Real or fake Christmas tree?

Which is best when it comes to Christmas trees, real or artificial?

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Is it better to have a real or artificial Christmas tree?

By Joe Harker

It's December and that means that everyone can dive headfirst into the comfortable and joyful glow of Christmas.

The King of decorations is the Christmas tree, which tends to be draped in lights and baubles and be the shining beacon of goodwill to all men and women. While the tradition is to have a fir tree, many homes now go for an artificial variety rather than buying a new one each year. Is it better to buy the real thing that will only last for the festive period or get an artificial one that will last year after year?

Quartzy say that once you try an artificial tree you never go back and encourage people to try it out. They say that the annoying tasks associated with getting a real tree are more trouble than they're worth and all the carrying, watering and cleaning involved makes an artificial tree all the more attractive as a prospect.

One big downside to a real tree is all the dropped needles that occur as it decomposes over time. A tree acquired before December might have shed most needles by the time Christmas Day rolls around, so waiting until the final month of the year tends to be a good decision. There are also environmental ramifications, as most would think that one reusable tree would be more eco-friendly but artificial trees are often made in China and the CO2 cost is high.

Real trees do have other problems, as they may be infested with bugs that are getting into homes and becoming pests. CBS reported that a single tree could have up to 25,000 bugs on it, although most of them are small and harmless creatures that feed off tree sap. The most annoying resident that lives on the tree is likely to be a spider or two and those can easily be removed.

According to the Daily Mirror more people prefer having a real tree, with 53 per cent of those polled preferring the real thing to 45 per cent of people who said that an artificial tree was just as good. The real ones tend to cost a bit more and it is an annual expenditure compared to a potential one time purchase for an artificial one. Still, more people believe that you can't beat the real thing.

Whichever one you prefer, get a tree that works for you and will bring you the most joy during Christmas. It's going to be your tree so it makes sense to get whatever you like most. Whether it be real or artificial this is the season to be jolly.

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How to choose and care for a real Christmas tree

From gift-giving to seasonal decorating, December is a busy time. Most of the focus is inside this month, but allow some time to walk around the landscape to check for dry soil conditions. Water if needed - it's parched out there.

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Gardeners are easy to please, and they're often creative gift-givers in return. Any indoor or seasonal plants such as amaryllis, orchid, Christmas cactus, jasmine, lavender or a dish of paperwhite bulbs are always a hit. Garden centers have a great selection, and if you're undecided, go for the never-disappointing gift certificate.

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