The Christmas Tree Conundrum: Real or Fake?
The kind of tree that adorns a person’s home during the holidays can provoke debate as much as Coke vs. Pepsi or Chevy vs. Ford.
When it comes to Christmas trees, do you choose live or artificial? Do you cut your own at a local tree farm, or do you prefer the convenience of a tree bought at a local grocery store that won’t shed its needles, doesn’t need water and already has lights?
Both live and artificial trees have their advantages and disadvantages, and we here at Safeco certainly aren’t going to try to convince you that one is “right.” But in the spirit of giving, we thought we’d provide some information to help you make the best decision for you and your family.
According to the North Carolina Consumers Council, artificial trees pose fewer safety concerns than live trees, but that’s not to say they don’t have risks of their own. Even fake trees can catch fire when sockets are overloaded with Christmas lights, and it only takes seconds for any tree to become completely engulfed in flames. And yes, flame-resistant artificial trees will eventually succumb to a fire.
When using a pre-lit tree, always follow instructions, and place the tree in an open area where a fire won’t quickly spread to furniture or other things in close proximity.
The benefits of artificial trees, of course, are well-known. They’re convenient and often less messy than real trees. You can re-use them year after year, saving money and saving the environment. And there’s no need to spend time searching for the perfect tree, since it’s usually easy to adjust the “branches” to your liking.
OK, so you want the real deal. That’s great! But you’re going to have to take a little more care than you would with an artificial tree. First of all, pick a tree that’s in good shape. If needles come off easily when you give it a shake or a quick pull on a branch, find another one.
When you get it home, cut off the bottom two inches of its trunk, and fill the tree stand with water regularly. This is the best way to prevent a fire. Remember not to overload it with lights and decorations. And the longer you keep your tree up, the drier— and the more dangerous – it will become.
Dispose of your tree properly as well. Don’t burn it or put it in your fireplace, as a burning Christmas tree can be harder to control than other types of fires.
If you’re a fan of real trees, you probably don’t need us to tell you the benefits. Just take in that smell and enjoy the season!
No matter what tree you choose, the important thing is to keep safety in mind as well. If you do that, your holiday enjoyment will be real, even if your tree isn’t!