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How to Choose a Real Christmas Tree, and Which Is Better: Real or Artificial

The smell of a real Christmas tree, gingerbread, and fresh fruit are the things that give us some pleasant anxiety before Christmas. But all that cleaning up after the Christmas tree is not very convenient. This is why many people prefer artificial Christmas trees.

5-Minute Crafts decided to find out how to choose a Christmas tree that can last a long time, along with what to pay attention to if you are buying a potted tree. And at the end of the article, we’re going to tell you which is better: an artificial or a real tree.

How to choose a real Christmas tree

  • Buy a well-shaped, branchy tree. The trunk has to be straight (or almost straight) and shouldn’t be visible through the branches and the needles.
  • If the needles are too thick, there will be very little space for the decorations. Christmas trees look best when the decorations are hanging straight. On very branchy trees, they will hang at different angles and fall on lower branches. So there should be small spaces between the branches.
  • Look at the trunk. It should be a bit sticky.
  • To find a tree that will last, grab any of the branches with 2 fingers, then squeeze and pull. The needles have to remain on the tree. If you have a few needles in your hands, the tree is not fresh.
  • Rub the needles and check the smell. It should be fresh and pleasant.
  • Some trees change the needle color from deep green to grayish and dull. The greener, the better.
  • The needles should be flexible.
  • Knock with the end of the tree on the ground. If a few needles fall off, it’s okay. If too many fall off, look for a different tree.

Note: If you care about the environment, it’s better to recycle the tree. Christmas trees are often recycled into mulch used for flowers in parks or zoos as animal food. You can find information about recycling online.

How to choose a potted Christmas tree

  • When choosing a potted Christmas tree, look at the roots of the tree. If they are big, there are many of them in the pot, which means the tree was open-grown, so it was dug and potted. Most of the roots were destroyed. The tree won’t live long.
  • Choose the trees that were originally grown in a container. Such trees have many small roots and if you pull the tree out, you will see that they are intertwined. Such roots are healthy.

Note: After the celebrations, you can grow the tree in your garden. But you should know that over time, such trees grow too high and will become too big for most gardens.

Real vs artificial

Real tree:

✅ It fills the house with the smell of the needles, creating a Christmasy mood.

✅ It doesn’t require room for storage.

✅ It does less damage to the environment than artificial trees. Despite the stereotypes, the trees are not chopped in forests. They are specially grown on farms. While the trees are growing, they are really useful: they absorb CO2 and give oxygen and also provide a place for wild animals to live. Young trees are planted after the older ones are chopped.

✅ Real trees are biodegradable and can be fully recycled. Almost every big city has special places where you can bring your old tree. It can be mulched or turned into compost, so the nutrients will go back into the soil.

❌ Needles fall off and you have to clean up regularly.

❌ The tree has to be watered regularly.

Artificial tree:

✅ You can place it earlier and for a longer time to prolong the Christmasy mood.

✅ It can work for years, which saves money and time for choosing a tree every year.

✅ It doesn’t attract insects.

✅ It has a better shape.

✅ It doesn’t need to be watered.

✅ There’s no trash afterward.

❌ There’s no natural smell.

❌ It requires storage space.

❌ It does damage to the environment. Artificial trees are usually made of PVC. Plastic is produced in plants that pollute the environment.

❌ Artificial trees made of PVC and steel are not biodegradable, and they can’t be recycled.

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