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

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.