The Great Debate: Fake Christmas Tree vs. Real Christmas Tree

For the first year since I left my parents house a brazen teenager, I’ve decided to decorate my living quarters in the spirit of Christmas.  Always having to do things over the top, I went straight to the local department stores and starting looking for a mistletoe, colorful lights, Santa Claus decorations and of course a nice big Christmas Tree.  17 years of living at home, I saw 17 different Christmas trees growing up.  Each year, my family would go find a tree, buy it, hitch it to the pick-up truck and drive it home.  Then, after New Years, the tree would come down and the cycle would repeat.  $20 – $50 at a time, we’re talking close to $1,000 spent on Christmas trees over the years.  And don’t get me started on the tinsel!

When I started looking for a fake Christmas tree inside of Target, I immediately noticed a few things:

  1. The trees are much smaller than the trees you can find outside
  2. The trees are a lot more expensive than the ones you find outside

So I got to thinking.  With the plan of spending the next few years in Miami, then moving to somewhere much, much colder, would it be in my best interest to buy a $35 real tree, or a $100 fake, smaller tree.  I immediately purchases the fake tree, a box of $6 ornaments and a $1 box of candy canes and I’ll tell you why.

First, I realized that even if I keep the fake tree (which is pretty sweet) for a year or two, I can turn around and sell it because it should still be in pristine condition.  I might not be able to get what I paid for it, but 50% of my investment is not out of the question.  When I eventually move out of Miami, I plan to have a big going away sale, so the tree will be a welcomed inclusion. On the opposite side of the equation, a real tree might be cheaper this year but the hassle of getting rid of it inside of an apartment complex could prove to be difficult AND I drive a two-door Mustang, which barely had room for the fake tree.

Next, while inside my home, the fake Christmas tree takes no water, needs no stand, and does not leave needles all over the place.  There are no animals living in my fake Christmas tree and when New Year’s rolls around, all I have to do is box it up and I’m done.  The problem of course is that I already live in a small apartment and finding room for a big box is going to prove difficult.  Even with that small negative, advantage fake tree.

Finally, one of the cooler features of a fake tree is that I can bend it and shape it in any way I want to.  Remember when you found that perfect real Christmas tree on the lot, then brought it home and found that it tilted one way and had a big hole on one side?  With my fake 7′ tree, there are no holes, no problems and it stands perfectly in the  corner of my living room.  That’s three arguments and three check marks for the fake tree.

But you know what?  A real Christmas tree is a real Christmas tree.  I bought the wrong one.

Topics: Smart Spending

3 Responses to “The Great Debate: Fake Christmas Tree vs. Real Christmas Tree”

  1. If you look at it from a purely monetary perspective, then ‘artificial’ is a hands down winner. I’ve unpacked, setup and re-packed our tree for years now and it’s still in pretty good shape. No hassles, no mess, it’s easy. BUT there is just something about a real Christmas tree that makes things more like Christmas. The extra effort, the nice smell, the uniqueness of each one. Now that I have a child I think we will have to go for the real deal, because its worth it if it makes it a bit more special.


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