Apartment Communities

Artificial vs. Real Christmas Tree

Tips for Picking the Right Christmas Tree

With the holidays upon us, you may want to celebrate the season with a Christmas tree, or Festivus tree, or (name the occasion) tree. This begs the question … real or artificial? Before weighing in, you may want to check your lease or ask your property manager. Because live Christmas trees are considered a fire hazard, they may not be allowed in apartment buildings. Likewise, some municipalities may prohibit live trees (like they do grills) from multi-family dwellings. But, if you have a choice, here are some of the pros and cons of live versus artificial Christmas trees.

  1. Ambiance. There’s really nothing that can compare to a nice soft, green Douglas fir or white pine conifer. Then there’s the smell and that tarry brown sap around the cut mark. It’s also a holiday tradition for many families to make an annual pilgrimage to the Christmas tree farm or a corner parking lot to pick out THE tree. Why not carry on that tradition yourself?It’s not quite the same to go online or to the local hobby or home improvement store to peruse the artificial trees. But, you can find some beautiful artificial trees that mimic their natural counterparts, like a blue spruce or Scotch pine. They have the same soft needles and colors; all are pre-lit (bonus) and some are flocked to look like the tips were kissed with freshly fallen snow. To go with the artificial tree, pick up some pine-scented candles or wax melts.
  1. Decorating and care. It’s a TV/movie trope to watch a befuddled father untangling miles of lights to hang on the fresh Christmas tree (think Clark Griswold!) but it’s doable, especially with LED lights. One advantage of artificial trees is that they are already pre-lit. Artificial trees need assembly and the tips need to be fluffed out to look realistic, but, they don’t shed as badly as real trees do. Nor do you have to saw the tree’s base or keep turning it around to fit in the stand. Another advantage to artificial trees is that they don’t need to be watered. You need to keep a close eye on a live tree to make sure it doesn’t dry out. That’s when it moves into fire hazard territory. (NOTE: Pets love to nibble on both types of Christmas tree needles, and cats will climb a tree, real or not, so you need to watch out for that.)
  2. Allergens. Some people are highly allergic to the terpenes in certain conifers. Terpenes are the source of the pine scent and can cause symptoms like watery eyes, runny nose, and general misery. The good news is that you can find hypoallergenic varieties of live Christmas trees. Likewise, some people are sensitive to the chemicals in artificial trees. One disadvantage to live trees is that you need to keep the needles swept up and the longer the tree is up, the more it will shed. The needles don’t necessarily contribute to allergies; they are just a pain to keep on top of.
  3. Disposal. There are many methods of disposing of live Christmas trees. Before you are tempted to toss it in your apartment complex dumpster, consider putting it to good use. In some cities, you can put your Christmas tree on the curb and it will be picked up for mulching or composting to be used in municipal gardens and parks. You can also take the tree to a park or lake where it may be put in the water for a fish habitat or to curtail erosion. Artificial trees can be put in the trash, but a better idea is to donate them. If the tree is gently used, donate it to charity or take it to a thrift store.

There are many advantages and disadvantages of each type of Christmas tree. What it boils down to is your personal preference. Whichever one you choose, make it festive and make it bright and just have fun!


At Vision Communities, we want you to make your apartment your home, and what better way than to deck your halls this holiday season. If you are looking for a new apartment, be sure to put a VC community on your list to tour. We have floor plans for you to view virtually or in person. Our spacious, studio, 1 bedroom2 bedroom, and 3 bedroom apartment layouts provide cozy space. Check out our luxurious apartment floorplans in one of our communities and enjoy life at the VC. 

Schedule a tour today and see why Vision Communities is a great place to live.