Sunday, December 5, 2010

Waste or Want #7: Christmas Trees

Featured Product: Artificial vs. Real Christmas Trees

Description:At Christmas time you of course have the option to buy/cut a fresh Christmas tree each year, or you can pull out your artificial tree.

Fresh cut Christmas trees come in many different varieties, most of which are fir trees (of which there are several types) but you can also find a spruce tree sometimes.

Artificial trees come in a range of sizes and appearances, and also come either lit or unlit.

Average Cost:
Artificial Tree: Anywhere from $40 or $50 to a $1,000 (depends on the size and what you are looking for). The larger and more realistic looking the tree is, the more it is going to cost you.

Real Tree: Anywhere from $20 to $100 depending on the size and type. If you go to a little family tree lot then the trees aren't trimmed at all and you can find one for pretty cheap (it will look like you went and cut it yourself). If you go to a more commercial tree lot then all the trees are trimmed to look nice, but you will pay a lot more. If you cut it yourself you'll only need to pay the price for the cutting permit.

on the one hand......
Artificial trees are NICE! They can be put up earlier and stay up longer than real trees. Once you've made the big purchase you never have to buy another tree again. It's also convenient that you don't have to rush out to the store to get your tree up.

Real trees are NICE too! They make your house smell absolutely wonderful and they look so beautiful all lit up. They also offer a very homey feeling and going out with your family to choose a tree (either at a lot or to cut one down) is a nice family outing/tradition.

on the other hand.....
Artificial trees can look really FAKE. They don't smell good at all, so you'll have to settle for a scented candle. The set up can be really annoying year after year if it is a bit complicated, and storage can also be a problem.

Real trees have to be watered! And pine needles get scattered on your floor all month long. Plus, they are fire hazards!! They can't be put up as early or stay up as long as a fake tree. If you don't spend the big bucks at a lot you can get a tree that looks kind of sparse and is reminiscent of Charlie Brown. Overall you will be spending more year after year as well.

AND NOW.... cast your vote!!

Do you prefer a real tree or an artificial tree? Or, would you skip a tree all together?

And don't forget to tell us why!!


Alyssa Harper said...

I vote artificial...even though I grew up on real trees...but only if they're pre-lit. Gosh I love pre-lit trees. They're super durable (important with little ones running around) and takes, like, 2 seconds to put up. I know it looks fake, but lets be honest. Kids don't notice a difference til' they're at least, like, 13. And even though I do miss the fresh pine scent, I'll take my losses...for now.

Meanwhile, I am fully appreciating my chance to enjoy Christmas without having to drag my vacuum out of my overstuffed mini-closet to vacuum pine needles off the ground every single day.

The switch to real will happen when a) the kids are old enough to appreciate it, or b) the kids are old enough to be given job that includes daily vacuuming of pine needles. ;)

Megan said...

I love real trees, especially the smell. However, with little ones about the house, artificial is easier to deal with (especially pre-lit trees). Like has been mentioned, I don't have to worry about pine needles and watering a tree and my husband doesn't have to string the lights! Like Alyssa, we will wait for a real tree until kids understand not to eat the pine needles off the floor and can help take care of a real tree.

Kym, Shaun and Riley said...

REAL TREES FOR SURE!!!! I've never had an artificial tree and I don't think I ever will. There's nothing better than walking into your house to the smell of a fresh cut Christmas tree. Plus, once Christmas is over you don't have to find a place to store the tree.

Delia said...

I say real! We only had real once...last year and it kind of looked sad because we got it from the BLM. They go and cut it down for you and the prices range from $5-20. But I still think real is better.

A word about cutting down your own tree... it is not a simple affair. If you want to cut one you have to drive pretty far and hike pretty far. Only certain parts of certain lands are for permit tree cutting and they are definitely not right off the road. For us I have to drive almost an hour to an area in another state. With small children this is almost impossible...all the driving and hiking. Find a sitter for the babies for sure. And after you add up fuel costs it might not be worth my opinion.

That said...I still love real trees. I almost cried this year when we decided to pull out our fake one. Whoever cut the BLM trees this year, cut trees I wouldn't have bothered to all I am going to say {argh}. And we are leaving town for a while so the whole watering the tree thing...anyway... The pine needles dropping aren't that bad if your tree is really fresh and you keep the water levels up in the base/stand. Plus... It takes me five minutes to vacuum and it actually brings out the pine fresh smell more when I do, so I enjoy it. Nothing beats that homey feel of a real tree. It is almost magical. My kids have never bothered to eat the needles {last year we had a 16 month old which is prime gnawing on random objects stage and he still didn't bother - at least I don't remember him caring about them} and if yours do they aren't poisonous. But poinsettias are poisonous and people don't bat an eye at buying those fresh. *shrug*

So Real...but artificial is nice to have just in in our case this year. :)

Laura said...

I lean in the direction of real trees, but I guess I can argue both sides.

We have an artificial tree right now. It's nice because we can set it on top of a table, out of reach of little hands. If we had a real tree, it would be too heavy to do that. It's also nice because, like has been said, we can put it up as early as we want and keep it up as late as we want. Not having to water it is nice, too.

I love love love the smell of real trees. If you can find one fresh enough, you shouldn't have too much of a problem with needles dropping. The only reason we don't have a real tree now is because my husband thinks it's a waste of money...I'm going to save my own money next year and buy one myself if I have to. :)

Here's a random thought...with a fake tree, I'm bugged all the time about branches that aren't in "just the right place" and I keep trying to fix them. With a real tree, they just are how they are and I totally don't even care. Go figure. :)

Tannie Datwyler said...

I'm on the real tree team too. I've been married 7 years and this is our 8th Christmas and we've never had a fake one. Every year I kind of choke because we do spend a bit of money on one, but it's a once a year purchase and something I love so much that my husband doesn't mind. I know it's a silly throw away of money, but I love real trees.

I'd actually like to own a fake tree, but I'm super picky about fake trees - I want it to look REALY good, so when we buy one I want an expensive one. Therefore, we've never bought one because we just simply don't have that kind of money to get the one I want. I want a fake one to use every few years, simply for convenience (like Delia said), but I think for the most part we will go real trees almost every year.

I have two kids - a 4 year old and a 2 year old, so this is my 5th Christmas with kids. I've had toddlers, babies, walkers, and crawlers - kids at all stages of growth and I've never had a problem with them eating pine needles. And like Delia said, I don't mind vacuuming them up because it makes the house smell good. :)