Fake vs Real Christmas Trees

Jingle bells Jingle bells jingle all the way. Christmas is the season for carols, presents, and most important of all, the Christmas tree. If you are in the festive season and are looking at getting a Christmas tree for your home, it is important to know a bit about what tree would suit you and your home the best.

The main consideration would be whether you want to go with a real tree or a fake one. This could be a tough decision to make as both have their pros and cons. Some factors to consider would be the cost, storage or disposal after use, and which option would be the most eco-friendly.

Let’s have a look at the facts of a real vs fake Christmas tree which will help guide you in selecting the right tree for your home.

Real Christmas Trees

real christmas trees

A real Christmas tree has many benefits over a fake or plastic version. Believe it or not, statistics show that real Christmas trees are more environmentally friendly and a more ethical choice for your home, if you find a sustainable grower.

Christmas trees are a type of fern that takes up to 7 years to mature. They absorb carbon dioxide during their growth and provide a habitat for wildlife. The Association of Christmas Tree Growers highlights how small scaled sustainable farmers use a rotating cycle of planting 1 to 3 trees for every 1 tree that is harvested. Christmas trees are mostly grown on steep hillsides usually unsuitable for other types of farming.

According to the Real Christmas Tree Board, the refreshing woody fragrance of a real Christmas tree promotes joyful, nostalgic, calm, and thankful emotions while bringing stress levels down. The scent of a real Christmas tree is said to be the most popular reason they are a preferred choice.

The scent is the favorite smell of the season. Christmas trees also purify the air and improve your indoor air quality during winter and the sap-like substance called oleoresin helps keep the pests away.

farming real christmas trees
Christmas trees are specifically farmed, and seedlings are replanted each year

Once the season is over, your Christmas tree can be transplanted if you have provided enough moisture to the earth ball and used it for not more than 10 days. Alternatively, your real Christmas tree could be used as mulch, lumber, compost, or reused as firewood.

While the pros of a real Christmas tree are amazing, it also has prominent drawbacks. Research conducted by Ellipsos debates whether real trees are that sustainable as they are cut down in their teenage years which might not allow the old growth needed to absorb carbon dioxide. Commercial farms may impact biodiverse ecosystems and most use pesticides that are not environmentally friendly.

The other disadvantage of a real Christmas tree would be how expensive it could be for a single use every year. They could be messy dropping pine needles in your home and require some maintenance where they would need to be watered. Remember also that pine needles can quickly catch fire and the tree might have bugs or mold. You will also need to dispose of the tree after use.

Real Christmas Trees – Pros and Cons

real christmas tree farm


ReusableYou can chop the Christmas tree logs to burn them in your next bonfire or make natural branch coasters. There are many ways to reuse real Christmas trees.
BiodegradableEven if you don’t use a real Christmas tree elsewhere and dump it in the soil, then it will be decomposed by the bacteria without causing any pollution. While the fake Christmas trees don’t get destroyed and stay in landfill sites for good.
Smell of natureNo matter how good a fake Christmas tree may seem, no other smell can beat the fragrance of a real Christmas tree.
VarietyWith the natural Christmas tree, you can choose the Christmas tree according to your needs. It may be high, with a great spread and bushy, or a skinny one.
It looks wonderfulYou may be a perfectionist in everything, but the imperfections of a real Christmas tree are what make it amazing. The fake trees may have perfect shapes, but a work by Mother Nature seems a better option.  
Can be recycledThere are many places where you could send your Christmas tree after the festival season to get it recycled. There are many crafts you could make on your own to recycle the Christmas, so wake up your creative instinct and get working!
Plant new forestsWhen more real Christmas trees are used, there is a greater need to plant new forests. An average Christmas tree takes almost 6 to 8 years to reach its normal size, so during this time, it works like any other tree to release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide.
Replant options are availableChoosing a living Christmas tree gives the option to replant it again after the holidays. Or you could give it to be replanted in a nearby forest.


A new tree each yearWhile this may seem a fascinating thing to the children to go to the market each year a buy a new Christmas tree each year, it can prove heavy on the pocket.
Creates a mess:A real Christmas tree drops needles while standing in your living room. As it gets drier, the needle-loss increases, and it may end up being a huge mess for you.  
Needs water dailyTo keep the Christmas tree alive and resist fire, you need to water it regularly.  
FlammablePine needles can become uncontrollable if they catch fire, so it is better to keep them away from fireplaces and open flames.  
May come with mold and bugsGrowing up in a forest may treasure the Christmas trees with mold, bugs, and other troublesome creatures.  
Need to dispose ofWhen Christmas goes around the weekend, you have to properly recycle or compost a real Christmas tree, as you cannot save it for the next year.  
Limited lifeGet a real Christmas tree when the holiday season is close, as it has a limited life span and will die after that.  
Can carry allergensNot all Christmas trees are grown organically so they may have pesticides from farms that are not organic.

Fake Christmas Trees

fake christmas trees

Looking from an environmental perspective, the fake or artificial Christmas tree is not eco-friendly. They are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) which is a non-recyclable plastic where the resources and the greenhouse gas emissions used during production are not only harmful to the environment but can also have ongoing harmful effects on health.

Some studies show that a fake Christmas tree is a greener choice if used for 5 years or more while others say it will need to be used for 8 to 10 years at least and ideally up to 20 years for it to be eco-friendly as a real tree. Most owners would use a fake tree on average for up to 10 or more years.

fake christmas trees

Yet the fake tree is preferred due to its many other benefits which make it a convenient and easier choice. The fake tree can be put up early and kept on display for a longer period. They are easier to manage and set up as they come in sections for a hassle-free set-up. Some fake trees come with built-in lighting options that are safer and easier to handle.

Unlike real trees, fake trees do not need maintenance or watering and most fake trees are fire resistant which makes them safer when lighting. When stored well, fake trees will be dust and allergen-free. There is an abundant supply of fake trees and many varieties that would suit your indoor spaces.

Fake Christmas Trees – Pros and Cons

real vs fake christmas trees


Can be reusedIt is true that you can use one fake Christmas tree for many years. Just put it in your storeroom after the holiday season and take it out next year during the festival preparations. This proves to be a budget-friendly option, as you will no longer need to buy a new Christmas tree every year.  
No maintenanceYou do not have to worry about watering a fake tree and other maintenance needs.  
Easy to put togetherMost fake Christmas trees can be assembled easily, just by fitting together some pieces.
No allergiesArtificial Christmas trees are a good option for people who are allergic or sensitive to evergreen trees.  
Easier setupSome artificial Christmas trees come with lights already installed on them and other ornaments. So, it’s an easy and less time-taking task to set up the fake tree.  
Lesser messSince a fake Christmas tree sheds lesser needles, it creates a smaller mess than a real one. Do note that a fake Christmas tree also sheds some needles, so you may need to clean the mess afterward using a vacuum cleaner.  


Made of harmful chemicalsMost of the fake trees are made up of polyvinyl chloride or PVC, which is a non-biodegradable and petroleum-based plastic. It is very harmful to the environment, and even the smell of a fake tree can be difficult to bear.  
Transport issuesChina is the largest manufacturer of fake Christmas trees and it burns a lot of carbon to transport them from China to all corners of the world.
No evergreen scentThe fake Christmas tree doesn’t come with the aromatic smell of nature as that of the real tree. You may try to fill the gap with an artificial scent, but it can never be good enough.  
Doesn’t look realTrees look better when they have irregularities and imperfections. While a fake tree has a perfect shape, but it can not look as good as a real one.  
It can breakBeing made of PVC, artificial Christmas trees can break pieces if not stored correctly, and this makes the whole tree suddenly useless.  
Need a storage spaceWhen the Christmas season is over, you need to put away the fake tree in a store. For this, a lot of space is needed where the tree can rest easily, without being damaged.  
Cannot be recycledBeing made of PVC, there is no way to recycle the tree. You can reuse it for other purposes, but it ultimately lands in a waste site or a landfill alongside other plastic waste.  

Wrapping Up

The debate about real vs fake Christmas trees is ongoing. When the pros and cons are taken into consideration, it becomes difficult to choose between real vs fake. It is a great initiative though to be eco-friendly as in the long run, it is the best way to go. Alternatively, you could get a potted Christmas tree and use this during the season or grow your own at home to use every year.

If you decide to go with the fake tree, it is a good idea to ensure you have good storage systems which will allow you to use your tree for at least 5 years or more so that you can be environmentally friendly as best you can while you celebrate the festive season.