Evergreens vs. plastic pines: A Christmas debate

credits: Fox 2 Detroit

credits: Fox 2 Detroit

Racing down the stairs on Christmas morning, you find yourself in the living room, presents stuffed under the tree. But does the tree fill the room with the sweet smell that comes from true pine needles, or are you relying on a candle to deliver the authentic Christmas aromas?  

There once was a time when real trees were the only option for décor; however, the invention of the artificial tree in the 1800s opened the door to a new way to decorate. In the 19th century, Christmas trees had become so popular that the holiday was depleting Germany’s evergreen forests, prompting the artificial evolution. The plastic greenery did not gain popularity in the United States until the 1980s when the decoration was more commonly made with PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) materials. More modern versions come with pre-lit accessories, making the unnatural option more appealing and simplistic. 

“[I think] real Christmas trees are so much better than fake ones! They give off such a sweet scent,” Bella Postel, junior, said. 

Many love the freshness associated with a live tree, not to mention the traditions that come with picking out the perfect evergreen with family members. Selecting the best tree for your home is a fun experience that makes the decorating even more special. The scents that these trees bring into a room are unmatched, even when compared to the most popular candles or diffusers. Real trees also have environmental benefits, as vendors make sure to balance the harvesting and planting rotations. Additionally, live trees are completely biodegradable, while artificial trees take more energy to produce only to end up in a landfill. 

“I like real Christmas trees better, for sure. They are just so much better in every way,” Adam Berwald, sophomore, said. 

Fake trees could potentially be a money “saver” if you play the cards right. While more expensive in the initial purchase, if you use the tree for five or more years, it can prove to be the cheaper option. Though you sacrifice the natural pine fragrances, one would be left without the high maintenance and mess that comes with a live tree and its needles. The unnatural selection might also ease your anxieties, as more modern sales have fire-resistant materials. It might even bring out your creative side with all the personalization options available in a fake tree that you cannot exactly get with a fresh one.  

“Fake trees are easier to maintain and cheaper in the long run. My dog would drink the water and was obsessed with the [real] tree, so we switched to an artificial one a couple years ago,” Caroline Byars, senior, said. 

Whether you choose the nostalgic and traditional evergreen or the modern plastic pine, make sure to enjoy the holiday season and its joy-filled days.