z _ Christmas Tradition Genuine Facts AboutArtificial Christmas Trees (NAPSA)}—Forhundredsofyears, the Christmas tree has been a popular symbol of the holidays. Most people celebrated with a real tree until the early 2000s, whenartificial trees began to gain in popularity for their practicality. Advances in technology let designers makeartificial trees that are both incredibly realistic and durable. In 2015, 81 percent of the more than 99 million households thatdisplayed a Christmas tree used an artificial tree, according to the survey from the American Christmas Tree Association, conducted by Nielsen. Only 19 percent ofAmerican homes displaying Christmastrees last year used real trees. Artificial trees don’t need water, they don’t shed and they can last for years, saving you money overtime. If you’re looking for an artificial tree this year, go online to find the widest selection and best quality for your budget, then consider thesetips. eSize: Artificial trees are available in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit just about any home. Even lower-priced brands offer full (traditional), narrow and “pencil” trees in sizes ranging from 4 to 10 feet. Measure carefully and consider a “flatback” or cornertree if space is very tight. Setup: Today’s artificial trees are designed for easy setup but the amountof time it takes to go from box to beautiful can vary. Check out the www.TreeClassics.com Snap Tree if you want more holiday fun in less time. Available in several branch styles andsizes, this tree is stored on its rolling stand and sets up in a snap, without heavy lifting of multiple sections. Lights: Untangling and stringing lights can be difficult, which is whythe most popularartificial trees are pre-lit. “Look for 100 lights per foot,” suggests Thomas Harman, CEO of www.BalsamHill.com,retailer of what have been called the mostrealistic artificial trees on the market. “A 7% foot tree, the standard for most homes,should haveat least 750 lights on it.” Balsam Hill’s unique trunk design comes with premadelight connections—just stack the sections together andpluginto a wall socket. *Realism:Artificial Christmas trees molded from polyethylene, or PE, have what many say are the In the past 10 years, artificial Christmas trees have surpassed real trees in popularity and are now so realistic that they can mimic real tree varieties. This Ver- mont White Spruce is from a company known for high quality and striking realism. best quality, color and shape. Look for branches with a mix of brown and different shades of green in the branches. “Our designers carefully craft our trees to mimic nature using cuttings from live trees as their guides. So our Balsam Fir looks just like a real balsam fir in color and needle shape,” says Harman. For a truly different look, visit www.Treetopia.com to find tin- sel trees in a rainbowof fun colors. Warranty: A good artificial tree should last at least 10 years. Look for a warranty of no less than five years on the tree and no less than three years on the lights. Proper storage will also extend the life of the tree. Most manufacturers will provide a storage bag for the tree and recommend storing the tree in its shipping box to prevent crushing. If you still want a real, fragrant Christmastree, get the freshest one you can find—manytrees sold in lots are cut in October. Fortunately, www.GreenValleyChristmasTrees. com offers premium tree species, grown in their native soil at farms across America. Pick the date you want your tree to be hand cut. It will be cut within 48 hours and shippedstraight to your door.