One of the best things about Christmas is the decorating - that, even more than the gifts, goes into the feeling of Christmas - it is family; it is decorating the house and the tree, and sharing a dinner which has been cooking for hours.
When I grew up, there was no question in my household - it was gonna be a real tree. We even went out and cut the thing some years - I remember those trips to. But then, for various reasons I got my family a very nice, realistic looking fake blue fir Christmas tree, and before you know it we had our own traditions centered around that tree - the only difference was, we got it from the attic instead of outside.
The small rituals we set up were just as fun, and just as genuine, though - christmas trees just bring that sort of thinking. So then the question is which is more environmentally friendly? xmas trees grown from the ground or xmas trees that have been made.
The manufactured trees are usually made from some combination of plastic and metal, and you can find brands which use predominantly recycled plastic in their products. These trees have gotten better and better over the years, and now look as good as or better than natural trees - unless you opt for one of the more exotic variations, many people will have a hard time telling the difference between a manufactured tree, and a real one.
One of the best things about a good quality manufactured tree is the longevity of the product - I am planning on handing mine down to my kids, and they may be able to hand it down to theirs. That is a family tradition I can really live with, and it is what makes these trees so ecologically sound. They are built from metal and plastic, but they are a long life product that will keep people from buying and throwing away dozens and dozens of real trees.
Let's talk about them for a moment - most of them are grown on a farm, so it is not as though they are being chopped from virgin forests for your use; almost all Christmas trees were grown for that exact purpose, and it takes on average 4 to 6 years depending on how large of a tree you want.
Farming is nice, and most Christmas tree farms are smaller operations, but there is still an impact on the environment; there is fertilizer, which like most fertilizers is nitrogen rich. Almost all modern fertilizes are derived from petro chemicals, which is a main detractor. Then there are transportation costs; from the farm to the wholesaler via truck, and then to the actual sales point, and then the drive home and the drive to dispose of the tree.
In the end both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, ecologically and otherwise, so the real question is; what is easiest for you? For me, I found it was a manufactured tree, and the best place I found to buy it was The House of Christmas. They have great sales and service, and ship anywhere in Australia.
When I grew up we always had real christmas trees, but in the last years as I now have my own young family, we have bought a fake xmas tree.