The argument over whether or not to get a real Christmas tree has already started in the Minted household. The picture shows last year’s effort (and Grandpa’s shoes, ankle-deep in dropped needles). Everyone else wants a genuine tree apart from me. I can understand their reasoning but look at the picture – I rest my case!
As a halfway measure, I thought I’d upgrade to a good fake. Our much-despised current tree cost the equivalent of £10 several years ago from a dodgy shop under the central escalator in Hong Kong. It makes no pretence at trying to look real and you have to wear gloves when you put it up otherwise your hands go red and sting.
Top-notch fake firs, however, do not come cheap. I’ve been having a little perusal of this season’s offerings and have been surprised at the prices. There are some believable trees in John Lewis which (mostly) are made of plastic needles, giving the impression of the real deal. The basic seven-footer comes in at £195 though. And, if you look closely, you see some of the branches are the sort of matt green tinsel which looks as much like a conifer as, well, tinsel. In contrast, the pure tinsel-type trees are a paltry £45.
Much better value I thought was the Ikea 6’ tree at £35. It also has a few tinsel-like branches hidden behind ‘genuine’ ones but at that price it doesn’t make so much difference. Finally, for the really Minted Christmas, you might want to look at Balsam Hill online (tipped by the Telegraph, no less) where you can spend £400 and upwards on replicas created with their True Needle technology. It’s worth a look soon because there is a 40% sale on until 21 November which makes it slightly more affordable.
Other deals which caught my eye were a real 6’ tree for £5 from Ikea and the cheapest 6’ fake tree of the moment is £14.99 from Argos. (You have to buy the tree at Ikea for £25 but you get a £20 voucher to spend in store.) Deck those halls whatever your budget!
For our guide to saving at Christmas, click here.