There are very few things that make those who celebrate Christmas think of the season more than a tall, forest green pine tree decked out in glittering lights and sparkly ornaments. Every Christmas though, Canadians are faced with a dilemma. Real or fake?
There are very few times in life where we would pick the fake over the real. Engagement rings, teeth, friends, and apologies- just a few things in life we’d choose the real version over the fake. With Christmas trees though, there isn’t really a clear-cut winner. There are a lot of valid pros and cons for both sides which is why this back and forth argument keeps coming back up again and again.
Here at Kijiji, we’re all about helping to make your holidays easier so here are the pro and con lists for both options to help those of you on the fence.
The Real Tree
- They smell amazing! Forget candles or air fresheners – the smell that comes from a fresh pine tree is the real deal and they make the entire home smell like Christmas. It’s one of the major reasons people love getting a real tree. There’s something very sentimental and nostalgic about that scent that a fake tree just can’t imitate.
- They are green in more ways than one. Besides the obvious colour of the tree, choosing a real tree is also a very green choice because once Christmas is over, real trees are entirely recyclable using any tree recycling program which are readily available everywhere across North America. Growing a tree is about as ecologically friendly as any product manufacturing can possibly be!
- Real trees are expensive. It’s pretty straightforward. Compared to an artificial tree that you can re-use year in and year out, it can be hard for people to wrap their heads around the idea of spending money every year on a new tree. Depending on the type of tree and the size, an average tree can go anywhere between $20-$120.
- Real trees can be a bit fussy. You have to keep it hydrated, put it in a safe place or it can be a major fire hazard, store it in the right temperature, and try to find a pesticide-free tree farm to buy it from so you’re not breathing in harmful chemicals. In general, just a lot of things to consider which to some people make a real tree not worth it.
- Christmas trees are mildly toxic, so if you have a pet that likes to chew plants, be mindful of the danger. Keep the tree in a space where animals and small children can be supervised at all times when near. The water used to keep Christmas trees fresh often has preservatives which can be dangerous when ingested, so get a covered dish and supervise cats and dogs. If you think your pet has ingested part of the tree or water (or any other plant), monitor changes in their behavior, such as excessive licking or salivating, changes in their appetite, activity, water consumption, or vomiting and diarrhea, and take them to the vet if these symptoms arise.
The Artificial (Fake) Tree
- Fake trees save you money, time, and energy. You can buy a beautiful fake, tall, full tree for anywhere from $30-$200 and use that year after year for as long as you want. This is a huge plus, especially for new homeowners or people living on their own who want a touch of Christmas for themselves and any guests without the full blown commitment of having to take care of it and deal with disposing of it after the season is over.
- Fake trees are now more real-looking than ever before. Trees nowadays, (minus the smell), can look and feel very real. They also have trees that are fully decorated with lights, fake snow, or extra trimmings that make the tree ridiculously easy to decorate.
- If you’re the type that likes to change things up often, an artificial tree can end up becoming very harmful to the environment. Unlike a real tree, there is no recycling a fake tree, which can create a lot of waste. (There is a way around this con though; sites like Kijiji make it very possible to recycle your tree AND make a little side cash to put towards your next tree. There are tons of ads up on the site now from people looking to pass their tree on in an environmentally responsible way.)
- Like the possibility of pesticide in real trees, fake trees can also contain harmful chemicals from the material that’s used to make the fake pine needles. There have also been cases of lead poisoning from fake trees. There are ways to avoid these dangers including making sure your tree is from North America, and also, always washing your hands after touching the tree, or just avoiding touching the tree after it’s up and decorated.
- Like real trees, fake trees can also be harmful to your pets if swallowed, as they could be toxic or cause blockage in their system.
It really comes down to choice based on your own lifestyle and where you are in your life. How many people you live with, your financial situation, your childhood history, personal preference, presence of pets, and environmental beliefs all play a factor in your decision. You could also forgo a traditional tree entirely, and decorate a houseplant that you plan to keep all year round.
When it all comes down to it, on Christmas day when you’re with everyone you love wolfing down a feast and ripping open presents while listening to carols, it won’t matter what tree you ended up getting. So go ahead, do your own research, check Kijiji, look at flyers, search for some pesticide-free tree farms near you and get your home decked out for the holidays!