Nearly anyone who celebrates Christmas would agree, finding the right tree is essential. The tree is the centerpiece of Christmas decoration; therefore, where it should be placed, how it should look, and what size it should be are all topics that warrant a good deal of consideration.

Depending on your personal likes and dislikes, you may decorate your tree mainly with tinsel, garland, lights, or ornaments. Upon further consideration you will find that each of these categories also has its choices. White or colored lights? Silver or gold garland? An angel or a star for the top of the tree?

There will always be many ways to brighten up and "customize" your Christmas tree, but one decision holds precedent over all of the others and must be made first - will you buy a real tree or a fake tree?

Some individuals strongly advocate for real trees, because without a real tree, the "authentic" feeling of Christmas disappears. Others strongly advocate against real trees because they believe that the fire danger and maintenance associated with a real tree is not worth this so-called "authentic" Christmas experience.

Opinions regarding which choice, real or fake, is best will always differ. Here is a list of some of the pros and cons related to both real and fake Christmas trees which will help you make your decision regarding the essential decoration this coming holiday season.

Pros of Real Trees

1. The smell. Let's face it, the smell of a real Christmas tree is irreplaceable during the holiday season. Something about the fresh scent of pine permeating the indoor atmosphere is greatly comforting. Oddly enough, the "plastic and metal" scents of a fake tree just don't cut it for many people.

2. Picking out the "perfect" tree. Each year, the trip that must be made to find a real tree creates wonderful memories. By choosing to stick with a real Christmas tree, an annual tradition can be created, bringing the family together each year to find that "perfect" tree in preparation for the holidays.

3. Helping tree farmers. Many individuals spend the year growing Christmas trees for the public to earn extra income on the side, but also provide the option of buying a real tree a possibility for families. If finding a real tree sounds like a great idea to you, why not search a tree farm to also provide the farmer some income? After all, Christmas is about giving!

4. They are natural. Many individuals argue that families who choose real trees are "killing the environment". As previously mentioned, there are farms that grow trees specifically for Christmas, and many plant two or three seedlings to replace each tree they sell. This practice will definitely not harm the environment in the long term. The major benefit is that real trees are recyclable, natural, and compostable. If you leave a real tree in the woods, it will decay, never harming the environment.

Cons of Real Trees

1. Finding a new tree each year. Some families simply do not have the time to find a real tree, and would argue that needing to buy a new one each year is a waste of time and money.

2. Needle Clean-up. Along with the wonderful authentic feeling and pine smell of a real tree comes the pine needle mess. Real trees lose their needles, especially after they have been inside for extended periods, increasing the amount of cleanup necessary to keep your tree, and home, looking good. Extra cleaning alone is enough of an incentive for some individuals to avoid real trees.

3. Watering the tree. Families that opt for a real tree must remember that trees are living and, similar to other household plants, must be properly cared for. Families must regularly water their real trees. Nobody wants a brown tree for Christmas!

4. Fire hazard. Worse than the fact that an improperly watered tree will turn brown, ruining its beauty, is the fact that a brown tree creates elevated fire risk. An extremely dry tree takes very little time to burst into flames, causing extensive household damage. If a real tree is your choice, keep open flames away from the tree area, and definitely water the tree regularly.

Pros of Fake Trees

1. No annual search. Individuals that like to be able to instantly put up a Christmas tree without traveling to find one will enjoy fake trees. Once you find a fake tree, your only annual search throughout the following years will be in your storage room!

2. No clean-up. Besides putting your tree back into the box after the holidays, there is no clean-up associated with fake trees. All of the needles will stay on a fake tree regardless of how long it stays up - unless of course you bought an extremely cheap model!

3. No watering. Not needing to water the Christmas tree is a huge bonus for many individuals that are either too busy to regularly water the tree, or are to0 forgetful to remember to do so. Lack of adequate watering is associated with the increased fire risk of real trees, so fake trees will automatically pose less of a fire risk to homes.

4. Longevity. A quality fake tree can last a lifetime, saving you time and money over the long run.

Cons of Fake Trees

1. Lack of authenticity. Many families argue that having a unique tree each year is part of the fun of Christmas. A fake tree will definitely make Christmas decorating more predictable. For families that enjoy the smell, watering, and even needle-shedding of a real tree, fake trees are an absolute no-no.

2. No annual trip to pick out the "perfect" tree. Again, depending on your family, an annual trip can be a pro or a con. If you choose to buy a fake tree, you will not create the tradition of looking for the perfect tree as a family. You will decide whether or not this tradition is important to you!

3. They are not natural. Obviously, fake trees are made from manufactured materials. These materials can be harmful to the environment if they are burned or thrown away. Fake trees can be valuable for families if they are repeatedly used, but throwing fake trees away is wasteful, and should be avoided as much as possible.

4. Storage. Depending on its size, a good deal of storage space may be needed for a fake tree. For those with limited year-round space, real trees are extremely beneficial.

Would you rather have a conveniently fake tree, or an authentically real tree? Now that you have learned about some of the pros and cons of both tree choices, decide for yourself which best fits your needs.