ATLANTA — ATLANTA—More and more Americans are choosing an artificial tree for Christmas, and the reasons why may bug you.

The American Christmas Tree Association says 96 million homes will display Christmas trees this year. According to a survey conducted by the association, 81% of those trees will be artificial. 

On Facebook, 11Alive viewers praise the beauty, smell, and tradition of selecting and cutting down a real tree.

“I’ve always had a real tree for Christmas,” writes Tanya Brown. “It’s a family tradition passed to me and I have passed to my kids.”

Other’s favor artificial trees.

“This year, we bought our first pre-lighted artificial spruce,” says Gary Davis. “It was very easy to install and won’t dry out.”

 Carmen Goodwin had another thought.

“We have artificial trees partly for the convenience, but mostly because I don’t want critters and bugs living in my Christmas tree,” says Goodwin. “Way too many horror stories.”

11Alive’s Why Guy spoke to Andrew Shetter of Arrow Exterminators, who says bugs in live Christmas trees are a real concern.

“We’re talking about mites, bark beetles, spiders,” says Shetter. “It’s very easy to transport them inside the house if you’re not inspecting the tree.

Shetter says there are some things you should do before bringing your real tree indoors.

“Inspect that Christmas tree with a flashlight,” says Shetter. “Shake it vigorously. Try to shake as many insects and cobwebs and dust off of that tree before you put it in your vehicle.”

For those of you who prefer artificial but want that real tree smell, there are products like ScentSicles. Made here in Atlanta, they hang on your tree like an ornament and fill the room with the fragrance of the holidays.

By the way, whether real or artificial, 16% of all Americans will have at least two trees this year.

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