The thing is, you probably already have a pretty firm opinion about this. Much like Marmite, there’s generally a clear divide between those who go for faux and those who would never be without real.
The greatest advantage of life-like trees is that they are, of course, less messy. With no dropping needles and no need to water, this is a good option if you’re not inclined to sweep up and top up every day or if you have crawling little ones to worry about. Life-like trees should be viewed as an investment though. A good one (and it is well worth getting a good one with realistically textured branches and a not completely perfect shape that evokes nature) will set you back more than a real tree, but you should have it for many, many more years.
A word of warning: if you’ve settled on life-like, we wouldn’t recommend a pre-lit tree. Should the lights stop working, you’ll need to throw out the whole thing.
Those who sit in the real tree camp will tell you a large part of the appeal is the scent. There’s nothing like the fragrance of the tree – especially when you come downstairs in the morning – to remind you of childhood Christmases. Real trees also have a great deal of character, each an individual personality. And then there’s the thrill of the hunt, which can become a yearly family tradition.
As for the environmental credentials of real and life-like trees, it’s largely a case of six and two threes. The longevity of a life-like tree should offset the footprint of production and, eventually, recycling. While a real tree, when responsibly sourced, will appeal to those concerned about reducing plastics and can be picked up by local councils after Christmas for reusing as mulch.