Some people claim it's the smell of a real tree, or the convenience of a fake tree, but everyone has their reason for choosing between the two.

Which one should you get?

Taking the environment, cost and safety into account we have a couple of tips that might help you pick.

A majority of people are buying an artificial tree this Christmas, and a third of them say it's because they're better for the environment.  Is that true?  There's no easy answer, but we thought we'd check out both sides.

Part of the problem is that it's a little like someone on a diet choosing between cheesecake or donuts.  Neither one is particularly GOOD.  It's more a question of which does the least damage.

Why you should choose a REAL tree:

--There are about 400 million Christmas trees growing on tree farms in the U.S. right now, and they're all taking in CO2 and generating oxygen.  About 30 million are harvested each year.

--Artificial trees are made of plastic and contain PVC, and making PVC creates cancer-causing byproducts.  Your plastic tree itself is safe, but since most artificial trees are made in CHINA, the byproducts probably aren't disposed of safely.

--And obviously, artificial trees aren't biodegradable.  So when they eventually DO get thrown out, they'll probably end up in a landfill for centuries.

--One study found that artificial trees have a carbon footprint THREE times larger than a real tree, and you'd have to keep an artificial tree TWENTY YEARS to make it as green as a real one.

Why you should choose an ARTIFICIAL tree:

--In order to get a full-sized real Christmas tree, it needs to be GROWN.  That means years of watering, and you're tying up land with giant Christmas tree farms.

--Then you have to get the tree to your house.  A study by the American Christmas Tree Association found that the biggest contribution to global warming in this whole debate came from transporting real trees from farms, to lots, to your home.

But keep in mind:  The American Christmas Tree Association is actually the trade organization behind artificial Christmas trees.

--Their study took into account the full life cycle of the tree, from sapling to the stand in your living room, and found that as long as you use an artificial tree for 10 years, it will be the greener option.

--Having a real tree in your home covered in lights and paper is an obvious fire hazard.

Then there is always the fact that this could happen if you have a real tree.