The Christmas tree is a holiday institution.  No celebrating house is complete without this classic coniferous icon.  Once decorated with lights, bulbs, and whatever else you decide to put on it, the Christmas tree glows with holiday wonder.  There is a long-standing debate over which is better, a real tree or an artificial one.

The advantages to having an artificial tree are obvious.  It's a purchase that needs to be made once or every few years.  If kept in good condition, a new one may never need to be bought.  According to the American Christmas Tree Association the average cost of a real tree in 2011 was $46.  The average cost of an artificial tree was $78.  The cost is more for the artificial tree, but not having to buy another one will save tons of money in the years to come.  Artificial trees have a tendency to been cleaner than real trees.  They don't leave behind sticky, sharp needles everywhere to be picked up with the soft spot of your foot.  Watering is not required for artificial trees, so the mess factor is once again not as much an issue.  There is no having to go pick up a tree and tie it to your car because it is already, in most cases, stored in your house.  How convenient.

Real Christmas trees, on the other hand, have a lot more character than their fake competitors.  The smell of a fresh cut evergreen in the living room is something that cannot be replicated.  Scented candles don't come close.  The act of going out as a family and selecting a tree is still a time honored tradition.  Many tree vendors sales go to support local charitable organizations.  Real trees are biodegradable and recyclable, which is great for the environment.  Most artificial trees are not recyclable and end up taking up space in landfills.  Whether your tree is real or artificial, the sentiment represented by both is mutual.

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