Every Yuletide season, the same debate is sparked. A real Christmas tree with soft needles and a heady aroma-or an artificial one that assembles in an instant, can be purchased pre-lit and doesn't drop leaves on the floor?
Sometimes it seems like neither side of the Christmas controversy will budge from their fondness for real or fake. But there are those who have switched to the plastic version and been happy in the process.
For Judy and Steve Weber of Lowell, the seven Christmas trees they've decorated this year are all artificial ones.
SHARON BOPP The Marietta Times
Jan Rowley, sales associate at Thomson’s Landscaping in Marietta, spruces up the decorations on a pink and green themed artificial Christmas tree Monday.
"It took several years to make that transition and get used to the idea (of artificial trees)," said Steve Weber.
When their adult children were still at home, the Webers' trees were real.
"We love Christmas around here," Judy Weber said.
At a glance
Types of real Christmas trees
- Balsam fir: Usually the most reasonably priced and abundant cut tree. Balsams have short, flat, needles that are long lasting and are very fragrant when first cut.
- Douglas fir: A beautiful, full dark green to blue variety. It holds its needles well and is very fragrant.
- Scotch pine: One of the most popular Christmas trees with a nice, lasting aroma. Its ridged, dark green needles hold for four weeks and don't drop when dry.
About artificial trees
- Artificial Christmas trees are made of plastic, PVC specifically, that ensures the long life and durability of the trees. With these chemical properties, artificial Christmas trees provide a useful life of 20 years or more.
- Each artificial tree saves 10 live trees from being cut down in the process.
- Artificial trees do not clog up the waste stream or recycling facilities on an annual basis.
However, the mess of a real tree grew old, and they found an extremely lifelike artificial tree that took some of the sting out of it being fake.
"I love real trees, but you just can't put them up in November," said Judy Weber.
Nowadays, the Webers have several types of artificial trees including a 27-inch antique German feather tree with the original porcelain Santa at its tippity top and red "berries" on the ends of branches.
There's also another white "fake feather" Christmas tree offering holiday cheer in the hallway of the couple's home and a tall, skinny "pencil" tree.
The biggest Christmas tree the Webers decorate is in their living room. It stands nearly eight feet tall and is adorned with antique ornaments in the shapes of fruit, musical instruments, birds, angels and more.
The Webers' favorite Christmas ornaments are those they've collected or bought at auctions over the years.
"All the ornaments are at least 60 years old, some are probably pushing 100 years," Judy Weber said.
"They're all what we call dead people's ornaments," she laughingly added.
At Thomson's Landscaping in Marietta, which offers both real and artificial trees, real trees have outsold their artificial counterparts this Christmas, said sales associate Jan Rowley.
"(Customers) just want that smell," she said.
Many of Thomson's customers are also looking for the thin, narrow artificial trees called pencil trees, she added.
Wall, or half, trees that can be hung from a wall or "potted" in an urn are getting more popular too.
Whether real or artificial, Washington County residents are embracing trees with different themes or color schemes than traditional ones in years past.
Linda Turner of Newport has a white artificial tree that she'll fancy up with a blue bow at the top and all blue ornaments.
Some years, Turner said she goes with a red color scheme instead.
"Red, I love a bright red," she declared.
Karen Duley, 61, of Belpre said her 16-year-old granddaughter decorated all four trees in her home this year.
One has a horse theme, complete with belt buckles for ornaments, rope for garland and a cowboy hat as a topper. A second tree is decked in pinks and greens, and a third with silk poinsettias.
In Duley's dining room, dehydrated orange slices are interspersed with country-themed ornaments.
"We live in a log house" which ties in with the country look of the tree," said Duley.