Artificial or Real? You Decide
Agreed, whether it’s fir, spruce or pine there is nothing like the smell of a fresh cut Christmas tree. Of course, there are some disadvantages that come with the real tree. You’ll need to clean up the thousands of needles that will fall on your floor; and, you’ll need to find the right size stand and make sure you keep the tree watered. If you are already thinking about the negatives associated with having a real Christmas tree this year, it might be time to abandon the real-deal fir, pine, or spruce and buy an artificial Christmas tree.
Selecting an artificial Christmas tree can be tricky, especially for first-time purchasers.
Here are some tips that can help you in choosing an artificial Christmas tree that will look good and last years.
How realistic-looking would you like your artificial tree to look? If you’re in the market for realism, buy a tree labeled “true needle” or “real feel.” You’ll want to focus on trees made from PE (polyethylene), which uses an injection mold process for the most realistic results, but also comes with higher prices. Those made with PVC (polyvinyl chloride) tend to be the least expensive, but also the least realistic. Less expensive, but still realistic trees have a mix of high-quality PVC needles and PE needles.
Select artificial trees with hinged branches. Trees come with two types of branches: hooked or hinged. Hooked branches must be attached individually to assigned spots on the central pole. Hinged branches are permanently affixed and thus easier to set up and take down.
The right stand matters. If you’re going to purchase a quality tree made to last, don’t put it in a flimsy stand that will surely fall apart. Plastic bases should be avoided because they can easily bend or break. A steel base is preferred because it supports the weight of the artificial Christmas tree and is designed to withstand some movement without falling over. Artificial trees usually come with built-in stands, so be sure to choose a tree that includes a sturdy metal stand.
One big advantage of artificial trees is that they can come pre-lighted. Select a tree that comes with bulbs that have no-twist sockets and that’s labeled “continuous-on lights” or “with burn-out protection.” If one blub goes out, all the others stay on. A good rule of thumb is 100 lights for every foot-and-a-half of tree. However, if you love lights, you may want to double or even triple that amount.
You’ll be using this tree for a long time. Unlike living trees, artificial Christmas trees are an investment. A high-quality Christmas tree can easily last for more than 20 years. This means that spending a few extra dollars can end up saving you money in the long run.