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Should you buy a real or fake Christmas tree? Expert explains

December dilemma: To buy a real or fake Christmas tree?
December dilemma: To buy a real or fake Christmas tree? 04:53

NEW YORK -- It's an annual December dilemma -- is it better to cut down a real Christmas tree or invest in a fake but festive fir?

According to the American Christmas Tree Association, 77% of the consumers they surveyed prefer an artificial tree, while 23% will display the real deal. But which is a more sustainable choice?

The Nature Conservancy New York Executive Director Bill Ulfelder spoke with us about why a living tree is a better choice. 

He suggested buying a tree from a local farm and some environmentally friendly ways to dispose of them. 

"There are a number of reasons, one is real trees generate oxygen through photosynthesis, second is they clean our water, third they're a wildlife habitat. I would much rather look at Christmas tree farms than condos when I'm out in the countryside," he explained. "But there's also a real economic benefit. There are 15,000 Christmas tree farms all across the country, these are mostly family owned businesses, so that's terrific.

"Then at the end of the holidays, a real tree can be recycled, it can be mulched, it can be used to prevent erosion around dunes on the beaches -- that's something I saw growing up as a kid," he continued. 

Watch his full interview in the video above, or click here for more information.

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