Dec 11, 2012 9:14 PM by Keli Moore, KSBY News

Real vs. fake, the debate over Christmas trees

Real versus fake, Christmas trees that is. This debate seems to replay itself year after year.

There's an array of reasons convenience, allergies, clean up, the list goes on.

Fake or real, most said a live cut tree is what they prefer, but it seems the angel is on top of the faux tree this year.

"I use to be a UPS driver and this is my first Christmas not working, so I use to deliver the fake ones," said Carolee McDonnell, while shopping for a tree at The Home Depot.

The fake ones are popular this year. The Home Depot in San Luis Obispo put them on the shelf on Black Friday, and management said Tuesday, inventory is almost out.

"I am trying to find a small enough one like that to go on table top," said McDonnell as she continued to shop for the perfect tree.

McDonnel prefers real over fake.

"That might be a keeper," said McDonnell.

However, this holiday the roots are growing in the opposite direction.

Early sales figures for fake trees are up 26 percent this season at The Home Depot in SLO. Meanwhile real trees are only up 1 percent, but if you look at dollar figures, real trees are still the money makers.

Nationwide top retailers are all reporting artificial tree sales to have jumped by double digits, but more than 30-million pine trees are expected to be sold across the United States this year.

"So where do I go to pay for my tree?" said McDonnell.

Overall annual sales of fake trees are expected to hit a record -- $1.07 billion.

"I am that white truck right there. Alright thank you. Merry Christmas," said McDonnell.

What's interesting is some people are buying both. Last year 11 percent of consumers got a farm-grown tree and an artificial one.

According to some environmentalists, a fake tree would have to be used for 20 years to be greener than buying a live cut tree every season.



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