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  • Writer's pictureKate Krabacher

Real vs. Artificial Christmas Trees

Cover image courtesy of Flickr


Now that Thanksgiving is over, it is officially the Christmas season. Time to get out the lights and ornaments to decorate the Christmas tree! It is a Christmas tradition to get an evergreen tree for the holiday to display proudly in your home. However, more people are opting for an easier and more accessible option, artificial Christmas trees.


The tradition of Christmas trees gained popularity in the United States starting in the 1820s. Families decorate the evergreen tree from top to bottom with various lights and ornaments. This is a key event in preparing for Christmas day. A star or angel is placed on top of the tree to represent the star that the three wise men followed to witness the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas day. The wrapped Christmas presents go under the tree and wait to be opened until Christmas morning. The evergreen tree is a remarkable symbol that makes the season feel like Christmas.


In 1930, a new development in the tradition was created: artificial evergreen trees. This new approach to a Christmas tree has been in use ever since and is now more common than real Christmas trees. Fewer families are buying real evergreen trees to display in their homes. Instead, they purchase fake Christmas trees from places like Target or Walmart. According to Morning Consult News, 63% of Americans who set up a Christmas tree have an artificial one. These trees are made of PVC plastic and vary in size and price. They are easier to display than real trees because they usually come in set-up parts that connect to form the tree.


A six-foot, pre-lit fake Christmas tree from Target averages around $200. Many families see this as an easier option as opposed to going through the hassle of finding a real tree, transporting it to their house and getting it inside, which can all be tricky with a 6-foot tree. A real Christmas tree that is around six feet tall from Home Depot is approximately $140, which is $60 cheaper than a fake tree. However, real trees are disposed of after the holidays. Artificial trees are more expensive than real evergreens but if you reuse an artificial tree each year, it would make more economic sense to purchase a fake tree.

Image courtesy of Target


Although they are more expensive in the long run, real trees are more eco-friendly. Fake trees are made with plastic that is not biodegradable, which increases humans’ carbon footprint. Even though it might seem backward, real trees are more environmentally friendly than artificial trees. Most families find real evergreen trees more Christmas-like than fake trees. There is much more to the tree than just what it looks like. The family event of picking out a tree at a tree farm is a feel-good memory for many people. It is a time for bonding with family. Not only do real trees add to the Christmas look in peoples’ homes, but it also fills the house with a sweet, refreshing smell that gets everyone in the Christmas spirit.

Image courtesy of Flickr


No matter if you are chopping down your Christmas tree or pulling it out of a box, the holidays are always an exciting and joyful time of year to spend with friends and family. Enjoy the holidays!


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