Fake or real tree

Faux Vs Real

Author: Lauren Coleman

Instagram would have us believe there was a whole lot of Christmas tree decorating going on at the end of November, however maybe you’re like the rest of us and wait until the advent calendar doors open before you put your Norway Spruce up. The trees are decorated in the Coleman and Soeno households and while one of us is keeping it real, the other is most definitely faking it.

Team Real {Lisa}

For me, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a real tree.

Rich and I differ hugely in our approaches towards Christmas decorations but this is the one thing we agree on. The tree has to be real. It’s all about coming in your front door to be greeted by the scent of proper pine. There’s nothing like the feel of actual foliage between your fingers when you’re placing those baubles. The presents just wouldn’t be the same if they weren’t ‘decorated’ by a couple of pine needles that have made their way under the sellotape. And I don’t even mind that I’m still hoovering up the odd spiky little leaf in July. It takes me back to Christmas Day and puts a smile on my face.

The one time we faked it was Christmas 2014. We had moved house on 20 December and there was just no point in splashing out on a real tree. So for one year only we broke our self-imposed rule and went faux. I’ve just scrolled back through my iPhone photos to remind myself of this plastic-fantastic sham of a tree. Let me tell you folks, I would’ve been kicked off Instagram if I’d shared a picture of it. Despite all the twiddling by me, it was an exact triangle and all the branches were just too regimented. Nope, give me a perfectly-imperfect real tree any day.

However the best thing about real Christmas trees has got to be the whole experience of picking one out. Rich and I go to the same Christmas tree farm that he’s been going to since he was a little boy. Every year I forget to take my gardening gloves and get prickled half to death, every year we try to limit ourselves to the ‘non-drop’ variety but end up falling in love with a ‘dropper’, and every year I get the fear that it’s not going to fit in the car.  And every year the finished potted and decorated entity makes me feel like a kid again.

Team Faux {Lauren}

I first starting faking it several years ago after a rather unfortuante incident with a real tree. James and I returned home to find the floor under the tree dotted with small unidentified specs and as our eyes scanned across the room we saw more dots. WITH WINGS.
Pulling back the sofa we didn’t need to be David Attenborough to realise we had some form of wildlife infestation in our two bed terrace. They were absolutely everywhere. I threw the tree in the garden, decorations and all, went on a mass cleaning frenzy and vowed never to have a real one again.

I have broken my vow on several occasions. The first year we moved in to our cottage we splashed out on a Blue Spruce when we hosted Christmas. I can’t lie, it looked amazing, the aroma was beautiful but it dropped horrendously and I felt so sad in January when there was a very expensive dead branch cluttering up our tiny garden.

Last year I bought a small potted tree for our snug. As it was tiny I did a thorough inspection to check there were nothing untoward inside. I would like to say I tended to it all summer and it will be coming inside again this year but it’s looking a bit worse for wear. I think I’ll pop some lights on it and leave it outside the front door instead.

Our faux tree is one my parents gave me many moons ago and I love how short and stout it is. I am not a fan of a skinny malink tree. In the past folks have thought it was a real one, although admittedly they’ve probably had a few drinks by then. It’s actually the one we used to have at home when I was growing up so it’s well over twenty years old. At less than five foot It’s absolutely tiny but every year I pop it in a crate or a wicker basket and know I’m not going to be subjected to a fly infestation. You can keep your daily hoovering I’ll just have to rely on the scent of candles and a glass of mulled wine to get that tell-tale Christmas fragrance instead.

Do you fake it too? Or are you more Team Real?

P.S. On a similar festive note, over on Rock My Family today we’re talking about the age at which kids stop believing in Santa. Pop over and join the discussion.

  • winter candle
    White Company Winter Calendar
  • Galvanised Metal Tree Collar
    Galvanised Metal Tree Collar
  • Hammered Mercury Candle
    Anthropologie Hammered Mercury Candle
  • Wilko Hessian Tree Skirt
    Wilko Hessian Tree Skirt
  • Scenticles
    Scenticles Fir Sticks
  • Grey Star Tree Skirt
    The Range Grey Star Tree Skirt
  • John Lewis Lima Llama Wicker Tree Skirt
    John Lewis Lima Llama Wicker Tree Skirt

Image by WE ARE // THE CLARKES from Tamsin’s Home Tour.

Lauren likes Paris, Prosecco and Paint Charts
Follow Lauren on instagram @mrslaurencoleman
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35 thoughts on “Faux Vs Real

  1. Definitely has to be real, mainly for the smell and the fact that where we get ours from, Leigh Sinton Christmas Tree Farm in Worcestershire, we also pick up lots of left-over branches, that they’ve cut off the base of other trees, so I can decorate the whole house with them, making wreaths etc. They never shed, although we do have a container that allows us to keep it well watered and definitely never have had an insect infestation, how awful. I got my Christmas tree skirt from here, it is quite large but underneath all the busy branches, it’s perfect http://www.longacres.co.uk/seasonal/christmas/christmas-tree-skirts-and-stands/longacres-wicker-christmas-tree-skirt-white-wash/

    1. Fab skirt Eileen!
      Left over branches are such a lovely way to decorate and a great way to use the whole tree x

  2. Im a faker and used to be very anti fake but decided when we got a puppy it might be a good idea to get one of those stick branches, also our house was quite small and it took up a lot less floir space.
    This year we upgraded to this https://www.coxandcox.co.uk/blue-mountain-spruce-christmas-tree and im so happy with it it looks gorgeous. The pros for me on fake are I dont have to spend 2 hours in the freezing cold asking my husband to hold each one up whilst he says “this one will do” at every single one. My decorations sit perfectly on it without resting on the branch below. Lights are built in so no faffing around making sure they work and positioned perfectly, plus reducing demand for a tree to be cut down so thus saving the environment 😁

    1. Excellent upgrade Emma!
      I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to lights – I have enough for a tree double the size and I should have mentioned that’s one of my favourite things about faking it – even distribution of lights!
      I think I need to get out more.

  3. Real all the way. I grew up with real Christmas trees, my parents even had them through the years they had a geriatric dog and two rampaging toddlers. So for me I will never go fake.
    I love not only the smell and look of them, but the whole experience of going out and picking the perfect one. There is nothing magical about pulling it out of the loft (sorry!).
    I can see why a fly infestation like that would put you off Lauren, I’ve never ever had that problem. We also only buy Nordmanns and don’t really have any problems with needle drop, you just have to keep them well watered. Xx

    1. You are so right Alex – there is nothing magical about pulling them out of the loft. I did get mine about midnight on Friday though after I came back from a night out which was I wouldn’t have been able to do with a real one!

  4. Team Real. And despite the fact we’re moving the week before Christmas we’ve already been and ordered it from the man down the road who will cut it and deliver the morning we move. I find having it from a proper tree farm avoids any shedding and no need for an expensive ‘non dropper’ either – just buy a fresh tree and keep it topped up with water. Also don’t place next to a radiator.

    Plus it’s so fun going to pick it in the field and having hot chocolate around a smokey fire afterwards. Add a freebie Joules scarf and bright red lipstick and my life is actually Instagram (except lols at the idea of me owning an actual lipstick).

    Current debate here is to tinsel or not. My husband says yes, I say I’d rather eat the tree.

    1. Im anti tinsel but a good comprimise is angel hair my mum used to put it on hers i think they discontinued it but brought it back not made out of fiber glass lol. Makes the lights look all glowy x

      1. Side question but tree related. Your wire coffee table near said tree in IG post. Could you paint the legs do you think?

    2. Hahaha – exact same debate in my house last night. Final decision was not…,..all the important decisions eh 😉

  5. 🎄🎄🎄

    Always real for me too, we have high ceilings so it’s usually a 7/8 footer too! I’ve never had an issue with needles dropping (bar the odd one) and have thankfully never had an insect infestation. I think that would make me switch to plastic pretty quickly!

  6. Getting my first ever tree this year and I’m going real. I don’t really have the storage space to keep a fake one even if I wanted one. My mum has beautiful fake ones but I think you have to pay for a top quality one. As I’m starting from scratch, any advice on where to get the best budget baubles? I have already got a couple of packs from Sainsbury’s but reckon I need loads more. Plus is it worth spending more on lights, or are supermarket ones fine?

    1. I’ve always really rated Sainsbury’s decorations. I say get some more sainbos ones and then a few special ones to dot inbetween. x

    2. Agreed. Primark also do some OK non sheeny shiny baubles if you want silver or gold. Easier to find them cheaper.

      Sales are best for premium decorations so make do this year (you could always go and pick fir cones and spray paint them for added cheapness) and then sale shop for next year.

      Providing you don’t get the ones I’ve already earmarked.

      1. Hi Rebecca, ooh I didn’t think to look in Primark, I will do! I mostly want gold with a touch of white and red. Good idea to buy in the sales too

  7. Real, real, real!!! I was with my husband a good few years before I trusted him with the ‘choosing of the tree’……nothing worse than a sparse skinny one, lol! I LOVE decorating it and although mine is not Instagram worthy, I still get very picky about bauble placement and balancing up the sizes around the tree. So basically – control freak!
    We put ours up yesterday and this morning my house smells like a forest, absolutely adore it. Makes me happy 🙂

  8. Bucking the trend, but fake all the way! Got a real tree my first year of living in London 10+ years ago, lovely smell but it dropped horribly.

    I got an expensive (£150) fake tree six years ago from John Lewis when we moved into our home. We have a huge loft which makes storage easy and it looks great. As for missing the smell, that’s why I have a White Company Winter scented candle!

  9. REAL!!! Definitely can’t beat the smell of a real tree. We were only going to have a small (fake) one for my LO this year, which we duly bought and it is very good for her – pre-lit and battery powered, very safe for a toddler. However, I was so sad taking out all the Christmas decorations and knowing they weren’t going to go on a tree this year. So we hot-footed it to Homebase trying to find one of the £12 trees, which had of course sold out in milliseconds! (Anyone who gets one I’m hugely jealous – well done!!! Utter bargain for a 6ft non-drop tree). But I did persuade my husband that we needed one anyway 🙂 so we put it up last night and I am so happy! We also cut off the really low branches and I use these to make our wreath along with some foliage. I just hate the regularity of the fake trees, nothing like a couple of sparse gaps and a couple of ridiculously bushy branches on the real ones! But I do hate the waste, having to throw out the tree afterwards is rather heartbreaking. There are some companies that dig them up roots and all and you can return afterwards, but I’m slightly skeptical whether the trees actually survive central heating for a few weeks or not. If anyone has done this let me know how you got on!

    1. I don’t know how they manage to sell them for £12! I saw them a few weeks ago in mine but that’s a long time for a cut tree to last!

    2. We have two ‘ex’ Christmas trees from our childhood in my Mums garden….they are literally as tall as her house now and got so big the third had to be chopped down….!

  10. I have dabbled in both fake and real and I much prefer real. More for the fact that they just look so beautiful and going to a Christmas Tree Farm and picking one is just such a lovely experience/tradition. Now I am “team real” I don’t think I could go back to fake xxx

    1. I think that’s one thing I definitely miss Sarah – the experience of choosing the tree. Yesterday we were at our local garden centre eyeing all the real ones up! The sight of someone with a tree over their shoulder is a lovely one!

  11. I love love love real trees, but this year we have gone fake… we have a bay window where the tree MUST go (what’s the point in a bay otherwise?!) but the radiator is also in the bay, so a real tree isn’t possible (we have scorched one in the past!). I am gutted, but I have to admit that I was pretty happy to get a pre-lit one and avoid the lights tango! My boyfriend always jokes about how much time I spent evening up the lights 😂

  12. We always had a real tree when I was a kid – the needles dropped a couple of times, but that was usually when my mum got the tree from somewhere else rather than the farm shop. However, we never put the tree up until 22nd December so it always lasted over Christmas Day and even if the needles did drop, it still lasted till 5th Jan, even with the heating on and the fire on each night!

    However, we have a little fake one in our flat – a real tree is just impractical given the space. But this year, we have no tree as the fake one was on its last legs last year so we chucked it and this year we are too preoccupied with a potential house move… but next year, I’m adamant we get a real one – can’t wait!

  13. Real is nice and for years I had one. My conscience won’t allow it now as it’s such a huge waste although I have heard of places where you return the tree and it is replanted- such a great idea but nothing local to me. So for now I fake it x

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