A real tree smells wonderful. A real tree looks wonderful. Knowing it's a real tree just adds to the festivity somehow, and brings back memories for me of my childhood. We always had a real tree. A lot of times when my dad was out hunting (and yes, I occasionally went with him) if he saw one he liked, he would cut it down and bring it home. They were usually pretty Charlie Brown-ish, and one side was usually lopsided and bare, but we filled it with ornaments and lights and garland, and once everything was on it, it didn't look so bad. I remember mom always had to do the lights first, before we could start putting ornaments on. What a challenge to sit and wait for her to do that!
Now with that said, there are also some negatives about real trees as well. Two words. Pine needles! Every real tree out there by the end of the Christmas season will be dropping needles all over your floor. Last year, as my husband dragged our tree from our living room out the front door, the tree lost over half the needles on the underside of the tree, which we then spent half an hour vacuuming out of the carpet. They also have sap. Very sticky sap which sticks...to stuff. Also, you have to water real trees. I know there are people out there that can't keep plants alive to save their lives, and real trees need to be watered. This can also be a bit messy depending on the type of stand you have, and if you have to crawl halfway under your tree to water it you almost need to be a contortionist to do it without knocking half the lower ornaments off. (We actually found a really nice stand at Canadian Tire with a cup that the trunk fits into that actually swivels so you can straighten up a crooked tree. It also holds 3.3L of water. Very cool!) The other thing with real trees (can be a positive or negative thing) is that you have to get a new tree every single year. If you purchase them, this can get costly, as around here they range from $40 to $100 for the 7-9ft variety we usually purchase. You never know if the shape of the tree is going to be great, or if it's full all the way around or has a bald spot. On the plus side some people make it a family tradition to go out and choose their tree every year, so it's not always a bad thing! And then there is also the environmental factor. For one thing, we're cutting down a pine tree for the sake of dragging it into our homes and hanging some baubles on it for a two to three week period at best, and then tossing it like yesterdays lunch. If you're conscientious, you may take it to your nearest environmental center to be recycled into mulch or whatever. The other thing with real trees is if you don't want it all dried up and brown by Christmas you really can't put it up before, say, the 15th of December. My parents usually put up the tree around the 20th, and left it up til New Years. And don't get me started on the whole fire hazard thing.
Now the thing with fake trees (or I guess we can be PC and call them artificial trees) is that basically everything about real trees is the opposite for artificial. No losing pine needles. No sticky tree sap. No watering. You only have to purchase it once. No wasting of our natural resources. Already lit!!! I repeat, already lit!! No waiting for mom to untangle last years lights before you start decorating! No bald spots or ending up with an uneven or unbalanced tree. One of the only downsides to the artificial tree is having to have room to store them for the other 11 months of the year. (Which I don't seeing as how our home is only 1000sq ft.)
Although....no lovely fragrance. No feeling the mood because you're pulling in that piece of the wild from outside to inside. No wondering if Chip and Dale are going to creep out of the tree in the middle of the night to terrorize the cat and eat the nuts on the table in the snack dish.
Now it's up to you... to decide which way you're going to go. There is no judgement here! This is a judgement free zone. Although I can tell you right now, I will always have a real tree. I love bringing it into the house, watching my husband struggle to trim the trunk to fit into the base. The smell of the sap and the needles. The little bits of snow and dirt that fall onto the lino in the kitchen as the branches relax and let down after being tied up so tightly. Bringing in the tree is one of the things that really signals me that Christmas is here, and since we put it up so close to Christmas it really gets me in the spirit. It is one of the traditions that I remember from when I was little and will share with my children. Chase is already asking when we will put up the tree. I think Blair is taking him to go get one tomorrow, and we'll leave it outside until the 20th, just like my mom and dad used to do. And then I will be the one to untangle last years lights and make my child wait to hang the first ornament...