Because, in the United States, the most environmentally friendly trees are the ones purchased locally and then recycled after the holiday for mulch.

So, if you don’t live near any Christmas tree farms, you might want to consider this last point.

Artificial Christmas Trees – Pros

Artificial trees (or as some call them, fake trees) are easier to put up and decorate, as well as being very low maintenance!

It’s a simple procedure to assemble and decorate an artificial tree, and it’s equally simple to place it in storage until the next year.

This serves as a double benefit, as you’ll save money on your annual decor and be able to skip over the difficulty of moving a large tree into your home every year.

Artificial trees are more customizable, so you can choose the kind of tree that aligns with your own personal aesthetic.

Some fake Christmas trees even come pre-lit, so you won’t have to mess around with Christmas lights.

In recent years, modern artificial trees look more like the real deal than ever before.

These days it’s hard to tell them apart from a living tree.

Environmental Impact of Artificial Pre-Lit Trees

If you hold on to your artificial tree for more than five years, it’s considered to be eco friendly as well.

If you’re on the fence like we were, knowing about this environmental impact might be all you needed to hear to end the fake Christmas tree debate once and for all.

Artificial Christmas Trees – Cons

Of course, artificial trees aren’t always considered to be as festive as real trees.

They don’t have the “Christmas tree smell” and they sometimes don’t look as nice as real trees.

Our own tree: an artificial spruce tree from Home Depot in our living room.

Our Artificial Tree

For us, we finally decided to go with a plastic tree a few years ago and never looked back!

It’s maintenance free and SO easy to set up!

I don’t miss the constant watering and worry as well as the constant pine needles (and even tree sap) getting all over.

And, when Christmas is over, it’s SO easy to it take down at the end of the season and store again until next year.

As far as the drawbacks, this is how we deal with them.

We always make sure to have a few of these candles burning around the holidays – while not exact, they do manage to smell pretty close to a real pine tree!

In addition, we still visit our local nursery with our kids.

It’s an annual tradition even though we aren’t buying a tree.

We usually end up purchasing a least one new ornament to commemorate the visit.

Holiday candle which smells the most like a real Christmas treeFrasier Fir Candle

Artificial vs. Real Christmas Trees Conclusion

If you do opt for an artificial tree, I’ve rounded up a few great options below.

You might find (just like we did) the perfect Christmas tree is different than you originally thought it would be.

And, while we’re already discussing the holidays anyway, I thought I’d let you know I just purchased this beautiful tree collar for only $19.98 – at this price I’m sure they won’t last!

Then there’s also this beautiful cane one I was eyeing, it’s just SO chic!

Christmas tree collarWorld Market Open Weave Cane Tree Collar

PS: A fun and easy Christmas popcorn recipe.


If you’re looking for even more design and home decor ideas, why not consider joining our fun and VERY helpful Facebook group?

In this group – members share their own photos with specific design questions and tricky dilemmas from their homes and spaces.

We all chime in with our best advice!

In addition, we also spill our best sources and tips – it’s SO great for sourcing hard to find items and pieces.

Plus everyone is ALWAYS kind and respectful.

free design cheat sheet for home decor

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