an interesting article on the relative merits of real vs. artificial Christmas trees. Is it better to go out and get a tree from a tree farm that you'll keep for about a month, then throw out? Or is it better to get a tree you can reuse each year, but may be coated with dangerous chemicals and will wind up in the landfill anyway? I myself like natural trees but the wastefulness of it does get to me sometimes. Not to mention that I often find big trees (which tend to be the norm) a little garish and oppressive.
One possible workaround (based on this idea by Tyler Cowen) is to get something you can keep and use in your house, but also resembles a traditional pine tree. To wit, a rosemary bush: Cut properly, it looks like a mini-pine tree which you can decorate (as seen above), it doesn't dominate your living room, and after Christmas, you can use the rosemary sprigs for cooking. Who says ornamental things can't be practical as well?