HomeFamilyReal or fake.

Real or fake.

Remember how I vented about my frustrations with retail stores jumping the gun on Christmas 2011? Costco had decorations up before Halloween. It was craziness and I wanted no part of it. But now, Thanksgiving has past, and it is completely appropriate to go bananas for Christmas time.

Being out-of-town the last two weeks put a severe damper on our Christmas spirit. We weren’t able to get our decorations out of storage until last week, and since we were both gone last weekend, we had no Christmas tree either. That all changed last night.

They say opposites attract, and that couldn’t be more true for the Ninja household. Even when it comes to something as simple as picking a Christmas tree, we weren’t seeing eye-to-eye. Girl Ninja wanted a real tree. I wanted a fake one.

Needless to say Girl Ninja won that battle and we are now the proud owners of a beautiful six-foot Noble fir named Herbert (Girl Ninja thinks it should be named Nina). While I would prefer to not have to deal with the hassle of buying a real Christmas tree; you know, things like: finding a tree lot, deciding which tree to get, buying a stand, hoping the tree fits in the stand you bought, praying the thing doesn’t sit at a 45 degree angle, constantly vacuuming up the needles that fall off, and remembering to water the dang thing, I can’t say no to the wifey.

Man, trees are almost as high maintenance as pets, or kids.

For me it was purely a financial decision. Last year we paid $50 for a real tree, this year we paid $46. When I was in Target the other day I saw a handful of fake trees priced around $100-$200 that looked awesome. One more Xmas from now, we’d have a fake tree paid off and no need to buy another one for a very long time. A fake Christmas tree is a solid investment.

Real Emotions

For Girl Ninja, the desire to purchase a real tree was purely emotional. She loves real trees; the fresh Christmas tree scent; that they’re never cookie-cutter perfect. But most importantly, she likes that the money we spend on buying a real Christmas tree has benefited charities the last two years. In 2010 the proceeds from our purchase went straight to a local church. This year 100% of the $46 we spent went to a nearby food bank.

So even though I may not have won the “real or fake tree” battle, I’m fine conceding in the name of charity.  You know what they say “Happy wife, happy life.” One of these days though, I’ll actually win one of these little disagreements. Mark my words Girl Ninja, you will be defeated…eventually. Mwahahahaha!

Are you rocking a real, fake, or no Christmas tree this year? Do the holidays bring any silly debates in to your house (like where to celebrate Xmas day, how much to spend on presents, etc)?

p.s. Here’s a picture of Herbert all dressed up. What a beaut….



  1. real tree, all the way.
    DH and I bought a 2ft live tree (in a pot) for our first Christmas, and 4 Christmases later it is 5ft and still going strong (although not as pretty as Herbert)

  2. No tree…not enough space in my apartment. Plus the allergies? I’d die with the pine needles.

    Anyways, on another note. Costco buys stuff to put in their stores 3 months ahead of time, to get ahead of the competition. Their goal is to be in and out of the market by the time everyone else is marking stuff down. I’ve seen it in the stores as early as August, actually. October is kind of late. 🙂

  3. My parents have always had a real tree. I’m at the point where I usually spend Christmas with them, though, and don’t really get into the spirit too much with decorating on my own. I think it comes from starting to learn Christmas carols for the choir before Halloween when I was in grade school. So for now, I don’t plan to get a tree. My great aunt, who lives alone, has a little tiny porcelain tree with colored lights she puts out with a nativity every Christmas. As long as I spend Christmas with family, I probably won’t buy any kind of tree or maybe only a very tiny one. However, I don’t know if I could ever buy a fake one. You have to have room to store it, too!

    One thing I always liked was that for my and my brother’s very first christmas, my parents bought a tree with a root ball and planted it after the holiday. Then the trees grew up along with us! And we lived there until I was almost 18, so we got to enjoy them for a long time.

    When I was in the Boston area, they would always say that real trees weren’t allowed in a lot of the buildings due to the fire hazard, which I always thought was kind of a shame.

    • Same here. I don’t celebrate at my place, so I never bother to get one (not to mention that I usually don’t have the money to spend on something so trivial).

      But I’d second the storage aspect. Even if I had room to display a tree for a month in my tiny apartment, I definitely don’t have room to store a fake the rest of the year.

      Also, how could anyone give up that great smell! The whole point is to bring something (mostly) living indoors during a time of the year where everything’s either dead or sleeping!

  4. I grew up with a fake one. Now that I live with my grandfather (and am a grown man), we have a two foot tall tree with lights that sits on a dresser. That I haven’t put out yet. Thanks for the reminder!

  5. Real tree, and we will try to replant it after Christmas. Fake trees are made of very polluting PVC, don’t smell as nice and are expensive. We are thinking of planting more trees in our own back yard, maybe to sell them in the future (and not to have to get one ourselves).

  6. I grew up with a fake tree and so we have a fake tree as well. My uncle had a real tree. I could do either I suppose but am sure that I would start a fire with a real one.

  7. Best thing I ever did for our marriage was to get a fake tree. Poor Frank lived through years of being dragged from tree farm to tree farm in the quest for the perfect tree. And I always wanted to get a bigger tree than he did. Now we have a 9 ft. tall, pre-lit tree that I can assemble all by myself. All he has to do is put the star on top!

  8. Geez, if the two of you can’t agree on the name, let alone the sex of the tree . . .

    Personally, I buy a couple of sprigs of rosemary from the grocery store for $1.50, then I plant ’em in a coffee cup with some dirt dug up from the back yard.

  9. We have a real tree in the playroom (an 8-foot Fraiser Fir named Ronald), and fake trees in all the other rooms.

  10. This is awesome. 🙂 My guy and I had the exact same debate over whether we should have a real or fake tree. Then we went for option three… none. We decided that we’d live Christmas vicariously through other people.

  11. Your tree looks beautiful 🙂

    I’m not sure if it’s the same in the US but our Ottawa Ikea sells real Christmas trees for $20. They’re nice big tall normal Christmas trees and I think they also usually staple a 2012 gift card for $10 or something on to the receipt when you buy it.

  12. Real trees are the way to go… Buying a real tree supports American small business, while buying a fake tree means sending more money to China for more of their crap. 🙂

  13. The last time we put up a tree was in Dec. 2002; the fake tree (always had a fake tree) that I bought for $35 10 years prior at an after-Christmas Clearance wouldn’t stay straight in the new stand, and I all but lost it! Packed it back in the box and out it went! It was a great tree (a total score), and it had served its purpose. When we moved into our condo a year later, we didn’t have a good spot to put one up… couple that with 2 cats (1 of which is exceptionally curious), we figured it was best not to put one up. I don’t miss it al all; the only decoration that goes up is the door ornament.

    Your tree looks amazing; maybe when we move next year, we’ll put one up… maybe 😉

  14. I ultimately want a real tree, but my husband is so into Christmas he purchased a fake tree last year and had it up before Thanksgiving.

    Actually–relevant to the tree. We started a tradition where instead of getting eachother a big Christmas gift, we get one ornament for one another each year. We try to get something that represents a big milestone or accomplishment from the year, and we right the year in sharpie. Now that it’s been a few years, it’s super fun to pull out the ornaments and reflect on years past. We also get our pets ornaments that look like them for every year they are with us. In 15 or 20 years its going to be SUPER emotional decorating our tree!! It’s the only material possession attachment I have 🙂

  15. I grew up with a fake tree for the most part. My mother always wanted a real tree, but couldn’t justify the expense as we had a perfectly good fake one. The Christmas before she passed away, she said “I have wanted a real tree for years, so I am getting one!” And it was beautiful, and we strung popcorn and cranberries for it, and it was a wonderful, wonderful Christmas. We did not know it was Mom’s last. My dad has never got a real tree again. I swore that when I had kids, I would get a real tree…but my building wouldn’t allow them as a fire hazard. We have a fake one right now because of the upkeep it takes for a real one, but one of these days, I am going to have a real tree again…for my mother.

  16. I convinced my wife to buy a fake tree from target, 6 feet tall, for a total of $40. We used that the first two years of marriage. This year she had some new plans. Due to our little creature in the house that lives with us, she suggested we buy a small real tree and put it on a table. The small tree cost us about $25, so not a back breaker, but still. The fake tree sits in storage and this year we are rocking the Noble Pines!

    Stay strong ninja…the woman always win.

    P.S. I was convinced to buy my wife an iPhone.

  17. My husband and I have the same debate, and just like girl ninja, I win! We have gotten a real tree every year that we decide to put one up. I even dictate that it has to be a white pine, super soft with nice long needles. We also live far enough out in the country that I insist on cutting our own. This has started to get quite amusing of late because we both drive mustangs. Do you have any idea how funny it looks to have a 7 ft white pine on the roof of a Ford Mustang?

  18. Fake tree. Both of use grew up with them and we picked one up a couple of years ago on clearance after xmas. To get the fresh pine smell we just buy a nice wreath and the tree lot guys give us a bunch of the branches that they prune off to make the trees look nice so we do some “crafty” things with those.

  19. Fake tree for as long as I can remember. I keep it assembled and cover it with a sheet in the basement when not using it. I can’t have a real tree because the needles would get stuck in the carpet.

  20. Ever since I’ve been married – 10 years now – we’ve always had a fake tree. I honestly prefer the real trees despite the hassle just because I love the smell, and the nostalgia it brings up. I grew up with real trees every year. My wife on the other hand grew up with fake trees, and as such she’s a fake tree girl. I’m ok with that, and it does save us a lot of money since we use the same tree every year, however, I’m thinking one of these years we may have to break with tradition and buy a real one again for old time’s sake.

  21. I had my first real tree ever for my first Christmas as a homeowner last year–I definitely won’t be going back to the fake. I just have to figure out how to protect the tree from my isane-o kittens….

  22. Have to go fake. Allergies. Gets me out of yard work, though :] And the best part of a fake Christmas tree? I can decorate it for Valentine’s Day if I want.

  23. Since I’ll be out of the country this year, no Christmas tree for me. But if I was sticking around, it would be real. And always be real. Love supporting local charities and getting the sweet pine scent. Plus, your helping the local economy Ninja! The Pacific Northwest produces the most Christmas trees in the nation!

  24. None & Both!
    I’m currently living with the parent, hubby to be joining in a week, so I didn’t decorate our rental at all, but helped my mom with the real tree and 3 fake trees.

    A hint for keeping hassle of real tree to minimum: put the tree sack down first, then put the tree on top & use a tree skirt to cover up the bag– you spend a lot less time cleaning up needles when you take it out.

  25. A pre-lit tree seems awful tempting sometimes because I always wrestle with the lights. But no, I have to get a real one partly for nostalgia and partly becasue of the advantages. Besides the things you already mentioned, another advantage is I don’t have to find a space in my small apartment to store it from year to year. I recycle it at and it is turned into mulch for use in the county parks. My purchase also benefited a local Boy Scout troup and those boys are always so helpful! Everybody wins.

  26. Real tree this year! I’m so excited!!! This may be the only year we ever have a real one, but we’ve had a fake one for 11 years now. We’re going to cut it down at my grandpa’s next week. It will be “unique” shall we say, but free!

  27. Same argument, I’m for a real one and my husband likes fake ones. We compromised: we’d stick with a fake one until our babies were old enough to not rip everything off the tree and eat/break/destroy it. 3 more years of fake, then on to a big real one!

  28. I loathe fake trees. My wife tried to persuade me that fake was easier. My response was it had to be real or not at all.

    So we now have a little tree called Trevor who is currently in a pot. He’s about two feet tall, and the intention is that when we finally buy a house we’re going to plant him in the garden so he go free-range…

  29. I’m surprised you can make this post without acknowledging the environmental impact of fake trees. NO ONE should purchase a fake tree! They’re practically cancer in a box! I’m glad you went with a real tree.

  30. […] cool with risking lead poisoning and inviting carcinogens like PVC into his home in the interest of fake trees being a “solid investment”. Just kidding!… except not really. Seriously I’m so happy Girl Ninja talked him into a […]

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