Fake vs. Real Christmas Trees: What You Should Know

Split-screen image of artificial Christmas trees and chopped-down real Christmas trees
Which is better: an artificial Christmas tree or a real one? That depends on your needs. (DepositPhotos)

Faux or real: this debate returns every fall when families decide to buy a Christmas tree.

But whether you purchase an artificial tree or a real one, each option has its pros and cons — here are five factors to consider.

Weigh them carefully to determine which kind of tree makes sense for your home.

Real Christmas trees with price tags
Real Christmas trees are more expensive in the long run because you have to buy a new one each year. (DepositPhotos)

1. Cost.

Who doesn’t love to spend less money if they can help it?

Well, when you buy an artificial tree, you just have to buy it once, and that same tree will last for several years — maybe even decades!

On the other hand, if you buy a real tree, year after year — for decades — you could spend thousands of dollars. That money could have gone toward a child’s college fund, a nice vacation, or an emergency savings account.

So, if you want to save money in the long run, the choice is clear: go faux.

Fake Christmas tree in living room
Artificial Christmas trees are the most user-friendly option because you just unpack them and display them. Some fake trees even come pre-lit! (DepositPhotos)

2. Convenience.

 There’s a clear winner if you’re judging artificial and real trees by convenience alone.

Artificial trees don’t make a mess like real trees; you don’t have to worry about tracking pine needles into the house or getting sap on your hands, floors and furniture.

That’s the beauty of a fake tree: You just pull the flat-pack box from storage, unfold the tree, and watch it transform into the same shape, year after year.

A fake tree is convenient from the get-go because you never have to compete with other shoppers on a lot looking for that ‘perfect tree’; it’s not messy; and it’s the fastest option to set up, especially if you have a pre-lit one.

So, if you want the fastest and easiest option, again, go faux.


  1. Yes, a fake tree is more convenient. That is until one or more of the light strings goes out and you spend hours trying to determine why, to no avail. Then you have to remove the entire string by trying to find the ends of it then undoing many, many knots and twistings until your fingers throb and most of your nails are broken. Then you have to drive all over town trying to find a light set with the proper length, number of bulbs, and colors that match the other strings on the tree. Next, install the new string by twisting and knoting it and try to get the end to meet the connection to the next string. It will take two or three tries. The best solution is to get an artificial tree with no built in lights. Buy separate light strings and remove them each year.

    • Artificial trees definitely have their unique challenges, Papa.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts with the Today’s Homeowner community!


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