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Posted on Mon, Nov 26, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Time to deck the halls: Do you prefer pine or plastic?

By Kyle Mattson


Jeff Sainlar I

We've all seen the signs of holidays popping up since October, but now that the stores are packed with shoppers and snow is flying it's officially time to channel your inner Clark Griswold and deck the halls.

We recognize the fact that not everyone will be making the trip 20 feet up a ladder to string lights on their home, but for those of you who do celebrate the holiday season you can finally break out the decor. With the annual task of setting up there also comes a long-standing debate: should you purchase a natural tree or skip the mess and go artificial? For many the choice comes down to tradition, but for others, including municipalities the choice can turn into one needle-ly discussion.

View Ann Arbor Area Christmas Tree Farms in a larger map

Although the city of Ann Arbor has dodged the debate by not having an official tree and by ending its curbside collection of evergreens in 2011 there are still plenty of choices for those in both camps around town. Favoring the fresh scent of pine? A tree can be picked up with a quick trip to nearby retailers like Produce Station and Flatsnoots or a short drive outside the city to cut down your own at a tree farm. Looking for the artificial variety? The recently opened Costco will be filling the carts of many with boxes of branches.

What type of tree do you have? Vote in the poll, then tell us why in the comments below.

You can also send us your photos from the holiday season using the form found here.


Sarah Rigg

Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 3:03 p.m.

We buy real, potted small conifers and plant them in the back yard after the New Year.


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 3:20 p.m.

Sarah, wonderful idea!

Kellie Woodhouse

Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 12:51 p.m.

Growing up, my family always used a fake tree. I remember "fluffing" the branches like it was yesterday. But since I've been on my own I've always used a live tree. I love the evergreen smell. (Although when I first got married my husband and I disagreed hotly on which variety was king.) Fingers crossed, I'm putting my tree up this weekend.


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 1:47 a.m.

My parents always purchased from Virgil & Jim's when I was younger and now I do every year as well. Plastic factories produce horrible amounts of air pollution and I know people say the artificial trees are reusable but sometime eventually they will end up in a land fill. It's not as if we are leveling pristine pine forests to harvest christmas trees. Christmas trees are a farmers crop, no different then cutting corn stalks down year after year. The fields are on a rotation, and for the few years the trees are growing, they will produce clean air and habitat. When we take down our christmas tree every year I drag it across the road from my house and throw it into the woods where it will decompose and return nutrients to the soil and again provide habitat for small mammals or birds who are seeking shelter. In the entire cycle of a real christmas tree vs. artificial tree, I strongly believe that a real tree is much better for the environment.


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 12:50 a.m.

We love love love Flatsnoots and bought from them for many years. But a few years ago we decided that sitting in our home at the holidays and watching a tree slowly die just wasn't feeling that great any more. As well, it seemed like the yearly cost just wasn't justified. Soooo we got a very nice, realistic looking artificial tree that has served us very well. If we light a pine candle to scent the house, there's no way of knowing it's a fake tree unless you stick your nose right into it and look and sniff carefully.

Dog Guy

Mon, Nov 26, 2012 : 11:38 p.m.

A longtime Ann Arborite, I will decorate an orange steel tree for Christmas.


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 3:19 p.m.



Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 12:24 a.m.

LOL Dog Guy! I buy real, live trees from Virgil and Jim, in business for 30 yrs. They used to be on Washtenaw and other locations but are now on Jackson Rd. The trees are beautiful and priced less than any other place in town. They sell many varieties; will bundle it and keep it there for you if you need to get a friend's vehicle to transport it; (or any other reason); are helpful and friendly. Merry Christmas to all!


Mon, Nov 26, 2012 : 11:31 p.m.

plastic. after a few years it pays for itself, and no vaccuming up pine needles which is a real pain in the butt....

Mulberry Bank

Mon, Nov 26, 2012 : 9:51 p.m.

We gave-up the Christmas tree. We still decorate, but with lights, poinsettias, symbols, shiny bric-a-brac, etc. Don't have the wonderful smell, or the easier artificial, -or children. Easier mentally and physically and covers most of the Holidays.. Relax and enjoy... Season's Greetings citizens!


Mon, Nov 26, 2012 : 11:03 p.m.

I saw a Charlie Brown Xmas Tree and can't wait to put up that one once the children are gone and it is just me.


Mon, Nov 26, 2012 : 9:42 p.m.

We bought a nice fake one to use year after year. Then one of the cats decided that fake pine is her favorite thing to eat in the entire world. So the fake tree is gone and we do fresh cut now. She likes to curl up under it, snuggled in the tree skirt, but she doesn't eat the real tree at all.

music to my ear

Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 12:53 p.m.

because she said enough already she looks forward to pretending she is out of the house(of course I am the cat whisper)


Mon, Nov 26, 2012 : 9:33 p.m.

Real. Trees are not meant to be made out of plastic. Real smells better, looks better, and is better for our environment.

music to my ear

Mon, Nov 26, 2012 : 9:02 p.m.

we used to get real until I realized that is was making the kiddies sick, so plastic it is. now the kids are grown I may put up a smaller one.decorate a little each day, makes it less overwhelming and more fun HO ,HO .HO


Mon, Nov 26, 2012 : 8:56 p.m.

Real. It's a renewable resource, it's usually from Michigan, sometimes even local (Brauns on Warren Rd). Compostable, recyclable. And they smell wonderful!! No contest!


Mon, Nov 26, 2012 : 8:53 p.m.

Artificial. Bought mine 15+ years ago when my wife and I were just going out together. A very nice 8 footer that looks plenty real and while pricey (at the time) has served us well year after year. Money well spent, no trees were harmed, no landfill space taken up and most importantly no additional and excessive fire hazards. First year we won't be using it in favor of a smaller tree due to less chances of our new cats playing in it.


Mon, Nov 26, 2012 : 11:01 p.m.

Totally agree with this one. Except the neighbors were moving gave us a bigger artificial with lites. No regrets. Served us well. Well go to the next generation.


Mon, Nov 26, 2012 : 8:33 p.m.

Douglas Fir from Leverett's market on Packard Road just east of Carpenter, nothing else will do.