It is a debate nearly as old as Christmas. Real or fake?

Does your family feature all the goodness of nature in the form of a real Christmas tree or the ease and convenience of a plastic tree?

My Parry Sound Now news decided to get the lowdown on the 2018 crop of evergreens being offered into area homes.

Terry Savory is a garden centre associate for Sandhill Nursery in Huntsville.

He says it is pretty much an even split between people who know just what they want in a tree and those with a long list of wants and needs.

“Some people know exactly what they want but a lot of people need guidance,” he agrees. “We can provide that.”

This year they have brought in 450 Fraser Firs of varying sizes. He says in terms of shape and fullness most of the trees are pretty identical. Height is where things get interesting. A typical tree is between six and eight feet tall.

The first tip he says is to be realistic about what your living room can handle. A lot of people guesstimate how tall their ceilings are and when a majestic tree comes home, some surgery may be required.

“We did have some that are three or four feet, that’s obviously a table topper,” says Savory. “They went up as high as 14 feet. You have to have pretty high ceilings for 14 feet.

“That’s a custom order because we don’t want to get stuck with something that big.”

As much difference as there is on the real vs fake argument so goes the discussion surrounding how long you can reasonably keep a tree inside.

If you are not bringing a tree inside right away, Savory says, “keep it in a cool place and it doesn’t matter if it gets frozen.”

When you are ready to bring it in make the leveling cut at the base and have water ready to go immediately. The same care you would give a bouquet of flowers should be applied to Christmas trees.

“Once it’s in the water and in the house you have to keep it hydrated,” he says. “(Add) water a couple of times a day. Two, three, four litres a day.”

And he says keep it a straight water mix. Adding sugar is not a good idea and can turn the water container into a slimy mess.

Following those watering instructions can buy you quite a bit of time. Savory has customers that put a live tree inside as early as mid-November.

The one constant reminder is that a real tree can provide a genuine fire risk to the home. Open flame must be kept away from trees and any lights with frayed wiring should be replaced immediately.