December 5, 2008


Our Christmas Tree

I'm going to let you in on a secret. For many years we have had an artificial Christmas tree. I know there are strong feelings on both sides of the real vs. artificial tree debate. I can't say I have strong feelings, and I don't do it to save the trees. I do like using an artificial tree, though. Initially, we bought a fake tree to save money. Trees were very expensive at the time and we thought it was wiser to put money into a tree that could be used for many years.

We bought the tree at an after Christmas sale. Trying to get the best tree we could for the money we wanted to spend, we bought one that was very realistic looking. It was full and beautiful. One piece of information they list with the trees is how many tips the tree has. That means how many little branch tips there are. We bought a tree with 5,000 tips. It had way more than most of the other trees. That was why it looked so nice. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that those 5,000 tips had to be shaped when you set up the tree. Yes, 5,000 little fake branch pieces to straighten up and spread out.

Every year it took a long time to set up that tree. Not only did I have to shape the 5,000 tips, but each branch had to be put into the trunk. We had to look at the directions every year. The branches were color coded and had to be put on in the correct order. I never timed it, but I know it took at least 2 hours just to set up the tree. At least it did look really beautiful. I don't remember how many years we had it, but we got our money's worth out of those 5,000 tips.

Last year we passed that tree on to a friend and bought a new one. I'm especially happy with the new one. It has a reasonable 1,500 tips and still looks great. It also comes in three pieces and has lights on it! I timed the set up. It took me 30 minutes to get the box down from the attic (with help) and get it set up (by myself) with lights on and ready for ornaments. Wow! It looks great, too. It's about a foot shorter than our old one, but for having a lot less tips, it still looks nice and full and beautiful.

We bought that tree before Christmas last year at WalMart. I don't remember what we paid. The regular price was $200, but I know it was significantly discounted. We will probably break even after three years of use.

I know there's a lot of fun in picking out or cutting down a real tree. We have done it a few times over the years just so the kids have that experience. Having done it both ways, though, I'm happy with the artificial. Besides, I always seem to have sinus problems when we get a real tree.

For more frugal ideas check out Frugal Fridays at Biblical Womanhood.


I too don't have strong feelings either way, it is whatever is right for your family. I just did a post on the same thing this morning
Although we do the real tree thing it is a pain in the hiney.
I grew up with a real tree and just love them (eventually would like to have them again), but when my husband and I married a couple years ago we thought it best not to have a real tree in a rental. We are gone for most of the holidays visiting family anyway, so we can't really enjoy a real tree. For now we have a 5 ft. $20 tree from Dollar General. It might not be the best looking, but I love it still with all the lights and decor. When our kids are older, we might get back into the tradition of cutting our own tree. It was something I always really enjoyed.
I just stumbled upon your blog! The problem with artificial trees is that they contain lead and are of course not biodegradable. We would always buy a real tree, since they at least put oxygen into the air while they are being grown, but my daughter has allergies. So this year, we found a perfect alternative. A cardboard christmas tree:

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