Convince Me One Way or The Other

Lately I’ve been doing something I SWORE I’d never do.  Not in a million years.

I’ve been eyeing the artificial Christmas trees at the store.

Horrible huh?

I really, really said I would never, ever turn my back on having a cut tree for the holidays, but here’s my case.

I like to decorate early, either the weekend of Thanksgiving or the following week.  What is the point of putting up the tree late?  However, by Christmas and even way BEFORE, my tree is absolutely dead.  SO DEAD.  It looks horrible.  Pathetic.  And ridiculous.

And forget about leaving it up through New Years, it’s a fire waiting to happen.

I’ve come to hate the needles and the dripping sap.  Every year I lose beautiful glass ornaments that have dropped off the tree because of the dead, droopy branches.

The pictures on Christmas morning are just pathetic with the dead tree in the background.

I always wanted the real tree for the fragrance of the pine but because it dies (and I’ve tried all the methods to keep it alive) it smells like nothing after a few days.

So do I continue my madness with a real tree?  Am I just having a moment of weakness?  Am I selling out by buying a fake tree?

I’m really torn….really torn.

Post a Comment


  1. Betty 1

    Poor Baby, I truly understand your pain, I did the same thing years ago when artificial trees were not so nice looking or expensive. Eventually the artificial tree won out.These days the artificial 1’s look better & if I’m not mistaken you can get them so they even smell good. I refuse to tell which 1 to buy only you can decide that. However you do have to make up your mind as to how early you want to decorate & how long can you stand it.I love Chistmas also, but the hustle & bustle can/tends to wear me down. So O’ Noble 1, Happy Holidays’with many

  2. snowmoonelk 2

    Oh YES, I know what you are going through, Cathy! Why don’t you have 2 trees? You could keep one in a bucket of water and put it up on Christmas Eve. Here in the UK, it used to be traditional to put the tree up on Christmas Eve, and that’s what I adhere to. It’s a real family ritual. Anyway, why have a Thanksgiving tree at all, is that a traditional thing? The point of putting up the tree late is TRADITION! Anyway, I have a lot of greenery in my home before it goes up so the place still looks festive. Try it, its less hassle!

  3. Deeba 3

    Go for it Cathy…get a fake one.I think it looks very pretty too; with your kind of spirit & enthusiasm, anything would !!

  4. Harry 4

    We stick to the 12 days of Christmas! Since the days when our children were tiny, they went to bed on Christmas Eve in a perfectly normal undecorated house and woke up on Christmas Day to a decorated tree, streamers, lights, presents, etc. – after all, Father Christmas had visited overnight. It was (and is) a magical moment. Now, of course, it is our grown-up children who do the decorating. they love the tradition and still awaken on Christmas Day with huge smiles.

    Doing this mens the tree remained fresh throughout the Christmas period and was (is) always taken down before the end of 12th Night on 6th January.

    But here’s the rub: when our youngest son was three he contracted leukæmia and was in hospital until 5.00pm on Christmas Eve when they let him home for a few days. We had nothing – no presents and no tree so a frantic trawl through the local supermarket (before it closed at 6) found us with some silly ‘token’ presents and a rather grand artificial tree.

    It was one of the best Christmases we have ever had and ever since that day 13 years ago, the artificial tree has come down from the loft on Christmas Eve.

    We still forget every year how to put it together and we still squabble a bit about how it should be decorated but it reminds us to be so thankful that our son recovered from an illness he nearly died from and brings that memories of such a happy day – making each successive Christmas Day as joyful.

    Also – no mess, no needles, no broken baubles and, if you must, you can get the smell of pine in a spray!

  5. Harry 5

    YAY! It must be a UK thing – we do it too.

  6. We said the same thing, gotta be a real tree ! We live in the Pacific Northwest where Christmas trees are reasonably priced, but every year the price has crept up and our time is even more limited. Plus, we too need to decorate right after Thanksgiving and festivities and family gatherings (not necessarily exclusive) require the tree be up until the first week of January. Now how many trees last that long ! So, we caved and got a real looking fake and we love it ! We cut fir boughs and pine branches to decorate the mantle and table center….but the artificial tree stays.

    They make amazingly realistic trees now, PRE-LIT!!!! In fact, the trees seem more realistic than real trees. So go ahead, get one!If you decide you have to have a real one next year then the new artificial tree can decorate some part of your new winery….hey, a business expense !

  7. Sarah 7

    Go with an artificial tree, that’s my advice. They are well-made nowadays and will not drop pine needles all over the place. Plus, you’ll feel like an environmental champ :)

  8. Harmony 8

    Fake trees do not have the fire danger of a natural tree. Next real tree take it to the back yard and carefully light a match to it. It most likely will explode.

  9. Philly 9

    I feel your pain girl. I just haven’t gotten to the point in buying an artificial tree. I did buy a flocked tree last few years. If you don’t know what that is, they spray a synthetic snow all over the real tree. You can do heavy, medium, or light. I usually go for the medium. Your tree still smells good and the flocking tends to hold the needles on the tree.
    Not sure if we are doing it this year, it is a bit pricey and trying to watch what I spend.


  10. I say buy an artificial tree and light a pine scented candle. But I just don’t have the attachment to real trees that alot of other people do. We switched to artificial when I was pretty young… I always thought the tree looked great, no needles embedded in the carpet required. Now I have a small apartment, 2 cats, and a tiny Christmas tree to put up on top of the computer desk where they can’t reach it.

  11. Leslie 11

    Nooooooo..dont do it!!
    How about you get a small fake one for say , your front porch. But noooooo..not for the inside. My Dad always had a fake tree and I thought it was sooooo cheesy..and after a few years it started smelling like dust! Now I dont know about you but I dont want to have a “Dusty Christmas”!!

  12. I have been leaning towards a fake tree for the very reasons you mentioned. When my daughter was young there was a whole tradition centered around the tree..heading to the tree farm and cutting it down, rediscovering treasured ornaments from the recesses of the basement…you know. You can add the fragrance of Christmas with fresh boughs on the table or on the mantlepiece that could easily be replaced if need be before the big day. My wreath on the door always welcomes me throughout the season with its wonderful fragrance. I don’t know if I can convince either of us to have a fake tree but lets just say I am still on the fence.

  13. Laura 13

    we loved out real trees but when we finally broke down and bought the “fake” tree we realised we LOVE it… not the fire hazard and no needles and sap and it just looks better… a few years ago it was looking pretty old and ragged so after christmas I hit the store and got a 100 dollar tree for 45 bucks… and we love it even more as it is fuller and pretty my next after christmas tree will be one with lights built in. they are wonderful!

  14. Shirley 14

    I just can’t do an artificial tree. I start decorating early as far as everything else, but the tree has to go up later because of the death and dryness factor. An artificial tree could work for YOU though. Perhaps some friends have ones that you think are very attractive? And, you can find out where to get the same kind.

    We go and cut ours in a field. One year we went away for the weekend north and it started snowing on the way home. We passed a Christmas tree lot and we went in and got a gorgeous one (gorgeous, but very different from what we usually get) and strapped it to the roof of the car. We were pretty pleased with ourselves, but our son was not a happy camper at all. He still talks about that time when we got that other Christmas tree. LOL

    I like Leslie’s idea of still getting a small real one if you do go artificial for your main one.

  15. We went to the dark side the second year we were married. My husband’s tradition is to put up the tree on December 1st and to take it down after New Year’s – and I would be finding pine needles working their way out from under the baseboards until June.

    I HATE the sound of the dead needles falling down over the gifts when someone reaches for a present!

    We bought a fake one. The kids, though, get potted real ones for their bedrooms (which we sneak in after dark every year) and then after Christmas we plant them. And my kids love the fake tree! They both want to set it up and arrange the branches.

  16. Kate 16

    Go for the artificial. You’re not selling out, believe me. You’re actually SAVING a tree!!
    Every year at school, we use a huge artificial tree. It’s decorated simply, with tiny white lights and silver balls. That’s it. And it’s beautiful. And every year, we have people coming in and sniffing it because it looks so real.
    Go for it. And get some candles that smell like Balsam. And all will be well in the world.

  17. iPost 17

    We also get a live tree every year and put it up the first weekend in December. I’ve never had issues with it dying. We use that tree preservative that you mix in with the water. I grew up with an artificial tree and liked that too. I think as long as the spirit of Christmas is there, it doesn’t matter!

  18. Linda 18

    I know exactly what you mean! My compromise is to put out all the decorations, EXCEPT the tree, the weekend after Thanksgiving. We get a tree a week or so before Christmas and leave it up until the New Year.

  19. blair 19

    I swore the same thing. once.
    I now love my fake tree and the fact I can pull it out when I want and while I do love the real tree smell, I have found a good candle I light near it and found that the cooking smells are more important anyway!

  20. Becky 20

    Growing up,I always had a fake tree.
    My husband always had a real tree.
    Every year we buy a real tree from the Mason Lodge. They donate the proceeds to the needy.
    Personally, I love having a real tree because of the scent. Going to the lodge as a family and picking out the perfect tree has become tradition. My son is in charge of keeping the pan of water full. It’s just part of Christmas.

  21. Katrina 21

    While I remember ever so fondly us going to pick out a real tree and my dad swearing and cursing the night away trying to get it up in the stand straight and stringing up the lights, I use artificial. It’s just easier. And you’re right–no more dead needles and broken baubles. It’s worth it to me, and the fake ones are pretty nice looking. Isn’t it better on the environment to NOT contribute to cutting down more trees, just to have them die in your living room. Just sayin’….

  22. Teri 22

    In many traditions Christmas starts Christmas Eve and goes right through to mid-January (or at least the first week). When I get a tree, I put it up the right before Christmas Eve then take it down sometime after the first week of January (depending on when tree collection time is here in the City).


  23. I know many people who were purists and would NEVER buy an artificial tree.

    It seems like it so much easier, and they are the same people who said they would NEVER have a gas fireplace! Only real wood for me!
    Until they find they have to chop the wood and cure it.
    The turn on switch is quite easy.
    PS I am married to a real wood fireplace man and a REAL Christmas tree guy!
    Thank goodness I just make the latkes!

  24. We haven’t had a real tree for at least 5 years. About that long ago I bought a set of three of those skinny “alpine” trees on sale after Christmas. I wanted them to put in our family room in our old house. They now sit in the living room of our new house year round and kind of go with the lodgey look we want. We put our ornaments on them at Christmas time.

    I do miss the real tree, but dh is not big into Christmas. He has a December birthday and also doesn’t like the origins of some of the Christmas traditions like the tree.

    I’d love to have a huge fake tree to put in our living room. I think it would look lovely up against our wall of windows and looking up at the house from the road below. Not that we’re down on that road a lot at night, but I might start going for winter evening walks just to see it. Maybe some day. For now I think it would be pushing the issue too much for dh. Those big trees are expensive anyway! If I do get one some year, it will be in January when they go on sale for up to 75% off.

    For the Christmas tree smell, I’ve bought Christmas tree candles. Yankee Candle has some that smell good and so does one of those other companies. Sometimes I can find the cheaper candles that smell like a real tree and not one of those pine tree car fresheners. Dh and at least 2 out of 4 of the kids think they all stink though, so I don’t burn them constantly. It’s all about compromise here:o)

  25. Melissa 25

    When we had kids we decided to go with an artificial tree, we felt it would be safer. Now our tradition is to set up the tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving, complete with hot chocolate and A Muppet Christmas Carol. My kids love having the tree up the entire month of December. If you really want the smell of a real tree, get one of the mini trees (LL Bean has them) and put it on the piano, table, etc.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  26. Kyddryn 26

    May I suggest a few things? Hmm…I don’t know why I ask – we all know I’m going to whether you will or no!

    At the beginning of the season, you could put up a table-top tree with your most precious ornaments on it, perhaps on a coffee or side table. Then, later, put up the regular live tree, with the rest of your ornaments.


    Put up a full-sized false tree, but go by your local tree farm and score some cut branches to insert here and there to give the scent of a live tree. Place the branches where you can remove or replace them when they get brown and sad.


    Purchase a live tree, the sort with a root-ball, and plant it afterwards – you get your real tree for the holidays and the satisfaction of planting a tree every year.

    When I lived alone, I had a little, fake, three-foot tree I placed on the dining room table, but since I now have a houseful of people, I go with live – there’s nothing quite like a real tree, is there?

    Shade and Sweetwater,

  27. Cynthia 27

    I say do more than one tree!! Put up a fakeroo right after Thanksgiving and then sometime later like the week before Christmas go get another one that’s real and put it in an entry hall or formal room or family room or whatever.
    I LOVE the idea of a living tree with rootball attached also. Very green, in more ways than one.

    Out of curiosity, though, I wonder why your tree is so dead by the time Christmas comes? When I was growing up we always put up our tree early and it made it through the season with no problem. We usually used either Douglas Firs or Blue Spruces.
    Now my household is Jewish, so no trees for us, which is a mixed blessing. I do miss the smell of the tree!

  28. Well, I am on the fence, too..
    We always get a real tree.. The kids and I are the ones who go get the tree. And let me tell you, being the one who has to go get the tree and set it up and take it down sometimes ‘gets to me’!
    Hence my longing for a box tree… it would be the easy way out. And i also love real trees!!
    We usually get the tree the first weekend of Dec. but I also hate having a dead tree later in the month. And we heat with wood, so it really dries out!

    I have bought our tree at various locations, and usually the trees at nurseries and lots were cut weeks prior, or shipped in, and they are drying out daily waiting for a new home… and getting really beat from the weather here! Right now it is 16 degrees, and with wind, a tree is going to get beat!
    The best tree we have had is one we cut ourselves.. it is truly as fresh as possible, smells great and lasts long! I just need to put my big girl panties on and go up and cut one!!!

    Just gotta look for nests and critters!

  29. I grew up with real trees. I love the smell! Ive heard that in Germany, the tradition is to get a tree the day before Christmas. Since im Catholic (Polish/German) celebrating Christmas on the 25th and my wife is Russian Orthodox (Ukrainian) celebrating Christmas the week after New Years, we usually get our tree sometime the week before Christmas day. There are still plenty of Christmas trees available and I dont have to fight people for a good tree. Its very relaxing to pick what I want without a rush or a line or a bunch of grumpy & angry so called “Christians” around me. I admit, I dont get the best of the best 9 ft tall tree, but I get one that its homeless. It might have a broken branch on one side or it may need some fluffing up from laying on its side.

  30. I used to wait until after my birthday to put up the tree, but the kids wanted it toward the beginning of December, so now I don’t worry about it. We’ve always had a real tree, but I think in a few years we won’t be able to. I’ve had reactions to a few of the trees, and we’ve had to do sniff tests before buying a tree to make sure I could tolerate it.
    While I haven’t had a tree die on me to the point it turned brown, I haven’t lost an ornament or had sap dripping either. I did have one tree break out in caterpillars, but it waited until the day after Christmas!
    I’ve seen the good looking artificial and they’re really nice! I’ll miss the real trees when my lungs can no longer take it, and I’ll probably go to the dark side in a few years myself.
    I think you should go with what works for you!

  31. Alisa 31

    We had this issue arise early in our marriage. I came from a real tree family and he came from a fake tree family. We were forced to travel almost every single Christmas, so a fake tree was really our best and safest option. We compromised that the few years we did stay home, I could have my real tree. Except, my parents started travelling down to our house and my mom suffers from severe asthma, so we’d put up the fake tree. The next year, we went out to purchase my real tree and I was absolutely shocked by the prices. Now, I just adore my tree in a box, it lets me put more $$ where I really want it to be, on The Kids. As for the smell, I indulge every year in two of the Yankee Candle company candles, Pumpkin Pie and Balsam Fir. I am much happier lighting my candle every morning and not picking up dead needles. I swore I would never be a tree in a box person, but now I am. The Boy is starting to have serious allergy issues as well, so for us, it works.
    We waited one year until the trees were on clearance, and purchased a beautiful tree that looks very real. People don’t believe us that its fake until they actually touch it. Good luck with the decision. For me, the lack of watering and vacuuming dead needles makes my season bright.

  32. Amber 32

    I have a fake tree because I hate to have a tree cut down for my joy. There is just something so sick and selfish about that. Yes, I am a bit of a tree hugger. Now I have to deal with the issue of fake and what that does to the environment.
    These are also less messy and far less of a fire hazard.
    The option that is truly best is to purchase a live tree in soil and use it for a year or two and then plant it. You remember that little hill in Oregon and the icky neighbor? Block him out of sight.

  33. We are firmly in the “real tree” voting block in my house. At my parent’s, we have always put the tree up on Christmas eve and it stays up through January. At our house, we usually put it up during the first week or 2 of December and take it down at the beginning of January. I love the smell and it smells so good when we vaccuum for the next few weeks.

  34. I compromised my principles last year. Bought a fakey.

    It is a BEAUTIFUL fakey. No. One. Knew. Until I told them, and then we started feelin’ up the not-fake-lookin-fake-tree.

    I did it for all the reasons you listed. Then I bought fresh cedar garland (Costco) and hung it on my banister… gave me the smell I needed and it lasted nalry 3 weeks, but the tree… no watering, sap, needles… divine.

  35. Sarah 35

    My parents bought our artificial tree when I was 6 (16 years ago), and every year it looks amazing! It’s so easy to set up, the dog won’t eat it, my mom isn’t allergic, and people always ask us where we found such a perfect tree! There are plenty of other ways to get pine scent that don’t die and look awful in you pictures :)

  36. ELRA 36

    Kathy dear, I can’t believe what I’ve just read. What is your hooligans think about this? Do they mind?

    Personally, I will always going to choose the real tree. I don’t like fake tree, because they look fake and they smell fake. But, if real tree will make you insane, then choose the one the one that will give you happiness.

    Me? I will never be happy with fake tree, I know that for sure. And my family? they’ll hate it, and they will for sure hate me for that. My son? he just always looking forward to go to farm or nursery or christmas trees stands to choose (what he call) his tree. We still do this tradition all of this years. How about the hooligans? Don’t you think they going to miss it? Or they don’t really care?

    Oh btw, I never really faced those kind of problem that you’ve describe. Our tree still smell great after christmas, drop the needles a bit, but that’s normal! even the tree outside drop their leaves, right? and No, my tree never look dead! I always check the water everyday, and make sure the tree has enough water, maybe that’s why!
    Anyway, I wish I can persuade you not to choose the fake one.

  37. I’m at this same crossroads.

  38. Tracy 38

    You are kidding about the “environmental champ” right? They are made from plastics, often PVC which is not good for the environment. There is also the issue of lead.

  39. Tracy 39

    Christmas trees are grown specifically for the purpose of being cut and then the land is replanted. Artificial trees are produced in factories that create all kind of pollution, especially since they are made of plastics.

    No, I do not own a Christmas tree farm.

  40. Alan in CA 40

    Go artificial. There are many other benefits to consider. It will be a one-time cost that will last you for years. This will free up some extra present/food money. Consider a special gift that the whole family can enjoy using the money saved.

    If you go artificial, I would suggest planting a new tree every year. It is a great tradition and instead of chopping down one tree, you start a new one every year. You could find your own special spot and create a little grove of your own. Your one artificial tree, and they are looking even better and more real every year, will last you for years.

    When putting up the artificial tree, always make sure that the branches are clearly marked and that you keep the directions (or remake your own) and include them in the box. If the branches have a little bit of paint to notate where they go, it will fade colors will start to look similar, guaranteed. Plus, no shedding, and your tree will not look like a Charlie Brown tree on Christmas morning.

  41. sixofnine 41

    Real tree! Living in northern California we started our own family tradition of going to a tree farm to cut our own Christmas tree. Now we’re living in the Midwest and have continued that tradition.

    As long as we keep a good supply of water in the tree stand there is absolutely no problem with the tree drying out. The pine smell is unbeatable and lasts for weeks.

    When we lived in California I remember seeing truckloads of cut trees on their way to tree lots in early November so it’s no wonder the pre-cut trees don’t last long.

    Our community has curbside tree pickup after the holidays; the trees are put through a chipper and used for mulch so there is no waste at all.

    Part of the charm of having a real tree is that it’s NOT perfect. Stick with a real tree.

  42. CJ 42

    I can’t justify cutting down a tree that will do far more for the atmosphere in the ground than in my house loaded down with lights and ornaments. I know the trees are farmed, but why encourage this insanity?

    I spent about $400 on an artificial tree, which would buy me three trees. The tree lasted 18 years. I came out way ahead.

    Want you house to smell like tree? Go to Yankee Candle. The sparkling pine candle is terrific. If you just have to have some of the real thing try intelligently harvested tree boughs for wreaths and swags – at least it leaves the tree in the ground.

  43. CJ 43

    It’s a trade off. My artificial tree lasted almost 20 years, though. It would be interesting to factor the pollution created by making one artificial tree over 20 years against cutting down 20 trees and the impact of the chemicals used in tree farms to make sure those 20 trees grow “properly.” Unfortunately I’m not qualified to do that. :)

  44. We gave in a couple of years ago and bought an artificial tree, mainly because we have 11′ ceilings, and buying a real tree that tall will kill your budget. We found a tall, skinny one that came pre-lit, which made my husband cry tears of joy. We both love real trees, but I agree with you — the smell doesn’t last, and a dead tree by the 15th of December is kind of a mood killer.

    When our cousins made the switch to an artificial tree several years ago, it did not sit well with their teenage son, who is very much of an outdoorsman. He just stood there, looking at it and said, “Well I guess it’s only a matter of time until we get gas logs.” :) So far, no gas logs, but he still hates their artificial tree.

    We have some friends, though, who do all of their decorating early except for the tree. They actually wait until one week before Christmas and then go out and cut the tree. That’s when they have a big family party and trim the tree together. I have to admit that I like their idea.

    Good luck in your decision-making!

  45. cassie 45

    I grew up in LA and was a die hard real Christmas tree fan UNTIL I moved to Las Vegas where Christmas trees dried out in about 3 seconds. Now I live in Montana and it’s even drier up here than in Las Vegas.. we still have a fake tree. Every few years I get a wild hair and decide I must have a real tree. It’s dead and dried out a few days later even if we cut it ourselves.

    GET the fake tree. Come to the dark side! LOL!

  46. For many years, my better half lobbied for an artificial tree, and I fought it tooth and nail. Finally then, about 3-4 years ago, I gave up and got her a beautiful artificial tree. Once it was up and decorated, surprisingly to me, it looked pretty nice. So, I gave in and complimented my wife on what a great idea of her’s this was. And, no needles to vacuum up, either.

  47. sharon 47

    Growing up I HATED our fake Christmas tree. My mom refused to get a real one b/c of the mess. Once I was old enough to live on my own, I immediately purchased a real tree and it was dead on arrival. :) Oops.

    I think there have been some great advances in fake tree technology. They look just as pretty these days!

  48. Liz C. 48

    I see that there are many diverse feelings on this subject. However, it didn’t take me long to get sick of the pine needles & sap & refilling the water bowl. We bought a new, pre-lit tree, to which I added another couple of hundred lights. I swear you cannot tell it’s not real. When it’s all over, you can take it apart & put back into the heavy duty box it came in. Voila! It truly allows me to spend much more time on other things like decorating & I love it…

  49. Tracy 49

    I grew up in a real tree family. Every year we went out to a Christmas tree farm and cut our own. It was one of the traditions I loved growing up. This was done by mid-December and the tree stayed up through New Years. By keeping it watered we did not have a problem with it drying out.

    When I got married, my husband and I initially did the same thing. But after a couple of years, we succumbed and bought an artificial tree. For the same reasons so many have stated here. It is convenient, the heavy ornaments won’t fall off and the price of real ones can be high.

    When we had our child, we started rethinking this issue. We went back to the tradition of going to a Christmas tree farm, which is a great family outing. We always go the weekend after Thanksgiving. We go to the same place every year, sometimes with other family members. When we get it home, before we put it in the house, my husband cuts the trunk to help it stay fresher longer. Of course we water it regularly. They don’t start getting dry until around January 1st.

    After reading this post and the comments people made, I had to google information on the artificial trees. Maybe that would help you decide what to do. One site I looked at is link to which compares real trees to artificial one. Another one link to gives detailed description of how they are made and what to look for.

  50. Anita 50

    I have to tell ya, I totally recommend the artificial tree. And get one that it already pre-lit! I switched from real to artificial last year and got it pre-lit as well and I have to tell you, it looked absolutely MARVELOUS! It was also a heck of alot easier. Artificial trees look so “real” now day too. Not like the ones of yesteryear. Good luck with your decision!

  51. For years my family went to the Christmas tree farm to chop the tree – tradition! cold! enormous tree!

    But my dad is now in my 50s and we’ve all become less excited about going out and getting a live one. Finally we all relented and got an artificial You know what? It’s great. Easier to decorate, easier to take down, no fear of fire – we love it.

    If you want the smell of real pine, get some garland and string it up in the room with your fake tree. And use the money that you’re saving by investing in an artificial tree to make a fantastic Christmas dinner or do something fabulous.

    You won’t regret it.

  52. Wow…you got a lot of posts on this one, huh?

    We have an artificial, pre-lit tree that looks so real we’ve had people walk up to it and grab the branches to see if it was real or not. We got it at They are a really great company with great prices. So if you’re thinking of going the artificial route, check them out.

    We have the artificial tree because I cannot stand pine needles on the floor. I would have the vacuum cleaner out 24-7 getting them all up. I also don’t have to worry about watering it or it being a fire hazard. And, with a pre-lit tree, the most obnoxious chore is already done! You put it together, fluff it out and voila! It’s ready to decorate! You can’t get anything better than that.

  53. So funny you should write about this! My hubby and I were in Costco when I saw him eyeing the artificial trees. “Maybe it’s time to go to this.” he said. I nearly fainted – live trees have always been a requirement for Xmas for him. His reasoning is the same as yours, and with a decent size tree over $100, the thing would pay for itself in just a few years. And I’d never have to clean up a forest of needles ever again!
    I say, go for it! There are some that look so real looking out there!

  54. Pretty simple decision for us once the doctor diagnosed an allergy to pine on my part. (Oh, so that nasty headache all season long has nothing to do with any pressures of the season? GREAT! BRING ON THE FAUX TREE!) I ordered a beauty from Petals in 1992 and it still serves us well with beauty (and I have no headache). You can hang a “ball” filled with pine oil for fragrance if you desire — naturally I don’t.

    Above all else ENJOY the season and don’t get sucked into a politically-correct or traditionally-correct attitude. After all, Joseph and Mary adapted to their new circumsances and birthed Christmas — flexibility is PART of the Christmas tradition. EnJOY!

  55. Rayrena 55

    Get the fake tree. You’ll love that it goes up in 5 minutes without having to go to the xmas tree lot, scrape up your car, haul it in the house, cleanup afterwards. It gives you more time to enjoy the holidays. Plus, they look really great nowadays.

    And get a prelit one. Soooo much less work! Just try to get one that isn’t super bright. Ours is too bright and like to leave only the xmas lights on (the trees, garlands, etc) at night to enjoy the glow but mine is like the older woman who wears a bit too much makeup and is a little heavy handed with the perfume; she’s too brght.

    But the pine smell, go to the xmas tree lot and buy a couple garlands, a fresh wreath and/or fresh boughs to hang around the house. You’ll forget that your tree is fake. Until it comes time to take it down and it only takes 5 minutes :)

  56. Ruth 56

    We’ve always had a fake tree… we had a real tree once and got loads of tiny black beetles in the house which took weeks to get rid of… sort of put us off!

  57. Teri 57

    I’d always insisted on real trees until one Christmas a Spider decided to recreated the Christmas Story and give birth to a bunch of baby spiders in the tree… There were a million (okay maybe that’s an exaggeration) baby spiders all over the walls Christmas morning and there was the kids and I screaming…. needless to say the tree went flying out the door… ornaments, angel and all!

    Fake tree from now on! They look pretty good!

  58. Kiki 58

    These little elves have developed a game to help you decide


  59. Kristy 59

    Don’t do it friend!!! A few years ago I was so tired of vacuuming up pine needles from our Douglas Fir tree. I bucked up and paid the higher price for a Noble Fir tree. It smells wonderful and lasts all season. You know me, I have the lights on ALL the time and it doesn’t dry out! Don’t do the fake one…think of the hooligans! See you soon!

  60. MsMVNJ 60

    I was a purist for years – no artifical trees, no artificial anything…and so many years of trying to saw through a knot to fit the damn thing in the stand….vacuuming needles till March. When I got a job that normally had a lot of travel in December, I wound up having run around to find a tree last minute. Then, I instituted a no Black Friday rule in my house…well, what were we going to do all day?? I broke down and bought a pre-lit tree. We LOVE it. Now we have made Black Friday the decorating day and everyone helps. Christmas used to be a really tough time in my house (long story), but this has helped so much… Go for it Cathy, Christmas is a time to enjoy the family, the sites and sounds…will anyone really care if the tree isn’t real? Burn a pine candle, save yourself the hassle and be with your loved ones.

  61. Go with the artificial and find a good smelling christmas tree candle. You won’t regret it.

  62. Biz 62

    Get the artificial tree, you will love it! We got one about 5 years ago, with the lights already in it, and within 10 minutes, tada! And you’ll thank yourself when its time to take the tree down too!

  63. I say your tree is as real or fake as you think it is. ;) To me, if you can touch it, decorate it, and enjoy it, it’s “real.”

    Just my opinion… :)

  64. Erin 64

    We’ve had an artificial tree since we got married, at first because it was part of our lease agreement, but now because we just enjoy it more. We have a prelit tree, which is awesome.

    We always had a real tree when I was a kid, but now honestly all I can remember is the horribly poky needles and having to climb under there and water the darn thing– not to mention the mess when we would clean it up.

    Love my fake tree!

  65. Grace 65

    HA HA …. not only do I have a little fake Christmas tree … I leave it decorated year round! I cover it up and put it in a closet in the basement when we are done with it. I first bought it because my husband was in the hospital just before Christmas about 5 years ago and I had no way to get a real tree. Once my husband got over the shock of a fake tree, we both decided we love it. My kids are disgusted, though. Especially about the “pull it out of the closet fully decorated bit”. However, they all have fake trees now too!

  66. Harry 66

    Let me add something…..

    Fake trees are awful, artificial trees can be wonderful. There’s a big difference!

  67. Beth 67

    I went from real to fake and have never looked back!

  68. We got one last year. I am never going back to real.

  69. We got an artificial tree the year I was pregnant with #1 in 2003. It was just easier and we have kept it thinking it was easier because of the kids… Bii asked yesterday if we could get a real tree this year. I’m torn too. I love the convenience of the fake tree, but there’s just nothing like the real thing. I’m tempted to do like the Brits mentioned and put up a real one on Christmas Eve while enjoying the fake one for a few weeks longer…

  70. Tammy W 70

    We go with an artificial tree! BUT…buy a real wreath so you get that Christmasy aroma! It really works on the senses.

  71. I’m with yah. I mentioned it last year, too and was vetoed. There are some amazingly beautiful ones if you want to have a second mortgage on your house. heh. We put ours up on my hunkster’s Bday a couple of weeks before Christmas, so it never dries out. Then it’s off to the recycling co…it always makes me sad even tho it’s headed for compost. They take a while to grow…So I vote for the artificial tree.

  72. Vicki 72

    Hubby wants fake, I want real, so we compromised – fake one year, real the next.

  73. Which is exactly why I bought a prelit fake tree and then buy fresh wreaths and garlands. If my garlans get dry I throw them out. The wreaths from cost co are fragrant enought to fill the house and not to mention all the yummy smellin holiday candles and oils. And COOKING!
    The dead tree does not the holiday make. You are so ready and honesly you’ll love it. Some of the trees available are really lovely pick one that you think is beautiful. Home Depot had a natural lloking one last year with fuzzy tips and pine cones really pretty. Another thing about the fire issue and dead tree thing is allergies. Those dusty dry trees really get peoples noses going. The other thing I do with my wreaths from Cost co is take them outside when it’s raining for a spruce up. I leave them totally natural. Go for it. You’ll be so happy you did. you can always get a live tree next year if you don’t like it, but you will.

  74. Cheryl 74

    Here comes the ultimate cop-out advice: You need to do what is going to ensure your holiday happiness. To consider: If you are going to feel guilty or cheesey for acquiring a faux fir, DO NOT DO IT.
    If the dead droopy branches and unintentional sepia background photos are going to dis-spirit you, go faux.
    Determine which “disappointment” is the possible worst, and pick the other. :)

    As others have said, with your sense of celebration and festivity, whatever you selectwill undoubtedly be stunning!

  75. Growing up, and to this day, my parents always bought a live tree. I mean, a real live tree with a ball that was later planted in the yard. We could only ever keep it in the house for 7 days or it would think it was spring and begin to grow. The tree always went up on Christmas Eve and got taken down on New Year’s Day. I used to lament for a tree we could keep up longer, but whenever I visit my parents, I see my very first Christmas tree, which is now much taller than the house, and all the trees for each of my 29 Christmases. I think my biggest fear for when my parents sell their house finally is that someone will come in and cut down my Christmas trees.

    I wish we could do the same, but sadly, while my parents have 2 acres, we live on much much less, with no room for a forest. And because we have no children, we are still expected to travel for Christmas to visit our respective parents. 9 days out of the house makes a real tree impossible, the fire hazard alone is tremendous. So we bit the bullet and bought a fake tree. Now, I can enjoy it for the whole season, and I still get the joy of putting up the live tree at my parents’ house when it’s our turn to go there. 30th Christmas tree, here I come!

  76. Bob 76

    Damn! The secret is out! It was our secret military weapon until you ruined it.

    Because of you, we won’t be able to plant used Christmas trees in the battlefield and lull unsuspecting baddies into lighting a cigarette nearby and BOOM!

    Now that the cat is out of the bag, I guess I’m free to start doing my reloads with pine needles.

  77. If it’s selling out by going fake, then I sold out two years ago… after our real tree with the crooked trunk toppled over every day of December and broke all of my great ornaments.

    I wanted pretty. I still do. And fake trees these days look AMAZING. ALL OF DECEMBER.

    I even went a step further by getting the pre-lit kind. If I’m going to pop it open like an umbrella, I may as well do it right.

    I compensate by getting fresh wreaths for the smell.

    Frontgate has wonderful prelit trees that hold up nicely.

    I say- go for it. Buy a pre-lit tree, some fresh wreaths, and a yankee candle and call it a season!

  78. Susan Updike 78

    Every year my husband and I go back and forth about the same thing (been married 32 years). We always end up buying the real thing. We buy a white pine — they don’t shed and look beautiful (if watered everyday). The downside to them is that you cannot hang really heavy ornaments…but they do last longer than spruce or firs.
    Enjoy your website!

  79. Sarah 79

    I wasn’t kidding (so you understand where I’m coming from, I live in Florida, about 800 miles from the point of origin for most Christmas trees), but you have a point about the hazards of artificial trees. Maybe the only way to win is to decorate one of the palms growing in my front yard. Cathy, how about you just plant a new tree and decorate that? :)

  80. Louise 80

    You sure started a firestorm here Ms. Noble Pig! I grew up in a family that cut our own tree from a local farm, carted it home is minimal swearing, set it in water, put it up in the house with a bit more swearing, and watched the needles drop with a bit of sadness. At this point in my life, my husband and I have had our marriage survive the crash of a perfectly cared for fresh tree in our own home. My husband puts up the tree, I decorate. This is the kind of thing that keeps marriages intact. What ever he wants in the tree department, he gets! So, we now have 2 beautiful, pre-lit trees that he puts up, takes down, and the family decorates with glee. With a fresh wreath on the front door, we are all happy.

    btw, this is written in mid-cleaning for the tree set up on Thanksgiving day.

  81. wkf 81

    I went over to the darkside 2 years ago. I went kicking and screaming. But my husband had had it with the live trees. As he said it wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t put so many lights on it that turning on was a fire hazard. Or if I didn’t put so many ornaments on it that it weighed 3000lbs to pick it up when it would invariably fall over. I tried to explain that we hadn’t tried nailing to the floor yet! He would have none of it. I don’t know how much money I have spent on ornaments. Oh if he only knew!! So I went to get the DAMN FAKE TREE!!!!! Next year will be the 1st year that the tree won’t cost me anything.(I used to spend about 100.00 a year on the tree.)
    Anyway- if I had to go over my tree was going to be different. I would only have a D FAKE if it did something …..something like… SPIN AROUND….oooohhhh, aaahhhhh!!
    So I went all over our town until I found a base that would spin. Then I got a tree that fit the base. (very important- not all fakes are the same. Go figure!) Anyhoo, I am finally tolerant of my fake. It is nice to not worry about watering the tree, or burning down the house. My husband has figured out how to get more lights on the tree with out them tangling. The tree hasn’t fallen over the last two years. The ornaments are spaced out better. (ie. there is room for more.)

    And after 2 years of searching for a christmas tree smell, that doesn’t smell like public restroom, I have found one. It is “evergreen” from beanpod buy the the soy beads and use an electric melter.(jaime claire, I think). This is how I survive living with my fake. I still drive buy the Christmas tree places and look for the “Perfect” tree. Now I wonder if I can ever go back.

  82. steff 82

    Fake tree! Did you know they have the lights all ready threaded thru the tree now?? Oh my..makes the decorating part so much less of a chore.

  83. I always swore I would never get an artificial tree but we did. I am happy.
    1. No dropping needles
    2. I know it will fit right where we want it
    3. I bought some spray to give that new tree smell.
    4. It is safer , fire wise.
    5. It doesn’t have to be thrown out.
    6. we put it up when we want and take it down when we want.

  84. Ruthanne (in Seattle) 84

    I’m with Dr. John for all of those exact reasons. I will also offer that after about ten years of using our artificial (but quite nice looking/people always remarked about it) tree we got a “real” tree last year to appease a 16 year old (with a December birthday!) Just because you get one doesn’t mean you have to use it forever. . . I have grown up in the pacific northwest and the thought of an artificial tree was wrong. However I haven’t missed the needles, mess, etc to get it in and out of the house/clean up etc. My dear friend brings in an evergreen in a planter from her patio to be the Christmas tree every year. No needles no problems but it has gotten heavy! Good Luck. . .

  85. Marjie 85

    Get a fir tree, preferrably concolor fir. I promise, they last 8 weeks. I’m not even kidding, 8 weeks. Even when they dry up, they still look alive. That’s what we do. We’re likely getting our tree next weekend, also.

  86. Jules 86

    I bought an artificial tree a few years ago. I love it. I always know what my tree will look like and I don’t have to worry about the needles and the mess!

  87. Renae 87

    I come from a family where we always had a real tree, my parents still do, however since moving out of home and into my own home I want to decorate on the 1st December which is something you can’t do with a real tree. My parents put there’s up the week before Christmas and even then it’s crunchy by Christmas day (doesn’t help that we live in Australia!)Last year I invested in a big 7 ft tree and I love it to bits. It looks so perfect compared to a real one.. I say get the fake!!

  88. Either way, it’s pretty to have a decorated tree. There are pros and cons to both. I like the fake ones better because they don’t drop pine needles and I like the real ones better because they smell so good IF I keep the house at 60 degrees :)

  89. Kristina 89

    get the fake tree, enjoy it all season, and then also get a real wreath for the scent! :)

  90. M Ayers 90

    Ahh, don’t be torn. I used to love real trees but started buying the fake ones for the exact reason you posted. Its great when you can decorate right after Thanksgiving all the way to New Year~

    Last year, my hubby surprised me with a real tree. It was a treat, but I must say I was done with cleaning all the pines and the way it got “older” as the days went on. The ornaments were hanging so low as the tree wilted.

    I’m getting a fake one this year, right along with ya!

  91. NO!! Don’t do it Cathy! Don’t get the fake! I know the sap and the needles are a nightmare and I know your hands will get little scratches all over them from trying to get it in the stand (and then you finally get it in and think it’s straight, but it’s not straight and then you have to start all over again….).

    But you just HAVE to get the real one. Think of how good it will smell!

    Don’t go to the dark side!!

  92. Bunny 92

    I wish I could talk my husband in to an artificial tree but he won’t budge. I Hate the needles and the sap, we got new carpet last November a and I don’t want it ruined. I know someone who use to get a tree that could be planted after Christmas. They got the tree at a nursery it was all bundled up in burlap ( the roots) and they just watered it then after the holidays they’d plant it. Maybe that would work for you. They made a whole tree line of Trees to separate they’re property from the neighbors with them. Maybe these trees since they have they’re roots wouldn’t shed they’re needles ans sap the way other cut Christmas trees would. It’s something to look into anyway.

  93. Douglas firs definitely stay alive for awhile. It’s a hard call. I love a real tree and don’t think I could get a fake one.


  94. Egghead 94

    We have always had a real one but I know what you mean about it drying out by Christmas. I say whatever makes it easy and enjoyable should be what you do. After all it really isn’t about the tree but the memories you are making.

  95. I think you need TWO trees. Get a BIG artificial one to decorate and show off and a smaller REAL one for the smell and the pines on the floor that you will miss if they are not there this year.

    But given the right holiday spirit, you can’t go wrong!!

  96. sassy 96

    For many many years when the kids were young, we`d make a big deal of trudging through the woods to cut down a tree. We had a great time. I put my trees up early also, but then the kids grew older and did`nt enjoy trudging through the woods so much, so i bought a beautiful arificial tree. Sure you miss out on the smell of a fresh tree but, the benefits of artificial in my book far out weigh the ones to a real tree. I have since bought a smaller pre-lit tree which i highly recomend, i hate stringing all those many lights on the tree. I just pop this one together, fluff the branches and plug her in. I LOVE IT!

    I think you will enjoy a gorgeous fake tree!

  97. Rebecca 97

    My family used to buy a live tree with the dirt and roots in a burlap sack. You can keep watering it for as long as you have it in the house and then plant it after the holidays.

  98. Rebecca 98

    My family used to buy a live tree with the dirt and roots in a burlap sack. You can keep in watered and then plant it after the holidays. And because you keep in hydrated, it’s less likely to catch fire.

  99. my dear, you have answered your own question… and buy one with the lights already strung – the really good ones are expensive, but look quite good…

    check out “frontgate”

  100. Erin 100

    I haven’t read through all the comments yet (sorry, there’s so many! you’re popular!), but my recommendation is to get a high-quality fake tree, and then every year, for the pine scent, you can get a wreath to hang on your door or to put over your mantle (if you have one) that’s made of real pine. There are other decorative options made of pine branches too, and this way you get your pretty pictures, your pine scent, you’re friendly to the environment, and you save a ton of money.

  101. Harry 101

    …….and every year there is the lovely tradition of the ascent into the loft and the nativity game of ‘hunt the tree’ and all those typically seasonal words: where did you put the **%@â„¢!! thing last January? Oh, the joy of it all.

  102. Suzette 102

    I went to fake trees several years ago, and I’ve not regretted it. Having no male-type person in the house to wrestle a real tree, it just became necessity. And the dying and brittle tree was a whole ‘nuther issue. I do bring in fresh greenery, though. On Christmas Eve morning, we go to the nearby clearing and snip branches of pine. These go on the mantle for a few days. They get pretty crispy pretty quickly, but they’re there for the “big day,” and doing something pretty and creative just before everyone arrives seems kind of special. What I do the rest of the time is buy some candle scent (there are a bazillion suppliers of candle stuff online) that comes in pine or spruce – sometimes with a little orange and/or spice thrown in – and sprinkle drops of that in the branches of my fake tree. It gives the most heavenly holiday scent. I don’t burn candles since having had a candle-generated fire a few years ago. But, the candle scents can be used in many creative ways.

  103. grace 103

    we’ve had a fake tree for years–in fact, when christmas is over, we wrap it up (fully decorated, mind you) and take it to the basement. all us kids are older now though, so we don’t get excited about hanging ornaments and such. i think you should hold off a bit longer. :)

  104. I went through this about 6 years ago. My Dad always had Christmas tree lots and I always worked them as a kid so the smell of the trees really brought Christmas home for me. Finally when my Dad stopped selling trees and I had enough of dragging them our the doors and almost starting a fire as it passed through the front door like a match … I decided enough was enough.

    Now, I put up the artificial tree and I go to the tree lots and pick up loose branches that I make into a table decoration or wreath. Believe it or not, it’s still enough to have the scent in the house. When that starts to lose it’s scent, I just pick up another one closer to Christmas and it’s nice all over again :-D

  105. jodycakes 105

    Go for it…not a sign of weakness…just practical.
    Nowadays they make so many good smellies, I’m sure you can get something that is pinescented that would fill the house with the festive smell of the season.

  106. tipper 106

    Because of wanting to leave my tree up longer-I started using an artificial one about 4 years ago.

  107. Nah, you won’t be selling out. I grew up with real Christmas trees. We actually used to go out to a farm and cut it down ourselves. I LOVE real trees! However, when I got married and moved into a larger apartment we went for an artificial with lights already built in (because no way were we buying a real tree in the city of Chicago). It really does make things easier. No messy needles, no having to worry about the water levels and whether or not it’s going to die the next day, and the biggest plus: it’s more cost efficient! You can get a great artificial for less than $70 and it will last for years.

  108. Cha 108

    I know exactly how you feel. I love the smell and looks of real trees. I also said I would never have a fake tree. Well…. I love to set up my tree as soon as I can. The problem is I heat my home with a wood burning stove. I was lucky if my tree lasted 2 weeks. I was having to take it down the day after Christmas. So 10 years ago I caved and bought an artificial tree at Walmart for about $70. People can’t believe it is not real. I look at it this way, I am saving about $70 a year for a real tree and saving some trees from being cut down (maybe). I enjoy my tree for as long as I like. Good luck on your quest. BTW I found this site by accident while looking for a bruschetta recipe. I can’t wait to try the Breakfast Bruschetta with strawberries and tangy cream.

  109. Wow, this is a hot topic! : – ) I am also considering a fake. As a singleton, the whole going-out-to-get-the-tree is not fun. Neither is the set up or clean up. My Oregon sister bought a fake 3 years ago. On New Years when I’m vaccuming needles for hours, she’s relaxing with mulled wine & new DVD’s! I’ve pretty much talked myself into artificial this year.

  110. Danielle 110

    Purist schmurist! Get the artificial one! Today they are so well made, quite beautiful actually. Mine is prelit (hated trying to put those damn lights on!) and has tiny pinecones all over it. And no, it doesn’t smell like dust, even after 4 years! I still add fresh greens and a wreath for decoration and fragrance. Good luck with your decision…I miss my real tree sometimes, but when I remember all the reasons that I went artificial, I get over it quick!

  111. Mrs. L 111

    We blamed getting an artificial tree on the cat. She doesn’t climb into the artificial tree nor does she drink all the water out of the tree stand.

  112. I’m not ready to buy an artificial tree yet because of the nasty plastics and phthlates (sp?) they’re made from. Very un-green. Real trees can be composted. We get ours about the first weekend in Dec and I keep it up until after New Years.

  113. Laura 113

    I wonder if this is regional (i.e., it is so much more humid here, even in the winter?) but I am in the midwest and have always gotten my tree by Thanksgiving and have never had trouble having it last. How sad. And artificial ones are terrible for dust allergies. Maybe you could get a humidifier for your tree? (And yes I really would do that but I am hard core about the holidays, like you and Halloween).

  114. Sandie 114

    While I love the look and smell of real evergreens, I can’t help but feel horrible for the senseless waste of them at Christmas. Unless you’re buying balled & burlaped, and replanting them when the season is through, why not go with an artificial tree? This way you can decorate as early as you like!

  115. I can see both sides of the argument here even though I don’t like artifical trees. In my case I can’t go with artifical trees because I live in an apartment and have no place to store one. I also don’t buy it until December. If you absolutely must decorate early and you have a place to store a fake one for the off-season, perhaps it’s time to get one (but invest ina quality one).

  116. mary 116

    Last year my husband was recovering from surgery, so we went the fake tree route. the first one I bought was too small, so we put it in the dining room. The second was fine, so it went next to the fireplace, and we could even have a fire for the first time in years. My daughter still missed a real tree, so we ended up buying one anyway. It went in the den. We liked having three trees so much, we’ll do it again this year.

  117. I say do what you gotta do! In general, I prefer the real deal but sometimes it’s just not all that practical with the needles and watering and drying out, etc. Now I sound all bah humbug… Either way you go, I’m sure your tree will *look* great!

  118. Judy King 118

    Yes, Get an artificial…Last year was the first artificial tree I’ve ever had, and I’m 44… I love it, because I can decorate it early, and it looks good all the time…Mine is 10′ and this year I’m decorating silver & black…I thought I would be distraught over it, but I’m not!!

  119. Cathy,

    Thank you for your message… yes, I was born in Poland and for the last almost 5 years I live in UK. I’m the only one speaking Polish in my family, I try to teach my daughter, she understand Polish but always reply to me in English…

    About the Christmas tree, I had the same dilemma this year and the solution was live tree in a pot! :) I planted in in a bigger nicer pot and after Christmas has finished I moved it to my “stone” garden… it have to stay in the pot as there is no soil in the yard…
    You can take a look at it here:
    link to
    Have a nice weekend,


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