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Real or fake – the great Christmas tree debate

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For many of us, the Christmas tree is the focal point of our festive decorations. Once upon a time, a traditional Norway spruce with its classic shape and spiky needles would have been the go-to choice for a natural tree, with a tinsel-wrapped, obviously artificial version as the only other alternative.

But today we have access to a bewildering array of real and fake Christmas trees, so what’s the best option?

Counting the cost

A quality non-drop Christmas tree is quite a pricey option, costing upwards of £40. While top-notch artificial trees can retail for hundreds of pounds, the fact that you can reuse them year after year will save you money in the long run. You can opt for a hyper-realistic tree, a colour-coordinated tree or even an alternative contemporary-style tree. Many come pre-lit and they won’t drop needles all over your lounge, so they may be a better option if you like to decorate good and early.

What’s your footprint?

We’re all more concerned than we used to be about the impact of our carbon footprint. If you opt for an average two-metre artificial tree you should reuse it for at least ten Christmases to make its environmental impact lower than a real tree. A similar-sized natural tree has a lower footprint but only if you recycle it by burning or chipping it.

Keeping it real

There’s nothing like heading out on a frosty day to pick your Christmas tree. Traditional spruce was the de facto choice (pre-central heating) but non-drop varieties like Nordman and Fraser firs are the big sellers now. Whichever variety you pick, give it a little TLC if you want it to stay fresh. Keep it outside in a bucket of water until the last minute, then trim an inch off the bottom of the trunk before decorating. Position it away from fires and radiators and water every day.

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