The great Christmas tree debate: Real or artificial?

It’s a discussion in many homes at the holidays- whether to put up a real or artificial Christmas tree. 

Both real and artificial trees have benefits, but the type of tree you display depends on your personal taste.

"I've always had a real tree since I was a kid", said Tony Harris, who runs Ergle Christmas Tree Farm in Dade City with his wife.

He says customers can pick out a pre-cut tree or cut down their own. "They get the experience of being on the farm with a saw in their hand and they get out and cut the tree down like they did back in the old days", said Harris.

Harris says there are advantages of having a real Christmas tree.  

"The freshness and the smell in your house every year. They decorate nicer and they last all the way until New Year's", Harris explained. "Real trees are about 98 % recyclable. An acre of real Christmas trees provides enough fresh air for 18 people to breathe. A plastic one doesn't do that."

On the other side of the debate is Dennis Wilkinson. He manages Robert's Christmas Wonderland in Clearwater, a store full of artificial trees. 

He says artificial trees look similar to real ones with less clean-up and a health benefit. "I have so many people with allergies with real trees that are going to artificial", said Wilkinson.

A survey by the American Christmas Tree Association found 82% of people buy artificial over real for health reasons or long term cost savings.

But Harris said his business isn't hurting. "I have people come from Sarasota, Clearwater, Valrico.  I have people come from Miami", said Harris.

One customer pointed out that it really doesn't matter if you put up a real or artificial tree.

"It's just the joy and the spirit of home Christmas and you just celebrate it with your family and you don't care what kind of tree you have", said Charlene Roth.

For more information about Ergle Christmas Tree Farm,
For more information about Robert's Christmas Wonderland,