When I was a child, we always had a real Christmas tree. We went as a family to the Christmas tree lot and carefully selected one, lashed it to the roof of the station wagon and brought it home. My Dad would get out the axe and trim the end so it would fit in our stand, then we'd haul it inside and decorate it. It was a joyous ritual.
When I graduated from college and moved to NYC, I continued to go home for Christmas so never bothered decorating my apartment. But once I had my first child, I decided we needed to live amidst the holiday cheer. We didn't want to deal with the trouble and mess of a live tree, so we bought an artificial one, and we've used it every year since then.
This year, as part of my migration to green living, I sought out information on the pros and cons of artificial versus real trees. I could elaborate on these here, but Kimberly Crandell over at ScientificBlogging already did all of the heavy lifting in a blog post titled "The Great Debate: Real Vs. Artificial Christmas Trees." I encourage you to read it.
Armed with my new knowledge, we may revert to a live Christmas tree next year - despite the huge convenience of our artificial one.