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Con: Cost, hassle of real trees can be turn-off

By JR Ortega
Dec. 5, 2011 at 6:05 a.m.

"Sold!" Remi Parker, 11, left, yelled after she and her brother, Greyson, 16, right, and their parents picked out the perfect live Christmas tree Thursday evening at Holiday Hills Christmas Trees in the parking lot of the Victoria Mall. The Parker family said that a real Christmas tree is a must because of the distinct smell.

The truth about artificial Christmas trees

About 85 percent of fake trees are imported from China.

Fake trees were invented by a company that made toilet brushes.

Most artificial Christmas trees are made of metals and plastics. The plastic material, typically PVC, can be a potential source of hazardous lead.

SOURCE; National Christmas Tree Association

Setting up the artificial tree has always been a tradition for Michael Ramirez.

One year, Ramirez, a Victoria resident, had a real tree, but it was too much of a hassle, he said.

"I think that it's all just personal preference," Ramirez said. "They (artificial trees) are easier to maintain."

Real Christmas trees at the Holiday Hill Christmas Trees tent at the Victoria Mall cost anywhere from $20 to almost $400. Trees come in a variety of sizes and types, which factors into that cost.

While artificial trees can cost about the same amount, these trees last longer, don't leave needles on the floor and aren't overbearing with the scent of evergreen, Ramirez said.

Bobby Long, owner of Shop the World in Victoria, believes artificial trees can be just as magical as real Christmas trees.

Peering into Shop the World from the parking lot shows just how serious his home decor shop is about Christmas.

Several 9-foot-high and taller trees tower over the walkway, decorated in colorful ornaments and lights.

"Personally, growing up, I liked real trees," Long said. "But most people like silk. It's easier."

Like Ramirez, Long believes people are attracted to an artificial tree's cleanliness and its durability.

Also, manufacturers created different colored trees, which helps add a more personal flare.

Some trees at Long's store come pre-lit. Also, there is an on site decorator who can help give ideas.

"People expect us to be a Christmas store," he said, laughing. "People like that they can store them from year to year."

Ramirez said he will always choose the fake tree over the real one.

"That's just how it's always been," he said.

For the pro side of this article, click here.

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