Real Christmas Tree= Real Benefits

We have surpassed Thanksgiving. Now it is finally acceptable to enjoy anything Christmas.

Since K and I now live together we had the very adult discussion about artificial vs. real Christmas trees. K’s family has historically gone with real trees, while my family has pretty much always went the fake route.

From an environmental standpoint which is better?



Our Michigan grown Fraser Fir


Both have their own pros and cons.

Artificial Tree Pros

  • Don’t have to buy a new tree year after year, cheap
  • Convenience: can come pre-lit, no needles

Artificial Tree Cons

  • Will eventually be disposed of in a landfill
  • Not made from environmentally friendly or recyclable materials (such as PVC)
  • Most likely made in China (guessing here)

Real Tree Pros

  • Can be composted and mulched up
  • Local, grown in the USA
  • Bolsters local, small business economies
  • Smells awesome

Real Tree Cons

  • Water, land, and resources used on Christmas tree farms
  • Most likely grown with harmful pesticides
  • Needles

So which wins?

Again, both have pros and cons, but overall, a real tree at least provides some environmental benefit while it is maturing, such as CO2 removal and wildlife habitat. It is most likely trucked from less distance than an artificial tree and can be returned to the Earth when the season is over.

The life cycle of an artificial tree provides much less benefit and any fake tree that has ever been thrown out is currently sitting in a landfill right now. Just saying.

Additional Resources:






  1. We switched from an artificial prelit to a real tree this year. Another bad part about the fakes is that if they are prelit (and most are…I looked forever for one WITHOUT lights) and the lights malfunction (as ours did) it’s so tricky to fix and it ends a perfectly good fake tree’s life super quickly 😦 you’ll be happy to know I plan on repurposing my old fake into other garland-esque Christmas decor 🙂 we plan on sticking with the real thing for a while. Another ‘real’ pro- no need to store them all year!! And, picking one out is a fun family outting 🙂 Anyway- loved the topic as always!


    1. Yeah that happened to my parents tree! A whole section of the tree lights would go out and my dad tried to fix it and it just was not possible. So they got another pre-lit tree again for this year!


  2. Reblogged this on Environmental Librarian's Blog and commented:
    My husband and I always get a live Christmas tree that we plant in our yard. We have only lost one tree in 36 years. It’s really fun to watch them grow. The first year we were married we got a live/cut tree and it was very dry about a week after we got it. My vote goes for real trees! The best way to water live trees that you plant is with ice cubes.

    Liked by 1 person

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