Money Talks: How To Buy a Christmas Tree

If you celebrate Christmas, chances are you've got one of these in your living room this time of year. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, American's

bought 28.2 million real trees last year, compared to 11.7 million artificial ones.

Real trees are traditional, they smell great and of course after the season is over, you just throw them away. But artificial trees, you don't have to shop every year and they're is no cleanup like there is with these guys.

But whichever way you're leaning, there are ways to buy the best for less.

You can obviously buy an artificial tree online - but did you know you can also buy real ones there too? That makes price-shopping easier: but you probably won't find the cheapest trees here.

If you're shopping for real, first, do the needle test. Grab a branch and pull it toward you. Most if not all the needles should stay on the branch.

Pick up the tree and drop it: not too many needles should fall off. The branches should be pliable, not brittle. Look for gaps and brown needles. How about artificial trees?

They come in every conceivable form: yes, even upside down. When choosing an artificial tree, make sure the branches are full

and cover the center pole. Look for one that mimics a real tree like a Noble Fir.

Super-important: how hard is the tree to put up and take down? How much room does the storage box take up when it's down?

I've got a lot more information on Christmas trees, including where to shop online, links to tree farms, instructions on caring for your tree, and

an artificial tree buying guide - it's waiting for you right here at Money Talks I'm Stacy Johnson.