It is a real tree, as in it has weight and occupies space, it is just not a natural tree. We gave up on that a few years ago and I will admit this is less mess and quite nice to look at but no pine scent. It is already lite and it drops no needles. Also it does not tend to fall over or need water. I still miss the misshapen, too large or lopsided trees that we gathered. They were usually from Lowes, not some romantic trudging-through-the-snow to select and cut one from the forest. One year, okay more than one year, I had to secure the tree with some fishing line to keep it in place. But I liked the challenge. Perhaps from the two years I sold them at Glen's Custard stand when it was still in Cheswick, PA.
Still this is a pretty neat touch to have up for three whole weeks without needed extra fire insurance.