It seems that quite a few of you want me to bring back the “debates” – so here you go!  I love to hear your thoughts on those light topics that everyone gets really riled up about… know what I mean?  Like whether it’s okay to toss dog poop bags in other people’s trash cans or whether you should close the shower curtain or leave it open.


Can you believe it’s almost the holidays?  I am so excited!  I love the holiday season.


Fun story about those sweaters… We had a Ugly Christmas Sweater party to attend a few years ago, and I left my sweater-finding until the last minute, so I ended up buying those sweaters from Dillards for like, $45 each or something absurd.  As a result, we *MUST* wear them every year to maximize our money (regardless of whether or not we have an Ugly Christmas Sweater party to attend). Also, I think that photo ended up on CNN or Buzzfeed last year.  Hah.


Anyway – so.  My favorite part of Christmas is (by far) having a Christmas tree in the living room.  It’s so cheery and beautiful.


I was raised in households that highly valued “real” trees – my parents never, ever considered fake trees for their homes (I think fake trees now are probably MUCH nicer and more realistic than they were in the 1990s anyway).  So I grew up thinking that fake trees were kind of weird.  And I really loved the experience of going to pick out my tree and always thought it must be so sad to just “unpack” it from a box.


But now that I’m an adult…


Dude, I hate. hate. hate the hassle that comes with real trees.  Sure, it’s fun to pick them out, but getting them on the car, through the door, and into the stand is a headache and a mess.  I hate how the tree drops all these needles (because no matter how good I am about watering it, my tree always dies really, really fast). The worst part is taking all the decorations and lighting off (again, needles everywhere!) and dragging it to the curb (I end up with all these scratches on my arms and walls).


So this year, Kristien and I have been talking about getting a fake tree.  Fake trees look SO real these days.  Sure, it’s not as exciting as a real tree but… it sure seems easier.  And less messy.


Other thoughts:


My calculations say that it would take 7 – 9 Christmases for a tree to pay for itself.  That’s a long time! It would vary according to the price of real trees in your area and how nice of a fake tree you purchase.

What the heck are fake trees made out of?  This site says PVC plastic, which can release lead and toxins into our homes and landfills (although most manufacturers say the trees are safe).  Oh, and once we toss it, that tree will live in the landfill forever.

Fake trees are a bigger fire hazard than real ones (source).

A real Christmas tree is an American product; a fake tree is usually imported.  About 100,000 people are employed by the growth and sales of Christmas trees (source).

Real trees are biodegradable and can be recycled.  Right now, over 350 million Christmas trees are being grown in the USA. For every tree cut down, 1 – 3 are planted (source).  However, real trees are treated with pesticides, which can pollute local environments and watersheds (source).

Fake trees and real trees may have the same “carbon footprint.”  It depends on how long you use the fake tree – the breakeven point to make a fake tree “green” is 7 years.


So – what do you think? Real tree or fake tree? 


Other fun little controversies:


The Thermostat Wars (still happening in my house)

The Case of the Sexy Halloween Costume

The Only Child

Do Personal Records Ever Expire?

Women’s Only Races: No Men Allowed?

Who are the Hardest Working Athletes?

The Hand Sanitizer Debate

Do Dogs Belong in Bed?

Locker Room Nekkidness

The Shower Curtain Debate

The Grey Area: Are Marshmallows Vegetarian?

The Race Shirt Debate

The Great Stinky Workout Clothes Debate

The Bib Transfer/Race Bandit Debate

The Dog Poop Debate <— still my favorite, hah.



  • Nicole November 11, 2014, 2:17 pm

    We had real trees until I was 7 or 8 and, after realizing that I got flu-like sick every Christmas, my mom took me to the doctor who suggested I might be allergic to Christmas trees. We had a fake tree for the rest of my time living with my parents. I can tell you that a fake tree, for me, beats the alternative!

    • Caitlin November 11, 2014, 2:22 pm

      Are you allergic to Christmas trees?! That’s horrible!

      • Nicole November 11, 2014, 3:12 pm

        I am! I can be around them but I can’t live in a house with one.

  • Sagan November 11, 2014, 2:18 pm

    I’m totally with you – when I was a kid, we ALWAYS had a real tree, and when I moved out I had a real tree for the first couple years… and it was such a hassle. I’d leave it for several months before taking it down, and there would just be needles EVERYWHERE (procrastination much?).

    These days, Mr Science and I just don’t have a tree in our home. Instead we hang garland and fairy lights over the bookcases and that’s close enough 🙂

  • Jill November 11, 2014, 2:20 pm

    we travel to see family at christmas so no tree for us currently. we have had two real trees and i do really like them. i have considered these factors and i think i would get a fake one but i would probably get it from craigslist or a yard sale.

  • Samantha D November 11, 2014, 2:21 pm

    I always had a real tree growing up. I had a cousin with a fake tree, and it looked so sparse and plasticky. A few years ago, my parents got a fake tree and it looks AMAZING. You would not be able to tell it’s fake without a really up close and personal inspection. I hate to say it, but I don’t tend to get a tree for my apartment and I have no idea what I’d choose….. Some pluses of the fake tree are that they don’t drop pines all over the place, and that they don’t die. Growing up we always waited a long time to get a tree so it didn’t die by Christmas, and it is nice to have it up for the entire season.

    On the other hand I’m pretty convinced by your points regarding the environment and the fresh tree being an American product. I think I’ll probably get a tiny real tree this year and leave any big decisions for when I have a family.

  • Sarah November 11, 2014, 2:24 pm

    This is a good one! We had real trees for a long time when I was growing up and then suddenly we switched to artificial. I think it was a combination of my cat drinking the water from the tree and my dad’s allergies. But I’ve been married for 9 years now (so it’s our 10th Christmas!) and we have had two fake trees in that time, so we definitely aren’t breaking even there. Interesting post!

    p.s. How did Henry do with your tree last year? My son is about a year younger than him and last year he was oblivious but now he’s really into everything, so I’m afraid it’s going to be a mess 😉

    • Caitlin November 11, 2014, 2:29 pm

      We put a baby gate around it – hah! He was okay with it most of the time.

    • Ali November 12, 2014, 7:34 pm

      My nephew pulled over the tree when he was 2! My sister was VERY pregnant and her husband was away on business, it was such a mess – glass from the ornaments everywhere, water everywhere…awful. She now has a fake tree and just started putting glass ornaments on the tree again now that her youngest is old enough to not pull over the tree.

  • Meg November 11, 2014, 2:25 pm

    I bought my fake tree (after years of saying I’d never have one), at Target on Black Friday. It was something like $20, marked down 80%. Thus, it more than paid for itself that year, as Christmas trees the size of my fake tree cost around $50-$75. Also, as an apartment dweller, I don’t have to worry about water damage that might cost me a deposit. I do miss the pine smell, but the convenience is worth it, for the moment at least. Heck, I live in Washington State. I can go outside if I want to “smell” Christmas!

  • Bobbie November 11, 2014, 2:25 pm

    I am real tree all the way! No changing this girl’s mind! We make a whole day out of it on black Friday, go buy tree,
    Decorate and drink hot cider, hot chocolate, eat cookies

  • Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed November 11, 2014, 2:30 pm

    My family is firmly in the real tree camp and thankfully my husband was on the same page too! I love our real Christmas tree and every year I have to fight my husband because I want to get it too soon for his liking 🙂

    LOVE those sweaters!

  • Jenny November 11, 2014, 2:38 pm

    I leave my tree up entirely too long for a live one to survive… Christmas goes by too fast, so I like to prolong it as much as possible!

  • Kathleen Ojo @ My Ojos November 11, 2014, 2:55 pm

    I’ve had nothing but fake trees my entire life, except for one year, when we bought a small potted Christmas tree and planted it in the front yard after the holiday. It’s still there over 20 years later!

    I rent an apartment and don’t want to risk damaging the floor/walls, hate cleaning floors, have killed every plant that has ever had the misfortune of belonging to me, and don’t want to risk the allergies. So. Fake it is for my family!

    I am REALLY excited to get it up this year though. My daughter will be two and a half at Christmas and I think she’s going to appreciate it this year!

    • Kati November 11, 2014, 3:05 pm

      I always had a fake tree growing up because my mom was allergic to real ones too, so as soon as I got my own place I have had real trees! Although it definitely is a bit more hassle, I absolutely love the smell and “Christmas feeling” you get with a real tree! Maybe some day I will switch back but I doubt it would be anytime soon!

  • Anne November 11, 2014, 3:03 pm

    GAH! I don’t know the answer. I grew up with a fake tree. Probably out of convience, but also because my brother is allergic to trees. Now we’ve had a real tree for a few years. I love the smell, but I agree it can be a bit of a hassle. Either way, we have to lock the dog up while we’re gone so that she doesn’t eat the ornaments.
    Regarding the environmental issues, I see both sides.
    I think we might stick with real until my husband puts his foot down and refuses to get one any more. I’ve just been so excited to actually have a real tree for the first time in my life.

  • Gena @ Life FuelFilled November 11, 2014, 3:04 pm

    So, I’ve been a fake tree – I totally agree with you on the inconvenience of a real tree. I grew up on real trees – my dad always got 3-4 and one was always with that white stuff! We got our 9 foot pre-lit tree on clearance at Home Depot after Christmas one year for a great deal – under $100.

    But, now you have me thinking with all the cons of a fake a tree … We are in a rental this year so our fake tree won’t fit – so maybe I’ll give a real tree a chance …

  • Erin @ Her Heartland Soul November 11, 2014, 3:12 pm

    I grew up with fake trees, and my husband grew up Jewish so he didn’t have a Christmas tree. This past year was our first married Christmas, and we decided to try out a real tree. We got one from Whole Foods on Black Friday, absolutely loved it, and are never going back. It stayed fresh and smelled amazing the entire time we had it up.

  • ErikaMC November 11, 2014, 3:19 pm

    Real all the way! The ‘mess and hassle’ only happen once a year so I can deal with needles. I love the smell of real trees and I love not having a huge fake tree take up space in my attic. I love the processes of going out and picking a tree and cutting it down while drinking hot cider or hot chocolate.

  • Rachel November 11, 2014, 3:23 pm

    I agree that real trees are a major pain! We bought a really nice pre-lit fake tree from Costco a few years ago and love it. Easy to set up and take down. While I do kinda miss the smell of a real tree, I just go out and buy those awesome Christmas candles instead 😉

  • Ashley November 11, 2014, 3:29 pm

    My parents always took us to pick out a real tree each Christmas and it was something my brother and I always looked forward too. I kept that tradition going with my son too while he was little. Now that he’s older (about to be a teenager) we’ve gone to a fake tree. It’s so much easier to put up and take down, ours is pre-lit too so no hassle with lights either. Best part, we don’t have to remember to water it because we ALWAYS forgot to water our real tree. 🙂

  • Kelly November 11, 2014, 3:29 pm

    Growing up we had the same fake tree for 20 years. It was actually my dad’s grandmother’s fake tree. That thing was probably 35+ years old when my mom finally chunked it. She just got tired of all the assembly every year and bought one that wasn’t as plastic-y and was pre-lit.

    This will be my third Christmas together with my husband. We bought a fake tree our first Christmas but it’s been in storage the last year because we are building a house and our rental is tiny. I have a small potted Norfolk Pine I have been growing indoors for the last two years and I will decorate that for this year. So I guess I have a real and a fake tree?

  • Hannah Hawley November 11, 2014, 3:35 pm

    I am a real tree girl! I like to go pick it out, cut it down myself, strap it to the roof of the car. I love the smell. I like knowing that it will either be fire wood or decompose and go back to the earth.
    Less plastic!

  • Jacquelyn @justjacq November 11, 2014, 3:57 pm

    I grew up with real trees until my Mom finally put her foot down about 10 years ago (I was 18 by that point) and demanded we get fake. She is highly allergic so she suffered every year. She’s also a major neat freak so all the needles drove her crazy. My parents have a really nice fake tree and sometimes it is pretty said that we unpack it, but it beats all the things you mentioned above that are a hassle about real trees. The tree doesn’t have lights; my Dad takes great pride in wrapping the tree in lights every year! My boyfriend and I argue about what we’ll do our first Christmas living together. I’m so used to a fake tree now that I prefer it but I think I’d like to give real trees a shot for a few years. He is dead-set on a real tree!

  • Olivia November 11, 2014, 4:07 pm

    Ok, I’m sorry, but I have to talk about the poop. I read through most of the comments on that post and I just couldn’t -believe- that no one mentioned what immediately occurred to me. I live in a Baltimore suburb and in my neighborhood the trash man reaches in and retrieves the garbage bags one by one — there is no dumping of the can. So if someone were to throw a tiny bag of dog poop in there I could pretty much guarantee that it would sit in the bottom of the can indefinitely until I’d finally had enough and placed it INSIDE my Glad bag. And that’s something I hope I never have to do. Yuck.

    • Caitlin November 11, 2014, 4:12 pm

      Oh gross! That is nasty. We have trucks that pick up the cans and dump them into the truck bed.

  • Meari November 11, 2014, 4:10 pm

    I’m allergic to pine, so we have to get a fake tree. I have a small one.

    And buying it at the end of the season (for the next year) will save you so much money too!

  • Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine November 11, 2014, 4:13 pm

    I had a big real tree EVERY year of my childhood (My dad helped out at a tree farm so we always took a trip to see him one day, pick out a tree, and watch him cut it down.) But then my mom suddenly became allergic 3 years ago and we’ve had a fake one ever since. It is so sad and I hate it :'(

  • Caitlin November 11, 2014, 4:14 pm

    I grew up with both. I think we did a fake for many years and a real for a few before getting another fake. Several years ago I bought a pink Christmas tree off of ebay (clearly fake) and we used that for a bit and now we do real – one day, in a bigger home, I’ll probably still use my retro pink tree. I love everything about real trees- the smell, picking it out, and just the entire Christmas experience.

  • michelle November 11, 2014, 4:14 pm

    We have a fake prelit tree and I love it! The best time to buy is after Christmas so you get it for half price. The reason why we have a fake tree is because of allergies. A dr I worked for was always telling parents their kids were most likely allergic to their tree when so many of them were sick through out the holiday season. So that’s something to think about when your going to have a new baby in the house.

  • Julia November 11, 2014, 4:15 pm

    I love real trees! I’m currently in graduate school and go home for the month of December so I don’t actually get a tree for myself. I rely on my parents’ love for real trees though! I think I will always get a real tree, despite the hassle, because the memories of my family dealing with it are hilarious: think cats drinking the “evergreen” water, cats climbing the tree, a dog peeing on our tree/presents, and someone-who-will-remain-nameless losing their pants when their hands were tied getting the darn thing in the tree stand.

    Yep, real trees all the way!

  • DadHTP November 11, 2014, 4:22 pm

    I am heartbroken you are even considering this.

    • Caitlin November 11, 2014, 4:35 pm

      LOL wanna come pick up the pine needles?

    • Theresa November 11, 2014, 5:21 pm

      Yay, go DadHTP! 🙂 My Dad would have the same reaction.

    • an. November 11, 2014, 7:30 pm

      I wish there was a button to like this comment.
      Pretend that I just did. Several times. 😉

  • Jelena@ThoseLittleThings November 11, 2014, 4:22 pm

    Ok I am very passionate about this one :)!Cutting the tree is killing the tree. No matter that there is 1-3 trees planted afterwars, you kill the plant for a few weeks of fun. I don’t understand why very environmentally aware people would do so. My parents have same plastic tree for 30 years and we got very pretty plastic one last year

    • Karen November 11, 2014, 7:20 pm

      Do you feel the same way about a bouquet of flowers?

    • andi November 11, 2014, 9:43 pm

      Because I would consider myself (relatively!) environmentally aware and all scientific proof has concluded that killing a real tree that has been living for several years before being chopped down is exponentially better for the environment than manufacturing a fake tree, using it (even for decades!) and then eventually tossing it. A real tree exists as a living organism for several years (depending on size) before being cut down. A fake tree was NEVER alive and exists solely as manufactured toxic garbage (environmentally speaking).
      I absolutely understand many, many other reasons for getting a fake tree and while I prefer a real one I think it’s up to everyone to decide for themselves! There are undeniable benefits and drawbacks to both options. However, if you’re going to speak strictly from a passionate environmental perspective, please do your research first.

  • Kathy November 11, 2014, 4:43 pm

    My parents have had the same fake tree since I can remember… so that’s going on nearly 30 years!! My aunt’s house once caught on fire on nye due to a dry (real) christmas tree. She was going to take it down the next day, but a light popped and poof! luckily everyone was ok!
    My boyfriend however has grown up with real christmas trees all his life, and since we are in a small rental, we are going to get a small real tree! It’ll be my first time! Hopefully my pup knows to leave it alone!
    loved the debate!

  • LizW November 11, 2014, 4:51 pm

    I live in Oregon, Christmas tree capital of the world. There is NO WAY I’d get a fake tree. Real is a bit of a hassle, but nothing compares 🙂

  • Carly November 11, 2014, 4:55 pm

    I am Jewish, so I didn’t grow up with trees. My fiance’s family always had real trees until one year the tree’s trunk swelled and they had trouble getting it out of the stand. His dad finally pulled it out and it went through the ceiling!! Now they only use fake trees 🙂

  • momHTP November 11, 2014, 4:59 pm

    Fake tree vs real tree?? I enjoyed the real thing for many years and most younger people will do the same. I do understand what you’re saying about the mess though. I have gone funky. Now it’s about nice room decorations, and the simple act of plugging in a small forest of three …yes, fiberoptic trees. Takes me back to mid century America 🙂 AND – no mess, pretty glow, very relaxing.
    PS: Most people don’t read the warning of the Christmas lights..must wash hands after putting on the lights due to chemicals on the cords – go figure.

  • Libby November 11, 2014, 5:17 pm

    I grew up having real trees. We never actually cut them down, but got them from lots. Around the time I went to college, my parents got a fake tree and have had that for many years. I have a fake tree because I’m in apartments that don’t allow real trees and last year I found these sticks that smell like trees that I shoved into my tree (it smelled amazing!) My fiance and I have already discussed being a real tree family when we have a place of our own with more space.

    Interesting to note, my parents got a “real” tree last year from the Home Depot lot that is almost like a hybrid tree. It doesn’t really shed needles, but I don’t think the smell is as good. I don’t know the specifics, but for them to change back to a real tree it had to have a bunch of pros about it.

  • Theresa November 11, 2014, 5:19 pm

    100% real trees forever!! I just LOVE everything about Christmas trees and the tradition of finding a tree, cutting it down, getting it home, decorating it, etc. It’s some of my favorite memories growing up and last year Andrew got to experience cutting down a tree for the first time. It makes me happy. NO fake trees around here. And as real as they may look, they don’t smell good. And hey, I don’t even mind vacuuming the needles as they fall. 🙂

  • Kate November 11, 2014, 5:32 pm

    I am the opposite of you, I grew up with a fake tree. Yet, even that was a hassle because we had to INDIVIDUALLY put each limb on it and they were color coded! It was quite a headache and my mom would turn into the Grinch. We loved it, nonetheless.
    I love the smell and appearance of a real true, but it is a lot of upkeep and pricey.
    For convenience and little to no hassle, the pull out the box kind wins for me.

  • Sherilyn November 11, 2014, 6:04 pm

    I didn’t give it nearly as much thought as you, but we had a real tree for the first 8 years of our relationship. Every year we would spend $50 and every year it would die 3 days after we bought it (no matter where I bought it and how much I paid). Last year we bought a fake tree on sale at Lowes ($160 in the Boston area). It was fabulous! I thought I would hate it but the convenience was so awesome. It’s not the best quality but it works well for us. And I love that we can have it up all month long and not worry about it dying. I’m curious to see how well it’s held up for year #2, but we were very careful with putting it away neatly.

  • laura November 11, 2014, 6:19 pm

    Real! You can’t beat the smell of fresh pine needles 🙂

  • Amanda @ Lifetotable November 11, 2014, 6:20 pm

    My friend used to give her christmas trees to her Alapacas that she raised for wool. They loved it! Especially because they were bored in the winter. She wanted to get her entire neighborhood to donate their trees to to her farm, but she wasn’t sure if other trees were heavily sprayed.

  • Miranda November 11, 2014, 7:19 pm

    real all the way! in my area, fire departments and the Boy Scouts sell trees as fundraising opportunities – nice to know the money I spend on a real tree is going to such great causes.

  • Laura November 11, 2014, 7:36 pm

    Team Pre-Lit Fake Tree all the way, baby! No more finding needles in March, dealing with a tangled mess of lights, etc. If it’s the smell you miss, Yankee Candle makes a lovely pine scented candle. 🙂

    Wait until after Christmas to buy one and you can probably find one for 50% off. I think we got ours at Big Lots or Hobby Lobby and it was very affordable (paid for itself in far less than 7-9 years)!

    • Emily November 12, 2014, 7:30 am

      Agreed on both counts! We waited to buy until just after Christmas, and we scored a great deal.

      I too didn’t think I could do fake because I love the smell of real. But I love not having the hassle now of sweeping up needles and setting up, taking down, and disposing of the real tree. I burn a candle with a fir tree scent, and it’s almost as good as the real thing!

  • H.A. November 11, 2014, 7:42 pm

    Personally, I am a strong believer that a real tree is MORE than worth the hassle. Yes it’s more work but that’s part of the magic!! ..and also feels nicer when you work harder for something, etc.

    But what I really wanted to mention was, I’m not sure if your source(s) took this into account or not, but allllmost all of the time when a study is done to compare the carbon footprint/environmental impact of a real vs. fake Christmas tree, it completely negates the fact that before a real Christmas tree was a Christmas tree… It was a REAL TREE. So it’s already spent several years doing all the wonderful things trees do, cleaning our air, turning CO2 into O2, providing food, being a home for various other living things, etc. before it ever becomes a Christmas tree in your home. If I remember correctly, everything I’ve read stated that once you even being to factor that stuff into the equation the fake tree is just not even comparable it’s so much worse for the environment – which logically, makes sense. Sure a fake tree sticks around for longer but that’s because it had to be manufactured out of a stinky pile of crap vs. a real tree that grew and nourished and now just gets to decompose.
    Anyways, just some extra information!

  • Aubrey November 11, 2014, 7:43 pm

    so we have a potted Norfolk pine that has to come in each winter because of the weather so I decorate it each winter we don’t have to deal with disposing it and I like it more than the idea of a fake tree.

  • kwithme November 11, 2014, 8:25 pm

    I grew up with a real tree. We went as a family once to pick it out at a tree farm. I was miserable, I was also 14 so there is that . It was cold, they did not like the trees I picked, it took forever, the hayride was lame, so I was not into the event.
    After we were married, we got a small real tree for our first Christmas. I insisted but got it at a nursery. I was finding needles in July. I was done with the real trees.
    We have been married 21 years and have had 2 different trees. I freecycled the first one after 15 years because I did not like how much room it took up. It went to a loving home. Then we bought a pre-lit skinny tree and I love it. We put it up the first weekend of Dec and take it down the weekend after the kids go back to school. No needles, easy to disassemble, my pre-teen can help haul it.

  • Meghan November 11, 2014, 8:51 pm

    Fake all the way! My grandfather took my uncles to the beach with someone’s tree they had thrown out after Christmas to show them how quickly a tree burns!

    I use scentsicles in our fake trees to make them smell like the real thing!

  • Kate @KateMovingForward November 11, 2014, 8:58 pm

    I come from a “real tree” family so I love real, but YES they are a pain in the butt. There was always a good deal of swearing putting them up-haha! My husband and I did fake for a few years since we lived in south texas, but then switched back to real when we moved back north. Sadly the tree farm we went the past two years and cut ours at closed. 🙁 So now we’re not sure what we’ll do….

  • Hilary November 11, 2014, 9:00 pm

    Oh my gosh. Real all the way. No questions asked. The smell- can’t be beat. The experience- awesome. Sure it sheds a few needles (but makes my vacuum cleaner smell divine for a while) and it’s a little poky but the benefits FAR outweigh the cons as far as I’m concerned!

    • Monica November 12, 2014, 11:11 am

      They have pine scented candles… jus’ sayin’. Lol. 😉

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey November 11, 2014, 9:19 pm

    Fake all the way. I hate the pine needles, the smell of pine trees, and the itchy eyes that come with it.

    PS – Your mention and link to the shower curtain post gave me eye twitches. I still get riled up about the fact that there are people out there who leave the curtain open.

  • Bec November 11, 2014, 10:35 pm

    My mom got a fake tree that was a little more expensive (probably a little over $100) back when I was pretty little so late 80’s early 90’s. That thing lasted until last year and the only reason she really had to get a new one is because our cats enjoyed chewing on the lower branches and then the rest of the branches started to look kind of sad from having a bajillion ornaments put on and taken off every year 🙂 She would leave the lights on and the tree put together year round and just put it in the basement with a sheet over it so that helped the wear and tear. So that was at least 25 years of good use out of the fake one.

  • Carrie (This Fit Chick) November 11, 2014, 10:38 pm

    I gotta go with fake! I just cant fathom having to buy a new one every year and clean up all the mess!

  • Janelle November 11, 2014, 10:59 pm

    Real Trees all the way! I’m passionate about this one – I grew up on a Christmas Tree Farm, and my parents still make a living growing and selling Christmas Trees. The ONLY acceptable excuse (in my book) for a fake tree is allergies.

    Are you cutting your trees fresh from a farm, or buying them from a lot? If they are from a lot, they should ideally be displayed in water – and if they aren’t, you need to have them give you a fresh cut on the trunk before you take it home. It will improve water intake dramatically, and you shouldn’t have to deal with as much needle loss. Also – the type of tree matters. Fraser Firs are great at keeping their needles. Other types of fir trees need to be treated with folicoat – a waxy substance that helps with needle retention. Or, go with a spruce – they are so pokey you can guarantee that Henry won’t grab it more than once!

    Details aside, I can attest that purchasing a real tree supports American jobs – typically, jobs for those that may have trouble finding other types of work due to lack of education or qualifications. Farmers put a lot of love into those trees! They are worth the hassle.

  • Kathleen November 11, 2014, 11:37 pm

    Growing up, my family always went out and cut down a live tree. It was part of a fundraising program put on by the local junior forest rangers as a way to thin out areas in the forest that were really crowded. So you don’t end up with a perfect looking tree but you get to go tromp around in the forest and they obviously aren’t sprayed with pesticides. In theory you’re helping out the trees that remain too, though I do wonder how effective the program is in terms of doing a good job at appropriately thinning the trees. Also, we never seemed to have a big problem with them dropping a lot of needles.
    Regardless, it’s one of my favourite family memories from childhood!

  • Kay @ Kay Bueno November 12, 2014, 12:32 am

    I love the convenience of a fake pre-lit tree. But I grew up always have fake trees, since my family has pretty bad allergies. So I think I’m pretty biased. 🙂

  • stranger November 12, 2014, 4:23 am

    waiting for christmas

  • Courtney November 12, 2014, 7:28 am

    We had a potted real tree that we bought inside each year for the month of December. It was great as it grew with us, and being alive didn’t drop nearly as many needles. Real living tree is the way to go!

  • K November 12, 2014, 7:54 am

    I’ve never had a real Christmas tree.

    I grew up with the same tree which lasted mum about 15 years. One year she bought a white tree which I eventually took when I moved into my own place. That tree was about 13 when I threw it.

    My husband and I bought another plastic one a couple of years ago and it was doing well. Until mice got into our house and shredded it creating a nest!

    I’m waiting until Boxing Day to buy a new one at 50% off… Hoping this will last another 15 years as well!

  • Heather November 12, 2014, 8:37 am

    I had this same debate with myself last year! I actually bought a fake one and then returned it once my cat started chewing on the nasty pvc branches. I will now have a child during Christmas time and just the idea of off gassing and them possibly eating some needles makes me go for real. I always had real ones as a child and as long as I can lift the tree into the house and get it into the stand I want the tradition on tree trimming to be in my family. The pesticides suck, but you can find a responsible grower.
    I have memories of holding the lights for my dad to string up and figuring out every year how we would maximize brightness. I don’t think you get the same Christmas cheer with a fake one. Plus finding the perfect tree can make for such a fun and memorable family outing!

  • Ann November 12, 2014, 8:42 am

    Real is the only way for me!!! I love alone and switched to fake for a year because it was “easier”…it was the saddest holiday of my life! I personally, HAVE to get a real tree!!!

  • Rosie November 12, 2014, 10:13 am

    Real tree all the way!! You don’t get that incredible piney/evergreen earthy smell with fake trees. Plus when you touch them to put on the ornaments/lights you’re reminded that slowly your life is being taken over by plastic man-made products.

  • Ellen November 12, 2014, 10:30 am

    Always a real tree for me. I can see how they’re a giant PITA but I’d probably go for a small real tree over a big fake one. We always go every year to a farm and pick out our tree and cut it down. It’s a ritual. And I LOVE how they make the house smell. We do fresh garland on the mantle too.

    • Ellen November 12, 2014, 10:37 am

      Also, the key to getting a fresh tree to last longer is to have them cut the end off after you buy it and put it in water as soon as you get home. 🙂 Otherwise the sap “seals” off the trunk and it can’t take up water.

  • Nicky November 12, 2014, 10:33 am

    My parents went back and forth between real and fake trees when I was growing up. As an adult I always got real trees but I hated the feeling every year when I threw it away and thought, what a waste. So a few years ago we bought a 4′ potted fir tree. We put it inside and decorated it for Christmas. When Christmas was over, we lugged it outside and tried to remember to water it throughout the year. Each year it got a little taller (and harder to get inside). Unfortunately we had to leave it behind when we moved from LA to Seattle this year. We’re going home to LA for Christmas this year so might not get a tree at all 🙁

    • Nicky November 12, 2014, 10:38 am

      Forgot to mention… The potted tree definitely drops needles on the way in and out but while it’s sitting in the house it doesn’t drop as many needles as a cut tree. A few days before bringing it in we sprayed it with a hose to get dirt/bugs out and that got rid of a lot of loose needles.

  • Anne Weber-Falk November 12, 2014, 10:36 am

    FAKE!! We used to buy a real tree when we were a young couple. It was romantic and fun to go out together to find a tree in our city tree lot. But then the prices went up and at the time $35.00 for a tree was too much. We bit the bullet and bought an artificial tree. We never went back. It looks beautiful every year. People think it’s real, especially when all the ornaments are up. I purchase a good pine scent pot that I hide next to the tree so I have that real tree smell. That tree is now 28 years old and looks as good as the day we bought it. It was one of the best things we did for our holidays.

  • Laura@SneakersandSpatulas November 12, 2014, 10:58 am

    Real trees all the way! You didn’t mention the smell, I LOVE the smell of a fresh pine tree! I have the best memories of bundling up with my family, going to the Christmas tree farm, and cutting down our own tree in the snow. Yes, they are messy but I think it’s worth it. When we’re doing with the tree for the season we don’t throw it out, we put it outside for the birds to live in for the winter and then it eventually breaks down and goes back into the earth.

    My husband and I buy our trees from TROSA which is a drug rehabilitation program for addicts which focuses on giving them meaningful jobs to do as part of their rehabilitation. They provide awesome service each year and even put fabric on top of the car to protect it before tying it on for us!

  • Monica November 12, 2014, 11:10 am

    I’m on Team Fake Tree all the way. We had a fake tree when I was really little, then for the last 20 years or so, we (my parents) have had a real tree. They never look as “perfect”, plus, the needles and watering and everything you listed above.
    At my own house, we’ve never had real, and while I like the “idea” of going and picking out a tree and all that, it is just SUCH a hassle! I will always and forever have a fake tree.

  • Bryna November 12, 2014, 11:23 am

    Real tree for the win!! There is just something magical about going to pick out a tree, and I really do love it. Then you get the fresh smell of tree through out the season. It is a must for me.

  • Reenie November 12, 2014, 11:24 am

    I have a white fake tree. I love how the ornaments show up so much better on the white. I choose a different color scheme each year. Last year was purple ….. it was beautiful. 🙂 This year my colors are red & brown. I buy the ornaments/balls at the end of Christmas for the next year ~ for really cheap.

  • Kayley November 12, 2014, 12:15 pm

    This is a good one that my husband and I still are undecided on. We have had a fake one for a couple years (bought it used so it was on its last leg ha) but now that we got rid of that we are going to the woods this year (with a permit) to cut down our own real tree! I have never done this but he did it as a childhood tradition that his family loved. I am excited about the idea of making a fun day out of getting the tree but not so excited about cleaning up pine needles. We shall see where the debate lands. Something to add: fake trees are more itchy and difficult to put up/take down in my opinion, plus you have to be cautious with storage because you want it to last a long time. PS: hilarious link to the shower curtain debate! My husband does this and it drives me bonkers!! haha

    • Courtney November 12, 2014, 1:17 pm

      I am a real tree convert. Growing up my parents had a fake tree and it always looked nice and we had fun decorating it. However, when I started dating my now husband he and his family lived on a Christmas tree farm so there was no getting around that a real tree was in my future! Now I love the unique character that real trees have, the smell is amazing and every year I get to see all of the families who visit my in-law’s farm and celebrate their tradition of picking out and cutting down their tree. I also see the hard work that local farmers like my husband and his family put into growing their trees and keeping their customer’s traditions alive. It’s nice to see the local community supporting them. That being said there is no right or wrong answer, just what’s right for you and your family.

    • Emma November 12, 2014, 1:19 pm

      We had a fake tree at my Mom’s and real at my Dad’s. The fake was more of a pain! Maybe newer trees are better (or we had a cheap version?) but every year, we had to take every “branch” out of the box and spread it out to make it look full. Then you had to put each branch in it’s hole in the “trunk”. Took forever- I much preferred the labor of a real tree!

  • Kris November 12, 2014, 12:52 pm

    Fake all the way. I grew up with real trees where we went and tromped the fields to cut down our own. During 20 years of military moves sometimes we had real, sometimes fake. I think our fake tree lasted at least ten years until it started falling apart. Now we live in Florida and no way I am putting up a dried up real tree in warm weather. Our fake cost around $100, we’ve had for ten years, and someone always thinks it’s real. I think it’s still got a lot of years left, so win on cost and carbon footprint.

  • kathy November 12, 2014, 1:21 pm

    I swore I would never have a fake tree growing up. Once I got in high school I made my parents take me and I would cut a real tree down to avoid them purchasing a fake one (one advantage was my dad grew christmas trees & sold them when I was growing up). However, now that I am married, and would really like to have a real one again, the fake ones are so convenient. No water spilling on the floor (hardwood to boot), no drying out and needles all thru the carpeting (again hardwood a plus), and having to rely on hubby to go buy one or cut one down. I just pull it out of the basement and set it up myself. Already in the stand and everything. Really nice, but I do miss the smell of a nice blue spruce tree. If I had my way, I would probably still have a real tree. They are really nice and Christmasy!

  • Julie November 12, 2014, 1:48 pm

    We’ve had a mixture over the years (both as a kid & an adult), but I’m pretty much in the fake tree camp now for all the reasons you listed. Real ones just seem like such a pain in the ass at an already busy time of year. Bonus: we have a huge storage room so I just leave the fake tree assembled w/ a big bag over it in our storage room all yr long – no assembly req’d at Xmastime. 🙂

  • nancy November 12, 2014, 1:56 pm

    I am a real tree girl all the way. My husband was a fake tree guy. I won that one for years. LOVED the tradition of shopping for the tree and bringing it home. Our kids just loved it too. I didn’t like how much the nicer real trees were costing and sometimes they irritated allergies in our house. We also got tired of the tree dying before Christmas and we couldn’t have the Christmas lights on as much as we wanted for fear of spontaneous combustion. I never wanted to invest the money in a fake tree though so we kept on buying the real trees. When a friend of ours offered to give us their too large for their home fake tree we jumped at the chance. So now we have a fake tree that looks remarkably real and we can put it up at Thanksgiving and not worry about it dying. I would like to do real trees again one day but right now this works for us. And we couldn’t beat the price 🙂

  • Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork November 12, 2014, 3:24 pm

    Real, real, real all the way! I hear you on the PITA part. But there’s nothing like the smell when you walk into your house during the holidays. We’ve been trying different species of trees the past few years and have found some that don’t drop there needles very much (I believe a Douglas Fir?). However, these also tend to not smell as much. Pick your poison.

  • Donna November 12, 2014, 4:13 pm

    I used to feel the way you do about a real tree – smells so good, all the little extras, like getting it, etc. Then one year my husband made me take it down almost a week before Christmas because it was losing its needles and he was afraid of a possible fire. I decided I REALLY loved this man who wanted to keep me and our kids safe, so we’ve had a fake one ever since. A couple of really beautiful ones, bought after Christmas when it was on sale – always lovely and loved by all. We’re old, now, and the one we have is a small (3 ft) fiber optic tree, which sounds weird, but we were told by a Hospice grief counselor to “get something different for this holiday”. You see, our beautiful baby granddaughter died in late October, after a valiant 2-year battle with a brain tumor. This tiny tree is certainly different! That was 14 years ago, and we still love it. And it brings us peace, strangely enough.

  • Jolene @ Homespun Heritage November 12, 2014, 4:51 pm

    Real! I grew up with the artificial ones (sounds so much nicer than fake, right?) and dreamed those lovely “Vermont Lodge” Christmas dreams of having a real one someday. My folks still have their artificial one after all these yrs. My husbands folks would never consider a fake one….real deal dude! And which way do we lay? Real for most years but there have been a few years (including the pneumonia epidemic of 20-something, Grandma’s funeral in the Great White North (i.e. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula) one December, the year I gave birth 5 days after we adopted two children from China…etc)
    The artificial ones have a season but for the most part we pack up hot cocoa, buy some yummy donuts, drive 45 minutes to our fave place, pick out our tree and eat…drink and be merry around their outdoor fire and then dash back to our place to set it up….

    Honestly, if you get the Cadillac of all trees (Fraser Fir) it drops very few needles and stays fresh and smelling great.

  • marie November 12, 2014, 6:59 pm

    I LOVE real trees, but they give me horrid asthma attacks, so we go the fake route.

  • Ali November 12, 2014, 7:39 pm

    I grew up with amazing 18′ trees that we’d trudge up to the northwoods and cut down ourselves (on a tree farm of course, no National Lampoons in my life…). I now live 1000 miles from home and I typically only have my tree up for a week or two before I leave to go home for the holidays. It’s not worth putting up a real tree for that. I bit the bullet and bought a super nice prelit tree at an after Christmas sale a few years ago and it’s awesome. I can still have a tree and feel holiday-ish, but I don’t have to deal with a dead tree when I come back home!

  • Courtney! November 12, 2014, 7:46 pm

    Fake trees all the way! I am far too lazy to tend to a real tree and I love our rather sad looking fake tree we bought on clearance after Christmas <– the BEST way to get a tree for cheap! I've also been running past a real tree that someone just threw in a ditch for the past year (still has garland on it!!) so I have become (probably unfairly) super resentful of the wastefulness that real Christmas trees are.

  • Samantha November 13, 2014, 1:56 am

    We live in Alaska so real trees are harder to come by!

  • jill November 13, 2014, 8:07 am

    We’re having one of each this year! A white fake one (…I know!) in our kitchen (which is bright turquoise), and then our traditional freshly chopped one in our living room. The white one will be a surprise for our kiddos, and I can’t wait to decorate it. I was always against fake trees growing up, but some of them look so lovely, and more and more people I know are allergic to the real ones, so I think it’s great that people can find a realistic (or bright white, or pink, or black, or whatever) fake ones too.

  • Jen November 13, 2014, 11:14 am

    Ah, the real vs. fake debate. I too grew up in a house that always had a real [MASSIVE] crazy lit Christmas tree. I have such fond memories of going to pick it out, bringing it home, being sad I couldn’t decorate it right away (we’d get it at around sunset) and we all knew we had to get it home, let it soak up lots of water and let it fall overnight. This tradition was such a wonderful ordeal. Get in the car, listen to Christmas carols and talk about having hot chocolate when we got home (we live in Chicago – so the season is always christmas-y). The smell of real trees is so nostalgic, and although I’m a “pine” candle hoarder, nothing beats the real thing, albeit it doesn’t last the whole time. I still remember my mom being so excited as we put ornaments only on the bottom of the tree (she would later spread them throughout) and we waited and would tell my dad to “hurry” with the Christmas lights. – Seriously, some of the best memories of my life.

    now for fake – finally my mom had the same feeling it looks like many share below – too much work. So she got a fake one. Totally. not. the. same. She kept it for many years (10+, not lit, and she spent a fortune on it I believe) and the year I was deathly ill with my first child (morning sickness) – she gave it to me and put it together – so tech. hers is green and I might put it up outside this year and light it to keep it “green” – she later bought a very expensive one with the lights already on it – NOT THE SAME!!! hahaha and a couple years later she has issues with half of the tree going out… So easy, but not the same. I feel like we rush through things because they are easier but this is a tradition my husband and I are sold on – real all the way.

    We live SUCH busy lives. We now have two littles (1 week!! and 2.25 years) and I want them to have the same memories I had, or at least know of the downtime and all day project of putting up a real tree. Sure the clean up is a bit more but so are all our other chores and in the long run, I rather spend time on that. For me the trade off of a fresh tree, debating on how beautiful it is – always thinking it looks small then bringing it in the house and going GAH! it’s huge!! ha. Sappy hands and all – totally worth it for us even if my vacuum cleaner hates that time of year.

    So, real. all the way.

  • Jen Clark November 13, 2014, 2:29 pm

    I say fake only because I am allergic to real Christmas trees. A few years ago my mom got a real tree and I had a horrible rash. The only thing we or the doctor could figure out was that I was allergic to the tree. My hubby is bummed out every year but I am not going through that again!!

  • Sara November 14, 2014, 12:34 pm

    A little late to comment, but, we always had fake trees growing up. My husband’s family did real trees most of the time. We bought a potted fake tree for our first Christmas together because we weren’t sure how our cat and dog would deal with the tree. They did well, so the next year we got a bigger fake tree–we waited until the day after Christmas and got a 7 foot tall one for $50. 🙂 So it wouldn’t take but one Christmas to make it worth its cost 🙂 I went to a Christmas tree farm for work a few weeks ago and kind of love the idea of a real tree, but I don’t want to deal with the things you mentioned plus my pets messing with it and the needles. We’re considering doing a small table-top tree somewhere out of reach of my toddler. I can just see it now, we’ll spend all our time telling him to leave the tree alone 🙂 But if it’s a table top, the animals could knock it over. Ugh. So many decisions! 🙂

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