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You want that Christmas tree real or fake?

Sellers have advice on both types

POSTED: December 6, 2008 5:00 a.m.
SARA GUEVARA /The Times

Gainesville Optimist Club member Charles Agner, a teacher at Brenau Academy, waits for customers to buy Christmas trees Wednesday on Browns Bridge Road. The trees, which come from North Carolina, start at $60.

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After Thanksgiving, it seems there’s just enough time to clean the kitchen and pack up the leftovers before the Christmas season officially starts.

The day after Thanksgiving is traditionally when many start decorating their homes for Christmas.

Some will be shopping for a live tree this weekend, others assembling an artificial one.

Both types are popular, but if you are on the fence this year about what kind of Christmas tree to get, two local tree sellers may have the information you need to make the best decision.

Danny Syfan, the owner of Syfan Landscape Center, said he thinks real trees are the way to go.

"When you walk up and you look at a live tree, it feels like Christmas to me," Syfan said.

Syfan said another bonus is that real trees come in more sizes.

"We start at 6 to 7 (feet), and the largest one we handle is probably 14 feet," Syfan said.

Syfan’s trees are Fraser firs, which start out at around $65 for the smallest trees and up to $350 for the largest.

Another bonus of a live tree is the pine aroma, Syfan said.

"Most people like the smell of them," he said.

Syfan, who has had trees in stock since Nov. 14, said he doesn’t think this weekend will be the busiest of the season.

"All the years I’ve been doing it ... the first weekend in December is the biggest weekend," he said.

Competition from retail sales and the annual Georgia-Georgia Tech football game offer distractions during the Thanksgiving weekend, Syfan said.

Tammy Hollingshead, the manager of Always Christmas in Hiawassee, counters that artificial trees are more convenient and available in many shapes, colors and sizes.

"We have a blue tree we’ve decorated with fish ... and there’s a gold one just like it that’s lit with colored gold lights," Hollingshead said of the colored tinsel trees in her store.

Besides coming in fun colors, Hollingshead said artificial trees also can accommodate those with space constraints.

"We have wall trees that you would hang on the wall," Hollingshead said. "You can put them flush against the wall and decorate them that way."

She said there also are thin trees that can easily fit into most rooms without having to rearrange furniture.

"There are Alpine trees ... they look almost like a tree you would see out in the forest, and they’re thinner than the regular-sized Christmas tree," Hollingshead said.

The Alpine trees have been very popular over the last couple of years, Hollingshead said.

Hollingshead said she has had live Christmas trees, but prefers artificial trees because they are less messy.

"A lot of the stuff people put on their trees nowadays — silks, velvets, the florals and the ornaments — if you put them on real trees you might get sap all over them. It’s just kind of a mess," Hollingshead said.

Another plus is that artificial trees never die.

"It’s not going to die; you’re not going to throw it out," Hollingshead said. "A pre-lit tree will last a normal household between five and 10 years."



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