There’s certainly a lot of Christmas spirit in this new debate that’s got many mums all fired up and tinsel-tangled.

It all started when a woman said that she sees a Christmas tree as a status symbol and that she would regard anyone who has a real Christmas Tree as wealthy.

The woman posted on Mumsnet with the topic heading: “Real tree Vs artificial tree? Is it a status symbol?”

She explained that she had grown up in a working class environment and her family could only afford artificial trees for the festive season. She said that everyone she knew who had real Christmas trees was wealthy.

Christmas Tree Snobbery

She wrote:
“Just putting up our artificial tree and having some thoughts. At work the other day we got to discussing Christmas trees, and the old real vs artificial debate.

“It seemed to me that there was a bit of ‘snobbery’ against those who had artificial trees (maybe that’s just where I work!). There were those who said artificial trees were just TERRIBLE for the environment.

“Given that most people I know have had their tree for many years (our family one was about 40 years old before it was replaced) is this really true? Cutting down live trees is okay for the environment? I have never had a real tree, growing up I didn’t know anyone who had a real tree and in our circles it was usually only the slightly more well off people who ever had real trees.

Fake Tree Shock

The woman went on to describe how her colleagues were shocked at the idea of using an artificial tree.

“Some people at work looked horrified at the thought of having a ‘plastic’ tree (mind, they were going off to cut the perfect one down on their ‘estate’).”

Real Vs Artificial

She then posed a question to the group:

“So what do you think? Real Vs artificial? I spent a fair bit a few years ago to get a really nice realistic looking artificial tree which I hope will last years. At the time we had cats and I was afraid they would get hurt/never leave the real tree alone so I have stuck with artificial.

What does everyone else have? Do you judge people with fake trees?”

Do you Judge Those With Fake Trees?

Interestingly, the responses were quite similar to the woman’s assumptions. With many of those who regard themselves as middle class saying that their preference is for a real fir tree. While those who had less money, opted for an artificial Christmas tree.

“Yes I agree that real vs artificial Christmas tree is very much a snobbery thing. I come from a middle class family and growing up we always had a real Christmas tree. My parents definitely made comments to suggest that middle class families have real Xmas trees. Since leaving home, I’ve always had a real tree,” said one.

“Middle class always had a real tree. I think there is a lot of snobbery. I love the smell of a real tree. Apparently an artificial tree has to be used for ten years before it is better for the environment than real ones, and more people I know with artificial change them more frequently,” commented another.

Fake Tree All The Way

Many responding as “working class” said they have an artificial tree.

“If you keep your artificial one going indefinitely, I don’t think they are terrible for the environment – no more terrible than buying mounds of plastic toys, which as a child-free household, we don’t.”

“We always had an artificial one growing up as couldn’t afford a real one every year (and it lasted over 20 years!) I can’t be a**** with a real one, so although me and DH could afford to, we just have a fake one and that works for us. I have found some people quite snobby about it too,” said another.

It’s What You Are Used To

Some said that Christmas tree preferences doesn’t have anything to do with social standing – but rather what you are used to doing. If you grew up with a fake tree, you would most likely continue with that tradition, and vice versa with a real one.

“We get a real tree, I love the act of going to choose it as a family every year and love the smell. I doubt anyone walking past the house knows what kind we have, so can’t really be a status symbol. I think it’s just personal preference, I don’t really care what kind anyone else has in their house,” said one person.

“Working class growing up: Always had an artificial one. Middle class now: Always have an artificial one! It’s just preference and not something anyone should be judging someone else on.

“We always had an artificial one growing up as couldn’t afford a real one every year (and it lasted over 20 years!). I can’t be arsed with a real one, so although me and DH could afford to, we just have a fake one and works for us.”

Do you think a Christmas tree is a status symbol? Do you have a real Christmas tree or an artificial one? Tell us in the comments below.

  • I go for a fake tree. Real trees are a complete nightmare for my hayfever and they also bring insects into the house. No thanks.


  • I do love having a real tree and I guess it is a bit of a luxury. But I just love the smell and it also means we don’t have to put it in storage all year. It’s a little luxury that’s worth it to our family. A real tree feels a lot more special.


  • It doesn’t matter what other people have. I love our artificial tree so that’s fine for us. Being rich having a real tree isnt true. It just means its what is important to another family.


  • There are pros and cons to each tree.Love the smell of a real tree.


  • We recycle our plastic tree year after year and are very happy with it.


  • I don’t see a Christmas tree as a status symbol but rather an individual choice/preference. We have an artificial one and are very happy with that.


  • I don’t have one.


  • When I was growing up we didn’t have much money for food and bills let alone a tree but we always had a real fir tree. When I moved out of home and lived in a flat and now in my household we have an artificial tree. Only ever got a real tree once in the house but we preferred an artificial one. Kept that for quite a few years then donated it to the local hospital because I didn’t want a tree anymore. Have now bought an artificial tree because the family wanted me to have one. It has nothing to do with money it’s more about convenience and what you prefer.


  • No. Whatever works for you. I figure we all have an attachment to a Christmas tree type for a reason and we shouldn’t judge.


  • i believe that you can have what style of tree you like , dont go visit people and compare
    personally i would not have real one.


  • Silly to compare and compete with a Xmas tree !


  • It’s never about the cost, it’s about the thought and the care, or love you put into decorating your tree and the true sentiment of having a Christmas Tree. Don’t get pressured to follow the crowd, remember it’s about the Christmas Spirit and a place to put your special gift.
    When decorating my tree I like to use decorations the children have made, friends and family have given me over the years and that way I feel we are all being a part of what Christmas means to me.
    We are blessed with what we have………………

    • Yes true ! My sister lives in Africa. They decorate a dead tree branch and it still gives them the Christmas sense .


  • Lol. I think that it depends on the artificial tree. When we lived in a much larger place and our daughter was still little, we had an artificial tree that looked so real you wouldn’t know until you touched it. It cost nearly $500 so it should have looked very real for that price. Real trees are a lot cheaper than that. Real trees are also a fire danger and they make an awful mess, even when you water them regularly. Even in Canada (where I grew up) I preferred a nice artificial one….less mess. Now, I have a very tall thin artificial tree that a near blind person could peg, but I’m happy with it. It works in our small villa.


  • I don’t judge trees haha… both are awesome


  • This is so not true!


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