Thread Number: 73703  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
Real vs Artificial Christmas trees
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Post# 973365   12/13/2017 at 01:34 (310 days old) by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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I'm curious about the views of real vs. artificial Christmas trees. Which do people here prefer? Which do people here use?


I grew up with real trees, and I think there has been a part of me that thinks it's nice having something real, not a man made look alike. There are the arguments about the pleasant scent of a real tree, too.


But as I get older, I'm starting to realized there are drawbacks. Or, more accurately, those drawbacks are starting to carry more weight. Like the pain of vacuuming up needles for 8 months after the tree gets removed. Plus there is the cost on what is, at best, a fleeting investment.


I haven't decorated a tree since 2012 or 2013...but I wonder if I ever do go back to decorating trees if I might not consider an artificial tree.

Post# 973366 , Reply# 1   12/13/2017 at 01:42 (310 days old) by johnrk (BP TX)        
I Have No Choice

but an artificial tree, am too crippled to handle a real tree any more and won't bother friends just for that.

I'd still rather own one of those aluminum ones with the rotating color wheel...

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Post# 973367 , Reply# 2   12/13/2017 at 01:42 (310 days old) by liamy1 (-)        
Grew up

For nearly all of my childhood with real trees, Dad insisted on it and it was a family event to go and get the tee.

Love the smell and that is the true scent of Christmas for me. In later years and as us kids grew up, a switch to artificial an tree was made. I missed the smell, but I sure didnít miss the pine needles :)

Now, we use artificial, we have had current one 10 years this year and still looks new. It is a frosted black one, and with blue and silver decorations and blue and white lights, it looks lovely every year,

Post# 973369 , Reply# 3   12/13/2017 at 01:44 (310 days old) by johnrk (BP TX)        

Of course they sell spray-on stuff now that can give your fake tree that 'authentic' aroma. I don't use it, though.

Post# 973375 , Reply# 4   12/13/2017 at 02:39 (310 days old) by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

I do 3 real trees every year, if I had to a fake tree I doubt I'd bother putting a tree up.

Post# 973384 , Reply# 5   12/13/2017 at 03:08 (310 days old) by johnrk (BP TX)        
After I Converted to RC-

I don't pay that much attention to the Christmas tree. We Catholics often concentrate on the Advent wreath, and it's a very old tradition that I've come to enjoy and look forward to-

Post# 973420 , Reply# 6   12/13/2017 at 08:31 (310 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
cradle Catholic,

and we always had a tree, and a wreath on the front door.
Fontanini nativity set was most important to my mom over the tree.

The Christmas tree has it's origin from Germany in the 15 or 1600's.
Southern Germany remained predominately Catholic, so I think it is as important today.
I have one of those slimline 7 ft. short thick needle tree's. All white lights, not led's. I've added ornamnents to it for the past 4 years. It holds a lot.
I have some of my grandmothers, my moms, old fashioned, new, everything on it.
When my step kids were young, we took them each year to choose one or two new ornaments. They liked the Disney ones, so we have a lot. Winnie the Pooh, and Tigger too! Also some Hallmark cars, hot wheels, star trek, trains, star wars, etc., etc. A friend gave me some very old clear pear shaped Italian glass ones this year.
Not all about Christmas per se', but why can't it also be fun? That's what Tigger's are for!

Post# 973424 , Reply# 7   12/13/2017 at 08:52 (310 days old) by johnrk (BP TX)        
The Important Part of Christmas For Christians

Oops! Had to go back and edit this so that the atheists won't get me removed...

Post# 973426 , Reply# 8   12/13/2017 at 09:03 (310 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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When I was a brat, we always had real trees until my mother got fed up with the 'Charlie Brown' look of the trees my father brought home.  An artifical tree was my first choice for years, because I tended to put up the decorations early to host a holiday party early in December. 


Now, however, thinking about the content of the artifical trees (plastic that no where I know of recycles), the footprint of shipping them from China and then across North America, and just my own personal desire to buy less from China when I can, I'm getting into the habit of a real tree again.   Thinking about the tree I bought this year, it came from a grower in Québec and both municipalities offer a special pick-up of the trees in January where the trees get ground up for compost.  Years ago, folks around here thought it was more environmentally sound to get an artifical tree to save real ones.  And amazingly, there were several Canadian manufacturers of artificial trees.  These days, trees are 'farmed' not harvested from some boreal forest.  Back to the disposal, I can't tell you how many artifical trees I see tossed in spring, usually the pre-lit models that have a section or two that no longer light and which the owners could fix with a new bulb or two but have no idea how to.  Futher to the pre-lit models, when an LED string goes bad, you can't even hope to fix them, hence the tree gets tossed.


I do have to put up the tree later, but that's not such a big deal.  In fact, I'm pretty late this year, but it's making the Christmas season a little less streched out for us.  So we are making the season not as hectic, but our age, we can afford to slow things down a bit and enjoy the season.  It's making Christmas more of anticipation that I felt it used to be.   But that's just me... 

Post# 973431 , Reply# 9   12/13/2017 at 09:27 (310 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
I have one of those

Charlie Brown tree's also.
JohnRK, Have a merry Christmas! I don't think that's the reason, it's just not the place for it.
I'm as biased on some things as anyone else can be. I've been guilty of venting.
We had a funeral last week. Never a good time of year, but this time is worse.
I try not to be anti anyone.
In your defense, is my own analogy. If we can not prove from where we originate, how can we not wonder, and to me, is well, belief. We're not meant to. Not yet.
That word you said, to me, is meaningless. Sound logical?

Post# 973434 , Reply# 10   12/13/2017 at 09:53 (310 days old) by johnrk (BP TX)        

I have spent enough years reading Zen to have long, long ago given up any concern about "from where we originate". I think that can wait until we can control our present tense, first.

I learned last night that a friend passed away from cancer yesterday evening. For me, as a believer, funerals are a time for celebration. All else is selfishness.

I belong to many fora on many subjects, but no other that's as virulently anti-religious, anti-spiritual as this one. It's why I slip from time to time when I visit here. '

And I think that love in whatever form is the most important. Not religion. And it's how that love is expressed that is most important to me also. Far, far easier to just talk about it and screw the rest.

Post# 973436 , Reply# 11   12/13/2017 at 09:59 (310 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
I understand,

John. It was actually more of a celebration of life. It was just a very long tiring day from so many wonderful visitors.
We had been having a living wake for the past month or so, remeniscing, looking at photos, a birthday,etc.

Post# 973496 , Reply# 12   12/13/2017 at 16:38 (309 days old) by Iheartmaytag (Wichita, Kansas)        
Growning up

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We had one of those shinny aluminum trees with the color wheel light. We continued to use that tree for many years because we were poor, by poor there were years that we cut out pictures from the catalog of what we would give as presents if we had the money to buy them.

One year I remember my Mom splurged and bought a small real tree, I remember the smell of that tree. I loved that tree, I tried my best to keep it as long as I could. After we took it down, I tried putting it in the dirt outside to keep it alive. Silly me, it was already cut and dead, but I tried.

After that we got a 4ft tall artificial tree, we used that tree for nearly 20 years. Once, I decided that I would get a real tree, it was about a 6ft blue spruce. I think I gave $14 for it at K-mart. My love for that little tree when I was in second grade disappeared, I hated that tree, it was messy, I was allergic to it, and the cat wouldn't leave it alone.

Then we went a period of not putting up a tree at all. When My daughter was first born, I bought a 4ft fiber optic tree for half off of half off on Christmas eve at K-mart. We have used that tree for the last 13 years.

I like the little fiber optic tree. You put the base on the table, plop the tree into the base, spread out the branches, and plug it in. Done.

Taking it down, I don't mourn the little tree, as I know it will be back next year and shove it back under the basement stairs.

I also have a Charlie Brown tree. I set it up by my nativity set, hang ours stockings and that's about the extent of my decorating.

Post# 973499 , Reply# 13   12/13/2017 at 16:47 (309 days old) by RevvinKevin (So. Cal.)        
Back to the subject of Christmas trees........

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I grew up having real trees in the house most of the time (though I do vaguely remember an aluminum tree when I was very young) I'm guessing there were few to no other artificial options available back then. 


Around 10 years ago my ex and I were shopping after Christmas and came across a high quality artificial tree marked at 70% off.  We bought it and never looked back.   It's 7 feet tall and looks very nice for an artificial tree and unless you're 2 feet away from it, it's hard to tell it's not real. 


True it doesn't have that "real tree smell" and I do miss that.    But when you consider an equivalent size and shape real tree is now $100 - $125.... add to this not having to water it, clean up the needles that fall off, becoming a fire hazard when it dries out, add to all this the "harvest to disposal" environmental impact.... well, I'll keep using my artificial tree thank you very much.



Post# 973502 , Reply# 14   12/13/2017 at 18:07 (309 days old) by fan-of-fans (Florida)        

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Growing up, always had a real tree and put up a tree just about every year except when moving and didn't have time.

Got a fake tree in 2001 or so and had that since, that one started getting rusty so got another new one around 2007 or so. One year even had another smaller fake tree on the back porch. But I haven't put up a big tree since 2011 or so. That tree is up in the loft at work probably never to be used by me again.

I do still put up a small tree I've had since about 1995, which was the year we moved and couldn't put up a big tree. It's boring and doesn't have many ornaments but at least its something.

I do miss having the big tree up, but it really takes so much time and effort that it isn't worth it anymore, and no one comes over here for Christmas to see it anyway. I do miss getting out the old familiar ornaments every year, which too have been packed away for at least 5 years.

Now as to the actual question, I like the smell of the real trees, but again the mess and expense of getting that tree every year and disposing of it certainly make a fake one seem worth it.

Post# 973523 , Reply# 15   12/13/2017 at 19:32 (309 days old) by countryguy (Astorville, ON, Canada)        

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We always had real trees, balsam firs, one inside and one outside, when I was growing up. My dad would take my sister and I out to the woods to cut down the 2 trees for us and 1 tree for my grandparents. Sometimes we travelled miles to find the perfect trees. Since I have been an adult and on my own, I have always used an artificial tree.


Post# 973547 , Reply# 16   12/13/2017 at 21:32 (309 days old) by warmsecondrinse (Fort Lee, NJ)        

Once upon a time I used to cut down my own tree at a tree farm in eastern Conn. ... and I enjoyed it! I was partial to Douglas fir, but wasn't picky. My main concern was having a tree that was tall and thin as we usually had small living rooms with very high ceilings.

I have my grandmothers ancient glass ornaments from Poland. When I get them up from FL I'll think about getting a tree again. If I were to go artificial I'd probably go aluminum to set off the ornaments.


Post# 973553 , Reply# 17   12/13/2017 at 22:20 (309 days old) by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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I loved that tree, I tried my best to keep it as long as I could. After we took it down, I tried putting it in the dirt outside to keep it alive. Silly me, it was already cut and dead, but I tried.


I, too, was saddened by day when the real tree got taken down when I was young. Even as a teenager, it was a sad day coming home and seeing the living room "back to normal." I never went as far as trying to plant it, though, but I argued against one tree location. It was more convenient in terms of less furniture to shift, but it was near a heat register, and I worried that the tree might dry out too fast.


I was also interested in some magic potion that supposedly increased tree life that the tree lot carried each year. It was put into the tree water, and so it would have been probably a bad idea for people (like us) with pets.

Post# 974146 , Reply# 18   12/17/2017 at 00:32 (306 days old) by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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thinking about the content of the artifical trees (plastic that no where I know of recycles), the footprint of shipping them from China and then across North America


Interestingly, I read a piece ("How to Have The Greenest Christmas Tree Ever") that mentioned that real trees might be better environmentally than artificial trees. Quote:


It may seem counterintuitive, but cutting down a living tree is a more eco-friendly option than importing a plastic one. As the New York Times reported in 2010, you’d have to use a plastic tree at least 20 times before it broke even with using a real tree for each of those years. Think of what happens when you throw it away. A real tree will biodegrade, while a plastic one will languish, unrecycled.


Post# 974434 , Reply# 19   12/18/2017 at 10:45 (305 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

This weekend, I went with a friend to Hillwood, the museum/estate of the Heiress Marjorie Post. There were 4 trees in the mansion. They were all artificial, of course, and beautifully decorated, but the height of opulence was the tree in the doorway from the entrance foyer to the grand drawing room. It was decorated with sprays of white Phalaenopsis orchids laid on the top of each branch to best take advantage of their arching form. I pointed out to my friend where the sprays went into the orchid tubes near the "trunk." There were plants in the greenhouse with sprays waiting to be harvested over the next two weeks. 

Post# 974474 , Reply# 20   12/18/2017 at 16:10 (304 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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My folks always had natural Christmas trees until Christmas, 1968 when the first artificial one arrived. That one lasted until 1978 when another artificial tree arrived. An all white one. It was beautiful, but after a few years, those red hot C-7 bulbs were beginning to leave scorch marks. So it was replaced in 1982 with one of those "Scotch Pine" trees. The ones that have those bottle brush bristles. I immediately hated it. It was really hard, if not impossible the hang ornaments right. So in 1985, we went back to natural trees. The look, aroma and the joy of going out to buy one and tying it to the roof of the wagon, well that was Christmas. And I was on a mission to find the right tree. I was the only one at Home Depot with a box cutter and gloves.


But now the downside of a real Christmas tree. Sometimes, no matter what you did, they did not last. I hated I could not put a tree up before say, December 14 and have it last until January 6 (Feast of the Epiphany). And a few times the tree was all put dried up before new years eve. Another annoyance were the branches being too weak to support ornaments and light strings.  Then the horror of taking it down. All the scratches and cuts on my hands and arms from taking down the lights. Then wrapping it in plastic, and hauling it down to the designated disposal site. Not to mention the MESS of needles that it left behind.


Three years ago, I switched back to artificial, yes it can't compare to a real tree in terms of beauty and aroma, but no more messes, no more injuries and no more nervously wondering if the tree will last. 


When they develop a GMO tree that stays fresh for months and has strong branches, then I might be swayed back into a natural Christmas tree. 



Post# 974500 , Reply# 21   12/18/2017 at 18:00 (304 days old) by cuffs054 (MONTICELLO, GA)        

Ultra, I can top that. Dear ole dad always had to have a real Scotch Pine. It would take forever to find one. When it went up there was no place for decorations. I was scared for life.

Post# 974502 , Reply# 22   12/18/2017 at 18:05 (304 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
which ever tree

is preferred, when you decorate with Love, they all look nice.

Post# 974533 , Reply# 23   12/18/2017 at 21:48 (304 days old) by sambootoo (Moody, AL)        

I like 'em both! We use an artificial tree (or 2) here due to wife's allergies.

I agree.They all look nice once decorated!

Johnrk, see your PM.

Now, let's all post some pics of this years trees.

Post# 974579 , Reply# 24   12/19/2017 at 07:08 (304 days old) by Maytagbear (N.E. Ohio)        
Some apartment buildingd

do not allow real trees for fear of fire.


Post# 974661 , Reply# 25   12/19/2017 at 19:45 (303 days old) by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        
do not allow real trees for fear of fire.

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I also seem to recall hearing of places that would allow trees, but required some sort of fire resistance treatment. I think I recall hearing that my old college had such a requirement, at least for trees in public spaces, but also maybe dorm rooms.

Post# 974791 , Reply# 26   12/20/2017 at 18:22 (302 days old) by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

We always had real trees until the Christmas of '74. The earlier ones were Balsam or Fraser Fir, and later we started getting Scotch Pines. For a few years we had 2 trees. One in the living room, and one in the basement playroom.

In the weeks before Christmas of '73, a store called "Shopper's Treetown" was advertising in the paper and on TV. A day or two after Christmas, my mom and I went there, as all trees and decorations were reduced by 50%. We found a beautiful 6' tall tree, full, with soft needles as opposed to the "bottle brush" type. We bought it, and used it from '74 until my mom's last Christmas ('94) I still have it packed up in a large tote bin, and it's at storage. Hope to get it out next year.

The funniest thing I ever experienced concerning a Christmas tree was in the late 60's. Our church group was in charge of decorating the tree in the sanctuary - one that was about 12' tall, and a real tree. It was placed in a corner to the right of the altar, so we only had to decorate 3 sides of it. We put on several strings of lights (NOMA with red beads to attach them), and lots of beautiful glass ornaments (Shiny Brite, and Polish). The tree looked grand when we finished! We went to the kitchen and had cookies and hot chocolate, and then left. I got a call from my friend Patty on Wed. night, asking if I could come up to the church. I walked over, and she and several others were in the sanctuary (they'd just arrived for choir practice). I went in, and saw the tree laying on the floor, the pulpit overturned, and ornaments - many broken but some intact - scattered about the carpet. We removed the remaining ornaments from the tree, replaced a few broken light bulbs, and then swept. The next day the janitor and pastor bought a new, larger stand for it, and also fastened a wire from near the tree top to the wall. Our group returned Sat. with some new ornaments, and decorated the tree again. From that time on, they made sure it was securely attached. Good thing it didn't fall over during church, or it may have knocked the preacher down!

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