When the lights go up on the houses in the neighborhood and there are Christmas Parades rolling through the area that means it's time to get the Christmas Tree. That always revives the debate between the artificial tree lovers and the connoisseurs of the live tree.

Most fans of the fake trees point to economics and safety as their big selling points for those who need facts to make a decision. You could also toss in ease of set up and appearance too. The fake tree can be used year after year and if take it down and put it up carefully a quality artificial tree could last 5 or 10 years. For those that have a traditional holiday decorating scheme knowing how the tree is going to look and be shaped every year lends itself to making the decoration process for the rest of the home easier to plan.

Aficionados of the real or live tree point to tradition and emotion as their selling points. Christmas is a time of memories and most of us had a live tree when we were kids. It seems like a sell out to the vast commercialism of Christmas if we succumb to the plastic and fiber version of the holiday symbol. The live tree smell certainly adds an air of Christmas to any home. The unpredictable shape of each unique tree every years gives each holiday  season its own personality as well.

Some other facts to consider in the artificial versus live tree debate. Both kinds of tree are fire hazards. Don't be fooled into thinking a real tree will burn faster than a fake one. They both will burn your house down and kill your family if you don't use common sense.

Artificial trees are often made using plastics. Plastics come from petroleum, petroleum equals jobs in this part of the world. But, a lot of artificial trees are made in China, that means American jobs in other areas might suffer.

Real tree farms  provide employment for many Americans not only in the actual growing of trees but in the shipping and selling of them too. Live trees while they are growing improve our environment by helping to clean the air we breathe during their average lifespan. Also for every tree that is cut, on average another 3-5 trees are planted.

What do you prefer? The ease and economics of an artificial tree or the old fashioned holiday scent and unpredictability of a live tree?  At our house we always have a live tree. It is what both Jill, my wife, and I grew up with and what we want in our home. It doesn't make us right it just makes it ours and that's what the celebration of the upcoming season should be about, making it special for those who mean the most to you.

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