Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


The Debate of the Season: Fake vs Real Christmas Trees

Do conifers or plastics float your boat?

Despite worries of what gift to buy for your friends or how to make the best gingerbread house, another conundrum arises during the Christmas season: fake or real tree? This debate is definitely a hot topic throughout the holidays. While some prefer the easy access, quickly customizable nature of an artificial tree, it seems the majority of Magnet students appreciate having a slice of nature in their home. So…. which side of the debate are you on: FAKE OR REAL?!

Real Trees

A Holiday Tradition: 

While Thanksgiving is a great holiday on its own, my favorite part of the week-long break when visiting my grandparents in North Carolina is picking out my tree on that Friday. The hot apple cider and smell of the trees never fails to kick off the Christmas season. Half of the joy of having a Christmas tree is the experience and process of picking out the right one. The smell of a real Christmas tree alone is enough to drive your home into the holiday ambiance. No need to spend money on candles when you have the natural pine aroma radiating from your at-home evergreen. There is also joy in the imperfections of all natural fir in your living room. With the added bonus of some pine needles escaping the tree and scattering themselves around the house, there is a sound argument for bringing the outside, inside. 

Not only is the age-old tradition of going to get a Christmas tree admirable, arriving home is when the true fun begins. Decorating your Christmas tree is simply the epitome of holiday spirit and there is nothing better than replacing your boring lamps with a radiant tree. Ornaments hold years of memories and, in my house, each ornament sparks a conversation between family members. Whether it’s the ornament depicting my first Christmas or my mom’s first classroom, a heartwarming experience is tied to each tree decoration. Lauren Faust (12) says she also appreciates the ornaments that fill her real Christmas tree as one of her’s holds memories of her old dog, Harley. How sweet. 

Environmentally Sound:

According to the Nature Conservancy, real Christmas trees are actually more environmentally sound than artificial ones. 

“In the U.S., around 10 million artificial trees are purchased each season. Nearly 90% of them are shipped across the world from China, resulting in an increase of carbon emissions and resources. And because of the material they are made of, most artificial trees are not recyclable and end up in local landfills. Not to mention the smell of new plastic is just not as nostalgic as a crisp, fresh evergreen.”

— Nature Conservancy

I know what you’re thinking: shouldn’t we not cut down trees? In reality, science presents that the best way to protect forests is to use them. When our forests are sustainably managed, they can produce renewable resources like Christmas trees and other wood-made products. We can cut more than 30% of the carbon emissions needed to slow climate change with natural solutions like restoring our forests. You purchasing a real Christmas tree means you’re supporting local tree farmers and helping maintain healthy forests for generations to come.

Support local businesses: 

Tree farms are often small, local businesses that rely on a big boom during the holiday season. Whereas, artificial trees are usually manufactured by larger companies due to the mass production of the product. And it’s always a good idea to support small businesses because you are supporting the local community. For example, my family and I have been getting our tree from Grandy Mountain Tree Farm since before I exited the womb. In a similar stride, Suzanna and Chloe Carlsten (12) have been getting theirs from the same farm and it is “a family tradition to go to the same farm every year” and “we love seeing the same environment and helping this business.” 


Artificial Trees

No mess/no maintenance: 

No parental yelling at the kids for not watering the tree or panic because the rush of the Christmas tree farm caused an accidental purchase of an 11 foot tree for 8 foot ceilings.  There’s no mess and there’s no maintenance. Artificial trees are simply taken out of the attic with the rest of the decorations when it’s time to decorate. While I have never experienced assembling a fake tree, Consumer Reports said that the “fluffing” consumes the most time. Seems like a pretty smooth set up to me. A lay up of a decoration, if you will. Artificial trees can also be decorated in the same way that real trees can, although there may be an argument for more simple, tasteful decorations matching better with the sleek, sometimes colorful nature of artificial trees. 


Although the argument of tradition is more applicable to real trees, artificial trees can prove generational as well. I know people who have had the same artificial trees for decades at a time. The convenience of artificial trees is unmatched and can prove favorable for the population of introverts.

Allow controlled aesthetics: 

To many, a hugely important part of Christmas is the aesthetic. It’s hard to beat a perfectly decorated, perfectly shaped tree. And artificial trees ensure this. An artificial tree can be any color of the rainbow, can provide snow dusted on its branches, and can be as tall or wide as you want it. You have the liberty of nearly customizing your tree, rather than relying on what may be left at the farm by the time your family comes around to getting one. But the best part of the artificial tree is the saving money aesthetic. In thorough research, I could not find a uniform price for either type of tree but regardless, buying a tree once instead of buying a new one every year is definitely cutting down the cost.

This poll has ended.

Which type of tree do you prefer?


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