Artificial Christmas trees have their merits: they are low maintenance and you can get them down from the loft easily at a last minute time that suits you. However, when it comes to encapsulating the spirit of Christmas, artificial trees aren't a patch on real Christmas trees.
Artificial Christmas trees aren't a patch on real Christmas trees, which are essentially a living plant inside the home.
According to the British Christmas Tree Growers Association, between 6 and 8 million real Christmas trees are bought every year. If you've always had an artificial Christmas tree then you may find the idea of bringing a real one into your home a little daunting.
The good news is that you shouldn't. Real Christmas trees are relatively easy to look after and will last into the new year.
Benefits of picking a real Christmas tree
There are many advantages of choosing a real Christmas tree for your home or office. These range from environmental care to creating fun new holiday traditions. We may be biased, but the number of benefits a real Christmas tree brings to the table means we'd choose real over artificial trees every time.
A real Christmas tree will last throughout the holiday season.
How often do you settle down to watch a Christmas movie and see a family rummage about in the attic, wrestle open a dusty old box and begin to assemble a fake tree? We'd bet it doesn't happen all that much.
And there's a reason for that. For many people, it's a festive tradition that happens every December and can't be replicated by dusting off an artificial tree.
The experience of choosing a real Christmas tree with your family is something special.
Snuggle up with some hot chocolate while browsing our range in the warmth of your own home, place your order and sit back as it's delivered straight to your door. With next-day delivery available, your Christmas Trees Direct fresh fir will arrive ready to decorate in next to no time.
Choosing a fresh Christmas tree can become a tradition for the holidays.
Look and smell
There is no denying that the look and smell of a real Christmas tree is one of the highlights of December.
While fake trees are usually designed to mimic a 'perfect' tree, often it's those little imperfections that give a Christmas tree its magical appeal. An artificial tree can never quite replicate the natural beauty of a real tree.
And as for the scent, well it goes without saying that a real tree is much more appealing than a plastic one. Whether your preference is for fresh pine or natural citrus, a strong fragrance or a soft scent, real trees can fill the room with a gorgeously festive aroma. Forget about buying synthetic fragranced candles and diffusers and delight in a festive fragrance that is natural and authentic.
Real trees have a life about them that is missing from artificial ones.
When you have a real Christmas tree you'll find it doesn't need much added to look amazing. While you may wish to hide much of a fake tree (particularly older trees) behind tinsel, ribbon, bows and ornaments, a real Christmas tree looks stunning with just some twinkling lights and carefully positioned baubles.
Of course, the whole family loves to get involved with decorating the tree (even if it means the grown ups making some adjustments once the kids are in bed!) But don't let the thought of spiky needles put you off letting children 'help'. Some varieties, such as the Korean Fir, have nice soft needles so you don't need to worry about prickles causing scratches and the whole thing ending in tears.
Hanging decorations is fun for the whole family.
Some people have ample cupboard and attic space, but for others, storing an artificial tree throughout the year can be quite tricky. If you have limited space or simply don't want to find room to store a fake tree, then a real one is the answer.
A freshly cut Christmas tree can be recycled, composted or chipped to use as garden mulch.
Meanwhile, a pot-grown live tree can be moved into the garden for the rest of the year and brought back inside the following Christmas, keeping your loft and garage space free for year-round essentials.
A live tree in a pot can be moved outside for the rest of the year.
There are so many environmental benefits to choosing a real Christmas tree over an artificial one that we've dedicated a whole section to them.
More so than ever, people are considering the environmental cost of Christmas and trying to be as sustainable as possible. The Christmas tree you choose is a large part of this effort, with real trees generally having a smaller carbon footprint than artificial ones.
Like many plants, Christmas trees are a sustainable crop. We're not talking about deforestation here and obviously, we don't go into the local forest chopping down trees willy-nilly for the Christmas period! All of our trees are responsibly grown and tended as crops on expertly run tree farms.
A sustainable Christmas tree farm will replace a cut tree with a newly planted sapling. This cycle continues to produce more Christmas trees for festive celebrations in years to come.
A Christmas tree farm will provide refuge for wildlife and support the local economy.
Like any farmer, a Christmas tree grower will plant and harvest in the best interests of the farm and further environment. Growing Christmas trees helps protect water supplies, absorbs carbon dioxide from the air and provides a habitat for wildlife. Christmas tree farms also help support the local economy.
By their very nature, freshly cut Christmas trees are completely biodegradable, which means they can be disposed of more easily and with less environmental harm than a fake tree. In fact, many are recycled to further improve the environment.
Most local authorities collect or have drop-off points to recycle Christmas trees in the area. Many of these trees will be shredded into chips for mulch and compost to be used in parks, gardens and woodland.
Artificial trees are often made from metal and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which local authorities can't recycle.
No matter how many years a fake tree is used for, it always ends up in landfill eventually. Artificial Christmas trees are usually made from a combination of non-biodegradable materials, including metal, plastic and PVC, meaning they can't be recycled when they begin to look tired.
While real trees will have less of an impact than plastic ones when sent to landfill, they do release methane gasses. The best way to dispose of your real tree is by recycling, or even upcycling into small animal habitats or Christmas decorations for next year.
All of our Christmas trees are grown in the UK, so you can rest assured that your tree hasn't been flown thousands of miles creating a large carbon footprint.
Many artificial trees are imported from China and other far-flung places. As such, simply getting it to your house has a much higher impact on the environment.
Dealing with the disadvantages of a real tree
While real trees have lots of welcome benefits, they do have a couple of downsides. However, these are easy to deal with and shouldn't put you off.
One of the main things that put people off having a real Christmas tree is the thought of frequently vacuuming up dropped needles. But this doesn't need to be a deciding factor.
If it is a concern then opt for a variety of tree known for needle retention. Nordmann Fir and Korean Fir trees hold needles well and minimise clearing up around the base.
Follow our tips to ensure you don't spend the holidays vacuuming up dropped needles.
Don't have your tree delivered too early. Real Christmas trees will last up to 5 weeks indoors so if you like to put your tree up in early November then a freshly cut tree probably isn't best for you. However, our deliveries don't start until the end of November, ensuring that your new tree won't peak too early!
When your tree arrives place it in a bucket of water for a while to rehydrate. Shake out any loose needles from branches before bringing the tree inside.
Place your tree in a cool part of the room, away from heat sources like radiators or wood burners.
Add water to your tree stand regularly. Your tree may drink more than you'd expect so keep an eye on the water level and ensure it remains topped up. A well-hydrated tree will hold its needles better. Ideally, you want to add water every day or two to make sure it holds onto those needles as long as possible.
The cost of buying a new tree every year can deter some people from taking the plunge and ordering a real Christmas tree.
Cost can be one of the benefits of choosing a real Christmas tree this year.
The Carbon Trust states that a fake Christmas tree has to be used for at least 10 years to have a lower carbon footprint than a real one. Bear in mind that the more robust and authentic looking an artificial Christmas tree is, the more expensive it's likely to be. This means you'll have to spend a lot of cash on the initial outlay of an artificial tree, which often ends up around the same amount as 10 real trees spread over the decade.
In a 2017 study, 14% of people responded by saying they would be binning their fake Christmas tree and buying a new one the following year. Obviously, this isn't normal, but the average lifespan of an artificial Christmas tree is just 4-6 years, which means a fake tree can end up costing significantly more in both price and environmental impact.
Children will be enthralled by a real live Christmas tree.
Christmas trees are a quintessential part of the festive season, providing a joyful and merry atmosphere for celebrations and brightening up the long dark evenings.
The spirit of Christmas really is encapsulated in a real tree. The experience of choosing and decorating the perfect tree with family, enjoying its appearance and fragrance and knowing you're doing your bit for the environment create a feeling of togetherness and warmth that is the essence of the festive period.