Selecting your Christmas Tree

Christmas trees are a really personal item. The initial choice of type and the way it is decorated, and whether it is decorated the same each year, allow for a combination of the new and the old that is really unique.

When I first started flatting, I didn’t have room for a tree and tended to decorate house plants. The family coped well with the tinsel and gave the lounge a focal point, as well as being a place to stack the presents.

When I moved into my first house, the debate about real v’s fake came to life.

Real trees – Pros

  • They are a renewable resource, and if you want to go that one step further you can grow one in a pot and keep it in the garden, once the Christmas season is over.
  • There is a beautiful pine fragrance that spreads through the house.
  • If you go to a Christmas tree farm, you can have the fun of picking your own tree.

Real trees – Cons

  • Its real easy to pick one that is too big.
  • As the tree dries out, you get lots of pine needles on the floor.
  • There may also be issues with sap leaking from the tree as well.
  • The branches can be difficult to thread Christmas decorations on to – particularly young children.
  • The beautiful fragrance may trigger allergic reactions in some people.

Fake trees – Pros

  • Purchased once and used many times, this can save money over the long term.
  • The branches tend to be easier to hang decorations from
  • They don’t shed pine needles.
  • They come in a variety of colours and types and some even have the Christmas lights (fibre optics) included as part of the tree.

Fake tress – Cons

  • Lets be honest they are fake, and if you want something that looks less fake, it costs more.
  • The more ‘natural looking’ trees can also be more complex to put together, and to dismantle and get back in the box, when Christmas is over.
  • Depending how you store them, they can become dust traps, which is a bit of a hazard, when you add lights.

Alternative trees

These are the trees that really aren’t trees. In childcare centres they can be two-dimensional fuzzy felt tree shapes hung on the wall, or hand shapped cut outs that are stuck to the wall in a tree shape to look like leaves and branches.

Three dimensional ones can be made out of drift wood, books, blocks of wood and wire shapes; limited only by imagination, and even then, magazines that include decorating ideas usually publish brand new ideas in their Christmas editions.

The tree on the left is Terri’s Christmas Tree – It used to model Christmas tree ornaments in a shop in its previous life. Its about 120cm tall and sits on a trunk in the front hall each Christmas, greeting visitors as they come in the front door.



  • The two dimensional types, are ideal for rooms, without a lot of space, and also rooms with lots of children traffic (they can’t be knocked over).
  • They are unusual and therefore conversation starters.
  • They are original, and there is a sense of pride that goes with creating something unique.
  • Great idea if you can’t afford to buy a tree
  • You can throw it away when your finished


  • If it is home made craft, it will take time.
  • Depending on choices, it may not stand being packed and stored over a number of years – paper, two dimensional versions maybe particularly fragile.