A Christmas tree is a non-negotiable tradition for many families during the holidays. But even those who look forward to those twinkling lights and strings of popcorn may have a small child or mischievous cat that makes having a tree difficult and sometimes even dangerous. Review the tips from our Dec 16th, 2014 blog post, "Tips to Prevent Christmas Tree Fires," to make sure you have a safe set-up. Now on to the important question...
Which tree is best? Fake vs. Real
Most people who have answered this question for themselves think this choice is a no-brainer. But for those who are still on the fence, there are plenty of pros and cons to consider.
If your priority is minimum cost and maximum convenience, a fake Christmas tree may be the best way to go, especially since fake trees don't look all that "fake" anymore. Purchase a quality artificial Christmas tree once and you will be set for many years.
From another perspective, though, an artificial tree is not so efficient. Most environmentally-minded groups advocate real over fake trees because they benefit local farmers (the great majority of trees nowadays come from farms and not forests), are 100 percent recyclable, and don't contain potentially harmful plastics or chemicals.
It's also a myth that artificial trees are definitively safer. Since most holiday fires are started by overloaded electrical outlets, both types of trees are equally likely to catch fire. Even "flame resistant" artificial trees have been known to ignite at high enough temperatures, and unlike real trees, they emit harmful toxins while burning.
Bottom line: Unless your wallet prevents you from buying a new tree every year, a fresh Christmas tree is the superior option. But if you exercise care and caution when setting up and maintaining your tree, it's possible to have a safe holiday season whatever your choice.