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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -
It is about time for the Christmas tree to go up.
Some families head to the farm for theirs while others go to the attic or storage space and take it out of the box.
Just like no two real trees are the same, it turns out there's a big difference when it comes to artificial trees, too.
"We got an artificial tree about three years ago. That's when we decided to dispose of a real tree by burning it and the way that thing went up in flames I thought we're never having one of those in our house again," said Derek Skinner.
Some people choose their artificial tree based on color or size, but artificial tree expert Wally Kooiman you have to look even deeper than that to know that the tree you're buying is high-quality.
Kooiman operates Peppermint Forest Christmas Shop in Pineville.
"Artificial trees are gaining in popularity and the more realistic they become, the more converts we get," Kooiman said.
Today's trees are made of two types of plastic which is either cut into sheets and then cut to look like pine needles, or it is melted and molded into the shape of real branches. The technique the manufacturer chooses helps set the price of the tree.
"You need to raise those branches and take a look in there. How much of the older style material is there? The more of that, and the less of the molded branches there are, the less the tree should cost," Kooiman said.
If a tree is pre-lit it will cost more. A larger tree should have a larger pipe down the center than a smaller tree does, to hold the excess weight. Check the tips of the branches to be sure they are reinforced by wire. The higher the number of reinforced branches, the more expensive the tree, because it allows the branches to better hold the weight of the ornaments. Plus, always check out the warranty. If something happens to the tree and you have to send it across the country, or to another country, to have it fixed you may not get it back in time for Christmas.
The Skinner family loves their artificial tree. They say it's only missing one thing.
"Just the smell of that natural tree, is all," Skinner said.
There are a couple of solutions to that problem and you can hear some options by watching the web-exclusive video on this page. You can also learn how to properly store your tree in the off-season so it looks just as fresh next year.