Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The great tree debate: real or faux?

Hello there! Thanks so much for the suggestions to get rid of this cold faster! I've been downing Vitamin C and trying the Zicam stuff. It's not completely gone but close. I was trying to get rid of it fast because I'm heading out to Georgia today to tour the HGTV Dream Home...and I'm SO stinking excited! I can't wait to share photos with you soon! 

Because I've put up a few trees over the past few days, they're on my brain. Up till about six years ago we always had a real tree as our main one. For literally all of my life! Then one year the cats knocked over the tree...twice. And soon after that we got hardwood floors. I didn't want to chance them getting wet so we got a huge faux tree from Lowe's that year. 

Sometimes I'll still get a smaller, real tree for another room, but not as often as I'd like. This year I was determined to go back to a real one for our main tree and hubby was on board. But I soon realized with all of the traveling we've had and have coming up, it just wasn't a good idea. That thing would be crispy within days. 

Since I consider myself an expert on both real and faux, I thought I'd share the good and bad about both, in case you're considering one or the other this year. First up...the real beauties! 

Man, I LOVE a real tree. I have many friends that make picking out their tree (and cutting it down) a family tradition. We've never done that but I think it's a fun idea. We always went BIG for our real trees so we went to a local nursery to get them:
pros and cons to real and fake trees

PROS for a real tree:

The scent! It's amazing. (I've been using these Scentsicle things the past few years on our fake trees and they do help add some of the pine scent.) But nothing beats the real thing! 

The natural shape is what I miss -- it's a natural look that is hard to replicate in a fake tree. I've seen some that are hard to tell but they are usually expensive. 😊 Real trees are truly beautiful. 

CONS for a real tree: 

The MESS. It's a mess when it's fresh and it's a huge mess when it's not. You will vacuum up needles all. day. long. the day you take it out -- no matter how much you water it. It will only last so long. There are additives you can add to the water (and always get a fresh cut on your tree) that help. 

You can only have it up for a certain time. For those of us who like to decorate early (well, I always say I'm going to and don't), or who like to keep it up till past the new year, real won't work as well. It will not last that long (and not become a fire hazard). 

You have to string the lights every year. I think the key to a beautiful tree is a ton of lights...so that took me forever. Easily a couple hours to get them all on there. 

You MUST water it well and keep up with it. If you let it go dry you're kind of screwed. It won't take up much water after that and will start dying a quick death. 

The cost. Even if you don't go big like we always did, it's an added cost every year. And you definitely need to invest in a good stand -- especially if you have cats. I know this. 

These outweigh the pros for us now, hence our move to fake. I've always had one or two smaller fake trees in the house over the years, but as I said, we've moved to all of them. 

Our big one is 12 FEET tall and it is a beast. It's hard to even get it all in a photo: 
12 foot fake tree

My husband is not picky about decor in our home but the tree...the tree is his thing. He LOVES a ginormous tree at Christmas. So I go with it...even though I would not have gone this tall. I love that he loves it. 

PROS to a fake tree: 

The lights are on it! I mean, if you buy it that way. And you should. :) I do have a couple trees that don't have lights on them and I string them when I put them up and keep the lights on when I store them. It helps cut down time tremendously!

Minimal mess. You will still get some needles on the floor when you put it up, but it's nothing compared to a real tree. You'll also see some needles on the floor when your cats scale to the top of it every. single. day. 

tree with photos

It's sturdier. At least in our opinion. If you want a TALL tree I recommend going fake. The taller your real tree, the harder it is to keep up. I know this as well. ;) 

You can have a bunch and there's no upkeep after you get them up -- I can't imagine trying to keep up with a few real trees. 

There are also so many styles to pick from -- we have a flocked tree in our basement that I LOVE: 
flocked tree

It was the first one I put up this year -- it's beautiful! I've seen gorgeous real flocked trees but they are a lot more expensive. 

dollar store ornaments

CONS to a fake tree: 

You have to fluff! You'll need to spread the branches apart to make the tree full after being in storage. This takes time, but not nearly as much time as putting on lights. 

You'll need a place to store them. Thankfully we've added shelving to our garage to hold all of ours but it's definitely something to consider. And I feel like we risk our lives trying to hoist the big one up  into it's storage, so we may be moving where we keep it. 
tall fake tree

And finally...no pine scent. :( This one is hard to get used to when you've had real for so long. But I add the pine scented jobbies to the tree and burn pine candles and it helps.

What do you think? Do you go faux or real at Christmas? Or both? My heart tugs for a real one every year...I always want to do it but the convenience of a fake one usually wins out. 

Someday...we'll have a completely stress and travel free holiday season and I'll do it then! Ha! Never gonna happen. :) 

Is there anything, good or bad, that I left out for either one? Bottom line is both are beautiful and you can't go wrong for what your family loves!

Affiliate link included for your convenience! 





46 comments:

  1. I just got my first real tree this year. I was so excited I even blogged about it. We picked it up on Nov. 27th. After reading this post, I'm worried it won't last until Christmas! I don't need it to last through the new year, but i def didn't think it'd die by Dec. 25th. So far, though, I'm loving it. We got a Cypress variety, and it hasn't made much of a mess since we first brought it home. Very little fallout, but it sure is drinking plenty of water. Great post here! Xx

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    1. We have real every year. It is fine as long as you remember to water daily.

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  2. I go back and forth on this one too! My husband grew up with real trees while we always had artificial. I'm hoping to score a really tall, skinny one for the living room in the post Christmas sales but to compromise (and keep up with the family tradition of buying our real tree the day after Thanksgiving) I've started putting a live tree on our covered front porch. I stress much less about the mess, there's no needles in the house, and it looks gorgeous from the street. Merry Christmas!

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  3. I wish I could do a real tree, but my fiancee and I are both allergic, but our fake tree is really pretty, so we don't miss real ones that much!

    http://aneducationindomestication.com

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    1. I have the same dilemma. Also, we discovered I was allergic when I was about 5 so I actually barely remember having a real one ever.

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  4. i am very sensitive to smells so the pro for a real tree is a con for me.

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  5. We never had a real tree growing up and I've never got one since I'be been married (13 years). I think the big reason why is it doesn't last as long, is more of a mess and is high-maintenance. I would also always worry about it catching on fire somehow. This year we won an online auction and got a LED flocked white tree with white or colored lights for $30! We love it!

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  6. In my 29 Christmases I've never had a real tree, and I've never really wanted one. I guess I don't know what I'm missing?

    I love that I don't have to buy a new tree every year. I've only just developed a partial green thumb, and the thought of having to keep a real tree alive for a full month stresses me out. Also my husband has some strange allergies (grass, pollen, cats, Capuchin monkeys), and I feel like a real tree would make him sneeze all of December.

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  7. I vote real all the way. I know you mentioned a lot of 'cons' but we have managed to figure those out easily.

    First the stand is everything. I am in Canada and we have a store called Canadian Tire (think walmart mixed with Target) and they have an amazing swivel stand that has a built in water reservoir! So you attach one part to the tree and then that goes in the base - it has a foot pedal so you can make it straight - and then you add water that lasts almost a week!

    Second - get a tree collar NOT a tree skirt. This way when the needles do fall you can vacuum them up quick or just sweep up if on hardwood. So much easier than the needles getting stuck in a fabric tree skirt. I only have to do needle clean up about twice a week. We hardly get any that fall.

    We always get a Fraser Fir - they last the longest!!

    Hope these tips help for those who want to try going real :)

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  8. http://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/swivel-straight-tree-stand-20-in-0513700p.html
    link to the stand :)

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  9. We spent over $300 (on sale) on a fake pre-lit LED tree. On our third Christmas, the lights were off in some sections. I tried everything to fix them and spent hours replacing and checking circuits. If I had to do it again, I would NOT get a pre-lit tree. Yes, putting the lights on is a pain, but taking off strings from a pre-lit tree is nearly impossible. I am so disappointed in this tree. It received great reviews too. :(

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    1. I agree totally! We have the same issue with ours. So we finally strung lights in it so as to not have to buy another one. But kind of defeats the purpose.

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    2. Yep! See my post about the $700.12 foot pre-lit tree we bought where the lights didn't work after three years. Very disappointing and we spent that much money thinking we'd never have to buy lights ever again only to be told after the fact ( we should've asked before we bought) the lights on a pre-lit tree are the Same kind you buy to string on your tree they don't last any longer -we figured that investment was going to pay off- boy were we wrong!

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  10. If you go to tree farm and get one cut for you and keep it watered, especially the first week, a Fraser Fir will last well into January! And we get ours the day after Thanksgiving. Last year it still looked so good I felt bad taking it down on January 6th. ha

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  11. I love my real tree. It won't go up until around the 15-18th of December and will be taken down on Epiphany (Jan06). I've never had a problem with it not lasting. My tree will be frozen solid when I get it and it takes overnight before it can be decorated. I wouldn't change it!

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  12. I vote neither. We collect ornaments from our travels and have ornament trees. Love them! It's what I want to see most on a tree. I hate designer trees that look perfect. When I'm over someone's place at Christmastime I look at all their ornaments. If they're all the same- the tree is boring. We have memories on our tree and I love it when we pull out the ornaments and remember all of our trips and what we did on them.

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  13. We do real, but I went too small this year :( I may go Griswold before Christmas (I suspect my hubs may as well) though. I see that you have some greenery in vases already does that last into the holiday?

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  14. We have a faux tree but I add some evergreen sprigs to decorate our mantle and also on one of our dining room lights. It gives a good evergreen scent (without all the hassle!)
    Also, I remember reading about your cute little Dollar Spot tree. You mentioned you got that little tree skirt at H&M (and cut a hole) - was it a blanket or skirt? I tried searching the site but not sure where to look! Thanks!

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  15. We do both. We have two trees every year, one fake and one balled to plant later(fairly small) The real tree goes in our room and decorated with my children's handmade ornaments from 20 years ago(pretty ratty at this stage but still love them). Our fake tree we have had for 20 years and it still looks good.




    ~Dana@HAUS

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  16. We have done both types in our 33 years of marriage. It will be artificial this year but real fraser firs are my favorite. I agree with you on the pre-lit and that's the reason I go artificial.

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  17. I prefer a fake, pre-lit tree and get a table arrangement with real greens for the dining room, and or entrance.

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  18. For whatever reason fakes christmas trees (fake plants, in general) REALLY bum me out. I'm not even entirely sure why, but it just feels sad to me. A real tree in the house.. albiet an already cut down one, is magic.

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  19. When my children were small, we'd take them to a tree farm and cut down our own tree. The smell was lovely! Right up to the point that we realized one year that the live tree was the cause of my husband's yearly bout with severe sinus issues, lol! So, it's been a fake tree for us every year since then.

    We've always had more than one tree decorated for Christmas. The children each had a small tree in their bedrooms that they could decorate any way they pleased. My daughter has continued that tradition with her little girl. And my son in-law and I agree that every house needs a Charlie Brown tree in it at Christmas time, lol!

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  20. We've had both. Right before my oldest was born, he's 20, I bought one of the first pre-lit trees on clearance. It's a beautiful tree, just right. The lights are a pain to connect just right every year. A few years ago my kids lobbied hard for a real tree with colored lights for once, so off to the tree farm we went. I don't know what was up with this tree, but just decorating it if you got anywhere near the needles it was itchy. My poor younger son had permanent hives that required a doctor visit. He didn't quite believe it could be the tree. It was the tree. I couldn't wait to get it out of the house. And almost immediately my son's hives went away. Yep, we are back to fake. But my heart will always want real. Our cats never bothered the tree btw. We were lucky there!

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  21. For years we had a real tree--making a tradition of cutting it down. We've even had live trees where you plant it after Christmas. Until I realized I was sick every Christmas and finally figured out it was the tree! No allergy symptoms with the fake tree. And they've come a long way. Your trees look beautiful!

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  22. We had a beautiful pre lit 12 ft tree--spent $700 quite a few years ago. The lights stopped working after about three years. Quite a disappointment love the tree but it just was so hard to decorate and artificial lights we starting stringing it with after the pre-lit ones burned out would go out sometimes in the middle of the Christmas season and it was such a pain to have to climb up a ladder and fix the lights etc. So we ended up selling it on craigslist for about $100 and I even had to buy a stand for it to sell it that was $50 so basically it was a large fail. I'm thinking maybe now the pre-lit trees last longer but when I talk to the seller they said no, the lights only last as long as any other light she would buy for a tree. We are currently using our 18 foot artificial tree and we string new lights every year to avoid something going out in the middle of the season after the tree is already decorated. This year I purchased some LEDs and I'm going to try those out even though it was a great investment in lights but if they last a few years it will be a benefit. Also wonder How you store the tree with the lights on it if you have to un-assemble the tree. We are always concerned the lights will get damage during the storage process.

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  23. Our artificial tree had some branches with light failure this year. I read on-line some solutions. First, a burnt out bulb really stresses the branch. The other lights heat up and burn out too. This year I found about 100 bulbs burnt out among the branches in our tree that I replaced. There are fuse lights with a white ring that short and there are tricks to replace them. Also, in the plugs there are fuses that blow out and can be replaced. I was succesful on one side of the tree but there are bottom brances out on the other. They face the wall! We did the real tree for many years but I love my artificial tree and hope to keep it going with care. They are not carefree.

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  24. We do real trees but would love to do a fake...however when we had a fake one for a few years the accumulated dust bothered my asthma! Even though it was stored in a bin etc those fake ones seem to attract dust...if u take a white cloth and run it along a few branches a couple times you can see what I mean.( Of course it seems crazy that the real one doesn't bother my asthma) of course this was almost twenty years ago with a 5 year old tree so maybe I need to try a new one...anyone else notice this problem?

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  25. I'm in the artificial tree camp. We always had a real tree growing up and I loved all the fun and tradition that came along with picking it out but having an artificial tree is just so much more convenient. I can put it up whenever is convenient and don't have to worry about it when we go out of town for the holidays.

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  26. Real tree all the way! A big part of the fun is bundling up and trekking with the kids to find the perfect tree. The excitement of finding and cutting down that perfect tree. The smell that fills your house. Hmmmm The downside is that you can't put it up as early or the needles will fall. But that smell....

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  27. Sarah, here is the solution! We have many trees in our home (7!) so real is just not an option. BUT, we put a real tree on our front porch. You do still have to do lights, but it is sooooooo stunning. We live in Michigan, you have to select ornament appropriately, but it is a win win!!

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  28. Fake..I find no pros to a real tree, and especially cutting down a perfectly good growing tree would give me great pain.

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  29. I have two male dogs that are affectionately called "The Puppies from Hell". Their philosophy is if you can't eat it or play with it you pee on it. The last 9 years of Christmas trees has been interesting to say the least. Last year I tried something different which I will repeat this year. I went to a tree lot and told them I wanted the shortest, ugliest tree they had. I spend $20 for it and loved it. I put it on an end table so the "boys" could not reach it. It was flat on one side - this faced the wall. One side had full beautiful limbs and the other had short stubby limbs. The short stubby side faced where the back door opened and the full limbs spread into the living room. I loved it. I had found a home for a tree that would probably not been bought and it fit perfectly in my house. I probably won't be so lucky this year but I will still pick out the shortest, ugliest tree.

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  30. Your not far from me! Be sure to stop in the little town of Chickamauga, GA! Our own little Mayberry!

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  31. I adore a real tree, but alas, all of my boys are allergic. It's just not worth the snot, Kleenex and runny eyes.

    That said, I was blessed with a GORGEOUS 14-foot pre-lit faux tree by someone at church 2 years ago. It's HUGE and I even put it up on a table to keep the dog tails away from my pretties - thank goodness for 20-foot ceilings!
    Glade came out with a great smelling automatic spray refill this year that smells just like a real tree. I've got automatic sprayers all over the house (because, well, 3 boys) so I just filled with that and my whole house smells like Christmas!

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  32. HI,
    Love this website! You are spot on with this debate...Been a real tree chick my entire life until I realized it was central to my allergy issues during the holidays...duh! So, when I remairried 7 years ago, my new hubby and I (who, btw,is also allergic to the local cedar/juniper trees we have here in central Texas)decided to spend the big bucks and get a really nice prelit artificial tree. For us, Christmas has been saved as a fabulous and wonderful holiday allergy-free. The plus side with the ease of decorating and clean-up score high on my list as well....Have a wonderful Christmas. Jackie Deorsam thenaturesbeauty.com

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  33. I just love a real tree! It took me a while to realize that it's the tree that was making me sneeze horribly when I go to friends homes and social events. So no more real trees for us!

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  34. Where did you buy your 12ft tree.

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  35. We prefer real trees, fraser fir lasts a long time, no tree this year due to travels, BUT!! I REALLY want to see your cats hanging out at the top of your "GINORMOUS" Christmas tree!
    And I, too, prefer ornaments collected over the years. They are so much more interesting. All my kids are grown and gone, so they took their ornaments with them. I still have plenty left.

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  36. Growing up my family always did real trees. I didn't care for it because as the youngest I always got stuck watering it. Now that I'm older and live with my sister and her kids, we have a fake tree. I'm hoping to be on my own next year and since I don't have kids I'm going to either not have a tree at all or just have a small fake one. Even when I have a family of my own though I'll stick with fake. My sister figured out a good way to keep the tree smelling more pine-y is to have the pine sticks in the box when you store it. And we definitely burn pine-scented candles a lot!

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  37. I love real Christmas trees but we have a fake one too. The fake one we put out right after Thanksgiving and let the kids decorate it and then a week or so later we go and buy two real trees. Going and picking out the trees is probably our favorite Christmas tradition. We have two decent stands and they don't fall over ever and if we throw them out in the beginning of January there isn't a big problem with the pine needles either. Watering is certainly a bit annoying but we just try to leave a convenient spot to pour in the water and although they drink a ton at first they slow down as they get older so that it is not quite as much of a chore. It certainly is some extra work but I think having them is so fun it is totally worth it!

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  38. When I was a child we had a real tree until I was around age 10. Each year I would come down with a very severe case of bronchitis. I can remember missing school parties and other activities because I was so sick. Eventually my parents thought to try out a fake tree and voila, no more "Christmas season bronchitis". So fake it is. We lived in a town house for 9 years and had a sweet little tree. The last year we lived there we upgraded slightly and thought it was so big. We now live in a much bigger house with an open concept first floor and our tree looks tiny. We are toying with putting it in the play room and upgrading our living room one. But I think I am partial to smaller trees. it just suits us.

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  39. Wow Amazing tree home decorations. I Like it..Damaceen

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  40. We had a fake tree for years. Now that the kids are older, we've been getting a real one. I don't have to worry about them messing with it and getting needles everywhere.

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  41. We also do the fake tree because of allergies. We store it in a huge plastic bin. But before it goes up, we assemble it on our deck and then take the leaf blower to it. It really freshens it up and blows off any residual dust. Then it comes inside so we can "work with it" and get the lights on. We also have the tree stand sitting on a piece of wood so we can just push that tree around on the carpet.

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  42. I went with fake after my divorce, just because it was easier for me to handle on my own. And you know what? I love it. It's so much easier, I don't have to worry about watering, and since I got a great price on it, definitely more cost effective. And since my house is much smaller than yours, I got a skinny tree that fits perfectly next to my fireplace. Your trees look great, I seriously love that flocked one!!

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