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Live Christmas Trees versus Artificial Christmas Trees

Come December, the debate between live and artificial Christmas trees begins, with both sides presenting different reasons to get one or the other for the holidays. We present the pros and cons of each type of tree to help you make an informed choice about what Christmas tree to get.

Live Christmas trees


  • Fresh, pine scent. Coming naturally to real Christmas trees, the main reason some people prefer cut trees is the scent that the offer. This fragrance is the main thing that draws people to fresh trees, even though many retailers now sell the fragrance in sprays.
  • A family tradition. Many families keep an annual tradition of visiting a Christmas tree farm together and choosing a fresh tree for their home. Since an artificial Christmas tree is a one-time purchase, giving up a real tree also translates to giving up this family tradition.
  • Support for local farmers. 100,000 Americans are employed by the Christmas tree industry. Of these employees, 21,000 are small, local Christmas tree growers. Buying a fresh Christmas tree means supporting the livelihood of your local farmers.


  • Highly allergenic. Live Christmas trees trigger mold allergies, with a mold level rising to five times above normal after two weeks indoors, according to a study in Connecticut. People with mold allergies also report that the stronger the scent in a natural tree, the easier it is to trigger their allergic fits.
  • Expensive. Expect to spend around $100 a year with a quality grown Christmas tree, and expect inflation to make the price tag go up every year.
  • Maintenance. Your tree needs to have a change of fresh, clean water almost every day, and a light spray of mist to keep the branches nourished for the season. Unfortunately, no amount of watering will prevent the natural drop of needles that comes with a decaying tree. Sweeping is a must to keep children or pets from picking up stray needles, not to mention essential to keeping the house neat and tidy!

Artificial Christmas Trees


  • Inexpensive and practical. For the price of a couple of farm-cut Christmas trees, youíll be able to buy an artificial Christmas tree that youíll use for several years. The quality and price range really depends on the customerís needs and preferences.
  • Easy to maintain. Artificial Christmas trees are incredibly easy to set up and maintain. Pre-lit Christmas trees are a popular choice, as they save you the effort of stringing up the lights yourself. Once they tree is set up, you don't have to about maintenance until it's time to keep the tree in the attic or garage. Many retailers include Christmas tree bags with each tree to make tree storage an even more convenient and straightforward. And there's no need for the watering and sweeping that comes with buying a real tree!
  • Available in various shapes, sizes and styles. From the most realistic, luxurious artificial Christmas trees to the most outrageous styles, an artificial Christmas tree can come in any shape or form to suit your home. You can even defy tradition with colored Christmas trees or an upside-down Christmas tree.
  • Non-allergenic. With no mold spores multiplying around the house and no possibility of insect nests and infestation (with a little cleaning), there will be no sniffles and runny noses for the holidays. There is also little chance that your pet will be drinking from water with chemicals used to keep fresh trees alive longer.


  • Non-biodegradable. Made with PVC or PE plastic, artificial trees manufactured today are non-biodegradable and cannot be recycled as of yet. But since each tree is made to last for many Christmases, the disposal issue will be years or decades in the future.
  • No pine scent. An artificial Christmas tree doesn't smell like anything, as it is made of unscented plastic. If you miss the sweet pine aroma of a real tree, artificial tree owners suggest using a spray or or potpourri near the tree to recreate its refreshing scent during the holidays.

When it comes down to it, you have the final say on what tree you should get this Christmas. Weighing the pros and cons can help you decide which side of the fence you sit on, and what type of tree best suits your needs.

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