We have used the same artificial Christmas tree in our house since 2009. It was holding up well, but after a mouse made a nest and crapped all over the inside of it, it had to go.

We bought that tree the day after Christmas and got a huge discount. So when my wife told me to "burn it," we had two options. New artificial tree, or take a real tree adventure.

After shopping around for a fake tree, it was evident that we would only replace the old one after Christmas to get a steep discount. It was decided, we would have our first real tree since getting married.

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Then we shopped for the real tree. Before picking one, it occurred to me that I have absolutely no idea how one should take care of a natural Christmas tree. I googled around and found out one really important thing I would not have done. I knew it needed more water than you would think, and it needs to be checked often, but I didn't know you need to cut an inch off the bottom of the tree to reopen the stem so it can quench its thirst.

Andy Erickson/TSM
Andy Erickson/TSM
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After getting it home and setting it up in the new stand I wasn't real impressed. It looked thin and faded after being balled up in the twine. But after about 48 hours of being free of its restraints and getting all the water it could handle, it greened up and relaxed its lower branches and really looked good.

So here are three reasons you should get a natural or "real" Christmas tree.

Real trees are biodegradable

It's a tree. It came from the Earth. It will go back to the earth one way or another. An artificial tree, though it can be reused for a long time, is still going to be around in its plastic and metal forms for millennia.

Andy Erickson/TSM
Andy Erickson/TSM
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Real trees smell fantastic

I went to Black Hills State University in Spearfish. There was a sawmill just west of campus and when they were cutting wood the entire campus smelled like pine. I love that smell, as long as it comes from a tree and not an air freshener. The smell is not overpowering but it does give off a subtle scent.

Real trees look better

Our artificial tree, even when it was brand new, looked a little off. After spreading out all of the fake pine needle branches and twigs, it still was so obviously a fake tree. Even really nice trees that look very real look like they are fake. I was so impressed with how good our tree looks I am completely sold on getting one for a long time to come, even though the needle shedding is a minor inconvenience.

Real trees don't have to be stored

After getting rid of our mouse-infested artificial tree, it opened up five feet of storage space on the shelves in our garage. Having a small-ish garage as it is, there is a lot of other stuff we should throw away that could be stored there now.

TRENDING FROM RESULTS-TOWNSQUARE SIOUX FALLS:

Best Bars in Sioux Falls

There is always something different to try when you visit a local Sioux Falls bar or brewery. There could be a specialty drink at one bar and a new beer recipe at the next. It's kind of like a smorgasbord of drinks to taste test. The only problem is deciding which bars are the best bars in Sioux Falls to explore with your family or friends?

This is a difficult decision just because there are so many great local options. Luckily, our friends at Yelp identified the top ten bars in Sioux Falls thanks to numerous reviews on each establishment.

The next time it's your turn to select a bar for a night out on the town, be sure to visit one of these ten bars highly reviewed by Yelp.