Real tree Vs artificial tree? Is it a status symbol?
CatsWhiskers1976 · 07/12/2020 11:26
Just putting up our artificial tree and having some thoughts.
At work the other day we got to discussing Christmas trees, and the old real vs artificial debate. It seemed to me that there was a bit of 'snobbery' against those who had artificial trees (maybe that's just where I work!). There were those who said artificial trees were just TERRIBLE for the environment. Given that most people I know have had their tree for many years (our family one was about 40 years old before it was replaced) is this really true? Cutting down live trees is okay for the environment? I have never had a real tree, growing up I didn't know anyone who had a real tree and in our circles it was usually only the slightly more well off people who ever had real trees. Apologies if this offends anyone, it was just my experience as a child growing up in working class Scotland.
Some people at work looked horrified at the thought of having a 'plastic' tree (mind, they were going off to cut the perfect one down on their 'estate').
So what do you think? Real Vs artificial? I spent a fair bit a few years ago to get a really nice realistic looking artificial tree which I hope will last years. At the time we had cats and I was afraid they would get hurt/never leave the real tree alone so I have stuck with artificial.
What does everyone else have? Do you judge people with fake trees?
YellowandGreenToBeSeen · 07/12/2020 11:28
Dunno. Solidly middle class family. Always always had and have a real tree. No tinsel, white lights, no single colour - miss mash of baubles collected over the years. I really don’t like the trend for ‘themed’ trees.
WaterOffADucksCrack · 07/12/2020 11:30
Working class, always had a real tree.
GreyishDays · 07/12/2020 11:30
The real trees are grown to be cut down, like other timber. So I don’t think they’re bad from that point of view.
I think it’s a class thing, yes. Rude for people to sneer at your choice though.
CounsellorTroi · 07/12/2020 11:33
Always had a real tree, just replaced one that was 30 years old. But I don’t line themed trees or tinsel either. I buy things for the tree when travelling so it’s full of memories.
CounsellorTroi · 07/12/2020 11:34
Sorry artificial not real.
lanthanum · 07/12/2020 11:34
I'm allergic to real trees. DH still took a bit of persuading that artificial was the way to go. I'm not convinced one plastic tree is so much worse than twenty/thirty real ones.
Sparklingbrook · 07/12/2020 11:35
I have had the same artificial tree for about ten years now. It fits a specific spot, a real tree would be too wide and bushy for that spot, but I would be quite happy not bothering with a tree at all.
Plonque · 07/12/2020 11:36
I wouldn't give any thought to someone's social or financial status in regards to what tree they have. Seems utterly bonkers.
I have an artificial tree, a good looking dupe that I researched heavily before I bought it several years ago. I think it was £179 and this is it's 7th year.
I have artificial because I like to put it up early and without the faff of having to balance it in/on the car or waiting for my husband's mate to get around to it in his van.
helpmum2003 · 07/12/2020 11:37
Middle class always had a real tree. I think there is a lot of snobbery.
I love the smell of a real tree.
Apparently an artificial tree has to be used for 10 years before it is better for the environment than real ones and most people I know with artificial change them more frequently.
There is a lot of waste at Christmas, not just trees of both types, and I do try to reduce that - don't change decorations each year or anything like that. Have not been successful with potted Xmas trees.
winterbabythistime · 07/12/2020 11:37
We get a real tree, I love the act of going to choose it as a family every year and love the smell. I doubt anyone walking past the house knows what kind we have so can't really be a status symbol.
I think it's just personal preference, I don't really care what kind anyone else has in their house.
BashfulClam · 07/12/2020 11:37
Always artificial. Last for years, is the perfect size and no having to get it specially picked up. Plus no needles dropping on the carpet.
FromABook · 07/12/2020 11:37
@CounsellorTroi I was about to ask for tips! We have a living tree in a pot (it's about 3ft tall now), that is in its 2nd year with us, and we just dragged it back into the house. I thought you meant you'd kept one going for 30 years! That would've been impressive indeed!
cologne4711 · 07/12/2020 11:38
I have an artificial tree that fits my house. Real trees can be a very weird shape and definitely too big. I guess they are a status symbol in that you need a large enough room to accommodate them. I am not sure a plastic tree is so awful if you use it year after year rather cutting a real one down every year.
The only problem with mine is that it looks like the killer Christmas tree from the Dr Who episode The Christmas Invasion
verticality · 07/12/2020 11:39
I looked into this a few years ago and if you use a plastic tree for a very long time, it can be more eco-friendly than transporting a live one every year.
I do think there is a middle class preference for live trees in aesthetic terms. It's one of a whole panoply of things that aren't hard-and-fast laws, but class-based tendencies in taste (Farrow and Ball would be another one!)
Comefromaway · 07/12/2020 11:39
I've got both!
A real tree in a pot by my front door and an artificial one in th eiving room. The dog tends to get needles in his paws if we have a real one inside.
JanetSnakeholeMacklin · 07/12/2020 11:41
I grew up in a single parent household, on benefits and in poverty. We always had a real tree. IIRC it used to cost £5-£10.
I like having a real tree now because it reminds me of real magical Christmas and I love the smell, but we got an artificial tree when our youngest was in his "into everything" stage and we used it again when our dog was a pup, and then again this year when we wanted to put the tree up early because everyone else was
(I now use skandinavisk skog for the Xmas tree smell instead)
Daddyatethemincepies · 07/12/2020 11:41
Yes I agree that real vs artificial Christmas tree is very much a snobbery thing. I come from a middle class family and growing up we always had a real Christmas tree. My parents definitely made comments to suggest that middle class families has real xmas trees. Since leaving home I've always had a real tree. But for the last few Xmas's the trees we've bought have been really poor and either infested with insects or drooping within a week or getting it despite watering regularly. So last year we bought an artificial tree and I'm so happy with it.
I think the snobbery part probably comes from the fact that artificial trees in the past were basically tinsel wrapped around wire, so looked crap. Whereas these days you can buy much more realistic ones.
AndcalloffChristmas · 07/12/2020 11:43
I think there is a general assumption of real tree = middle class or richer, and artificial =working class. However, just from this thread it’s obvious that like most stereotypes it’s not correct!
We have a real tree but mainly because I like it - I like going to get it, the ceremony of the whole thing, plus the smell.
I would honestly just do what you prefer Op.
FromABook · 07/12/2020 11:43
This is actually interesting. Often I see it said that the more working class you are, the less likely you are to have a large sum of money to invest in a product that will last, which is why people can't stock pile etc in preparation for covid isolation or Brexit or whatever.
I'm not sure what class I fit into (not British, so don't really get where the lines are drawn), but my parents were well off, but we're definitely not. Anyway, it's def more affordable for us to buy a real tree as a one off, for £20, than to drop £150+ on a fake. Even though over the years we'd spend more when added up. We just don't have the money for a fake.
Thankfully, see post above, my DPs work were (weirdly) giving out small living trees last year, so we are going to try to keep that alive in a pot for a few years.
So from a rich vs poor point of view, I'd say rich people can afford a fake tree... I certainly can't!
LaceyBetty · 07/12/2020 11:43
I have real, but wouldn't sneer at someone with artificial. I have no space in the house to store an artificial tree for the rest of the year.
Frazzled2207 · 07/12/2020 11:46
Genuinely don’t think it’s not a class thing, at least in my circle.
Nothing wrong With a fake tree as long as you hang onto it for a while. New fake tree every year would be horrendous. Ours is 11ish yo and no plans to replace soon.
I can’t get my head round killing a perfectly happy tree to look after it for a fortnight before ditching. That said I know many (not all!) Christmas tree farms are managed sustainably and as long as it’s deposed of as green waste I think that’s ok.
I lived in Poland where the city council seemed to organise a real tree for every household. On a certain day in December everyone queued up (for hours). Don’t think plastic trees were a thing there, at least not in homes. A nice idea lf done sustainably.
Backbee · 07/12/2020 11:46
We always had an artificial one growing up as couldn't afford a real one every year (and it lasted over 20 years!). I can't be arsed with a real one, so although me and DH could afford to, we just have a fake one and works for us. I have found some people quite snobby about it too.
AndcalloffChristmas · 07/12/2020 11:46
You’d have to be fairly well off and have a big house to afford and have space for this one!
Sparklingbrook · 07/12/2020 11:46
We had a few real trees before I got the artificial one. Going to get it was a PITA as was getting it into the car. Them much faff after Christmas getting rid of it without the needles going everywhere. It didn't seem any better while up either really.
HitthatroadJack · 07/12/2020 11:48
I do judge parents who have trees that children are not allowed to decorate because they would spoil the "look" they are after. I find that awful, and that's definitively a show-off thing from people with a massive chip on their shoulder.
You an always tidy up a bit once the kids are in bed, but really, what makes a kid happy?
No one really cares about your tree, at worst the most "elaborate" affairs tend to get the most snigger,
Apart from that, who cares. I prefer real trees, never had an artificial one and you can buy any size you like.
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