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A red, white and blue ... Christmas tree?

Getting ready to get your tree set up for the holidays? Here's what you need to know about your tree options, from natural and artificial trees to the truly funky.
/ Source: TODAY

What's Christmas without a tree? Each holiday season, shoppers find themselves confronted with a choice: Celebrate with a fresh, natural tree, or an artificial tree made of plastic or aluminum? Landscape designer Ahmed Hassan, host of DIY's “Yard Crashers,” offers a rundown of natural, artificial and even funky tree options.

Natural treesOne benefit to choosing a natural tree, of course, is authenticity, right down to the pine-y aromas. Plus the use of real trees is more earth-friendly, as they are 100 percent biodegradable. Here are some options:

Fraser fir tree

  • Trees grow to almost perfect shapes
  • Attractive one-inch needles are silvery-green and soft to touch
  • The space between branches makes them easier to decorate
  • The firm branches hold heavier ornaments
  • If properly watered, fir has excellent needle retention
  • Average cost is $10 per foot

You can use an evergreen watering system with this tree. This one from Evergreen Seasons comes in a variety of styles. It looks like a present but contains water in a 3.5 gallon reservoir for your tree.

To protect your tree from fires, try No-Burn's nontoxic Christmas Tree Fire Gard spray ($19.95; Spray your real Christmas tree 24 hours before decorating.

Live Ball and Burlap Norway Spruce trees 

  • You can use these as your Christmas tree, and then plant in your yard the week after Christmas
  • In the house, put it in a pot and keep it moist (but not soaked)
  • After Christmas, you can plant in areas of country where the ground isn't frozen
  • Make sure to add mulch to keep the roots protected
  • Water regularly for first two weeks to ensure the roots take
  • Check out your local Christmas tree grower association to find out locations in your area that carry these
  • Average cost: $55

Artificial trees One of the benefits of an artificial tree is that it is less work — 80 percent of artificial trees sold today come with lights, in fact. You'll always get a perfect shape, there's no watering involved, plus they are made with fire-retardant foliage. Finally, they are an investment, and may even save you money over time. Here are some artificial tree options:

Balsam fir

  • Size range: 4.5 ft. to 9 ft.
  • Price range: $179-$999
  • Two-toned needles
  • Soft slender branches
  • Full and dense to cradle ornaments
  • Comes with either clear or color lights with remote control to switch between the two

More info at

Instant evergreen

  • Looks like Colorado Mountain Spruce
  • Exclusive “pull up” design
  • New in 2008 
  • Sets up in just minutes
  • Unit price: 6 ft. tall: $279

More info at

Funky artificial trees

Stephen J. Colbert National Treasure Tree 

  • New 2008 election tree
  • Price: $299
  • Includes a rotating stand

More info at

Bottom's-upside-down Christmas tree

  • Light color: clear, light count 500 
  • Price: $229
  • This artificial tree is upside-down; the star is in the tree stand

More info at

Flatback artificial tree 

  • Space-saving design that looks like a full tree but takes up half the space
  • Designed for studios, small apartments
  • Price: $339

More info at

The Fraser fir and Burlap Norway Spruce appeared on TODAY courtesy of Simonson Farms.