All the Reasons that You Should Buy a Real Christmas Tree & How to Care for It

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I am going to go out on a “limb” and make the assumption that you’re thinking about buying a real Christmas tree. If so, here are all the reasons you should buy a real Christmas tree and how to care for it.

Reasons that real Christmas Trees are better and all the reasons to buy one

Yes, they cost more money, are a hassle to clean up after and aren’t easy to transport. But, they are living and that’s part of what makes them special.

OK, I know that I’m biased. But, allow me to write an opinion piece here about why you should buy a real Christmas tree. First a little context. I’m a mom with school aged kids. In my family we’re really BIG about building Christmas traditions. If this doesn’t describe your family, that’s completely OK.

Buying a real Christmas tree is just one of our family Christmas traditions that we do ever year. The kids love making the annual pilgrimage to pick out the perfect tree. We pack some hot chocolate, some of our favorite holiday sweet treats and then we get on the road.

While at the Christmas tree lot we ask an unexpecting friendly stranger to snap our family picture for our photo archives. It’s so much fun and the kids look forward to the tradition every year.

So without further delay, here are all the reasons to buy a real Christmas tree and how to care for it.

Reasons to Buy a Real Christmas Tree

According to reports, Americans, bought more than 22 million living Christmas trees last year.

Now if getting a real Christmas tree is not in your budget, I get that. Don’t go breaking the back at my expense.

But, if you’re still on the fence about whether to get a real or fake Christmas tree, hang out with me a second. I’m going to hash out all the reasons that real Christmas trees rock and obviously why you should get one.

They Smell Good

If you have gotten a real Christmas tree then you know what I’m talking about. The scent of the right tree just enlivens your home and is a beautiful sign of the holiday season. And no, you can’t get that same scent from aisle 9 at Target. It’s just not the same.

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The Trans-Siberian Christmas album is my favorite. 

It’s a Great Excuse for a New Family Tradition

Every year, my family and I go out and pick the “perfect for us” Christmas tree. That is definitely our tradition. The kids look forward to bracing the chilly temperatures to help make the selection. Truth be told, I’m not sure what we will do once the kids are grown and gone. But these “LIVE tree picking years” have sweet moments that I continue to treasure.

It Teaches Kids About Biology and Living Things

If your little people have never had the experience of a real tree then they won’t know where those trees come from. It’s similar to eating fresh fruits and vegetables. How is someone supposed to know that fruits and vegetables come from the earth if, they’ve never seen it for themselves and/or have only eaten produce from a can. Buy a real Christmas tree because it’s something that your family will look forward to every year.

No Off Gassing

Artificial trees especially older ones are brimming with chemicals like PVC plastics that release dioxins over time. Last time I checked, dioxin was a toxic chemical linked with everything from skin rashes to cancer.

Buying from Local Tree Farms Supports American Businesses

Most artificial trees in the US (about 85% of them) come from China. On the other hand, buying a real Christmas tree supporters American tree farms and as a result American families.

No Storage No Problem

Since real Christmas trees get replaced every year, there is no need to find room for storage of that tree.

It’s Better for the Environment

After being discarded, fake Christmas trees can stay in the landfill indefinitely. Living trees on the latter, can be recycled back just like crops can. Now that’s something to think about.

Now that you know all the reasons that you should buy a real Christmas tree. Here are some things that you need to do to take care of it.

How to Take Care of a Real Christmas Tree

  • Cut the Tree: Have the base of the tree cut before you bring it home. That way, the real Christmas tree will be able to absorb water.
  • Water the Christmas Tree: Water the Christmas tree, but not just using any water though. Your Christmas Tree water should consist of a mix of bleach, corn syrup and of course, water. Specifically, make a mixture of 3 tablespoons of bleach and 1 cup of light corn syrup to one gallon of water. This will cut down bacterial growth, while preventing needle fall.
  • Check Water Everyday: Keeping the Christmas tree moist will limit the loss of pine needles, which in turn will make clean up less messy. A dry tree is a fire hazard.
  • Keep Away From Heat: If you’d like your real Christmas tree to last longer, and you probably want it to, keep it away from sources of heat and air drafts. This includes keeping it away from fire places and air vents. They dry the tree out!
  • Douglas Fir trees are also a good option for those that suffer from allergies.
  • Make Clean Up Easy: Once Christmas is over, make clean up a breeze with these Christmas Tree Removal Bags. Things can get messy during tree removal and these bags make the process so much easier.

    Note About: Christmas Tree Syndrome:

    If you or someone in your family suffers from indoor allergies, follow these tips:
  • Add a little bleach: Adding a few tablespoons of bleach to 1 gallon of water is good idea when it comes to keeping mold spores down. See tip above about “Water the Christmas Tree Above”
  • Try a Nordman Fir tree. They are excellent for allergy sufferers because of their lack of fragrance. You should note that they’re not the best option for supporting heavy ornaments.
  • Rinse it: Before you bring the live Christmas tree in the house, rinse it well and allow it to sit in the sun for a minimum of 24 hours. (This will help remove any mold spores).
  • Air Purifier: Run an air purifier in your living area, near the tree to capture any spores.

Tree Expert from Trees.com (Scott Diffenderfer) Added these Tips

What should people look for when buying a real Christmas tree?

The Fresher the better! It’s important to be sure your tree is fresh-cut. If possible, go to a “cut your own” Christmas tree farm. If you get a tree delivered or shipped to your home, try to find out if it’s sent as soon as it’s cut. You do not want a tree that’s been cut 2 or 3 weeks before you buy it. Fresh cut trees will last longer and provide an aroma that adds to your Christmas pleasure too.

What kind of tree should I buy?

There is a top 10 list for everything and Christmas trees are no exception. Short, stout needles and sturdy branches are perfect when you are hanging decorations. Trees such as balsam fir, Douglas fir, Fraser fir, white spruce, Norway spruce, and Scots pine are tried and true selections. If you prefer a softer-needled tree, the white pine is a good choice but keep in mind this is a softer tree and the needles are not as sturdy as those previously mentioned, as the limbs tend to bend or “weep” when weighted down. Something else to note – White pine is not as aromatic as the other trees.

What other tips do you have for tree care?

The single most important consideration for the care and longevity of your tree is water. The second and third most important tips are water, too! When you get your tree home, cut about ½” of the trunk off and get it in the stand as soon as possible. Keeping the vascular system of the tree open is the only way water will get into the tree, and if you let the water dry up, these bundles will close, and the water will stop moving into the tree. Check the tree daily by bending a needle or two, if the needle is flexible and moves without breaking all is well, if the needle snaps when you bend it, the tree has dried out. This means you could have a significant fire hazard, not to mention a mess when you take the tree down. Lights can add to the problem of drying due to the heat they emit, but the newer LED lights reduce this issue. LED’s also reduce fire hazard.

What is the best way to dispose of a tree?

Hopefully, you can dispose of your tree by recycling. Many communities set aside a day for this and have a tree chipper available that will turn the trees into woodchip mulch. If not and you burn wood, use the tree as kindling and fuel. Some other ideas include using the tree as a bird sanctuary or to create a shelter for fish. These ideas are not always practical but if you have a location where this is permitted then it may be worth considering.

If you purchase a live tree (usually it comes as ball and burlap – B&B, or in a container) you can plant your tree after the holidays are over. If you decide to take this route, its always wise to consider the temperature and site when you will plant the tree. Be sure the tree is acclimated to the temperature it will be planted in, if you live in colder climates, it is best to hold the tree until spring and then plant (this can be done by placing the tree in the garage during the dormant season). Keep in mind it will still be necessary to water the tree occasionally during this period.

Original 12/4/17 Updated: 11/2019 Updated 12/14/2022, Updated for Content: 12/7/2023

Need a snack while you’re enjoying that tree? Try these Christmas muffins They’re so good.

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