It’s that time of year again – time to put up the Christmas tree. Whether you do it the day after Thanksgiving or on Christmas Eve, the decision over what kind of tree you are going to have still has to be made. Here are some of the pros and cons of artificial trees and real trees.

1. Artificial trees

Pros:
Probably the biggest asset to owning an artificial tree is that you can use it year after year, making it a less wasteful choice. In fact, you don’t even have to take the lights or decorations off if you have a place to store it upright. Artificial trees tend to be inexpensive as well. For people with allergies, artificial trees can be a real boon – many a Christmas-season “cold” is actually an allergic reaction to all the live greenery brought indoors.

Cons:
Storage can be difficult, unless you get a very small artificial tree. The normal-sized ones are not small, and can take up space in your basement or attic. Also, you don’t get the lovely “Christmassy” smell of fresh-cut evergreen.

2. Real trees (cut)

Pros:
There is something fun and festive about the tradition of taking the family out to the tree lot to choose the Christmas tree. The scent of pine or spruce fills your house, and it’s exciting to bring it home and set it up. You can choose the size, texture, and color you like.

Cons:
Cut trees can be pricey, and it seems wasteful to throw them out each year. Also, as mentioned above, they can induce allergic reactions in some people. And as the tree dries, the needles fall off and have to be vacuumed or swept up.

3. Real trees (live, with roots)

Pros:
Live Christmas trees are meant to be planted after the holidays, making this a much less wasteful choice. In fact, you can follow a German tradition and plant the tree after the holidays, water and trim it during the year, then dig it up again for the next Christmas.

Cons:
Critters such as mice can hide in the root ball, then infest your house. Live trees are also much more expensive than cut ones, and they are much heavier to carry. Finding a suitable container that will be attractive, accommodate the root ball, and not mess up your floors is also tricky.

No matter what tree you decide to go with, you can make it more meaningful by involving the whole family.