Ah, the dog days of August.

Halloween stores are once again dotting the landscape. Pumpkin this and pumpkin that is everywhere, and before you can shake the sand from your swimsuit, plastic Christmas trees will sprout at a Walmart near you.

Perhaps you are still a traditionalist. No plastic Christmas tree for you, and no Christmas tree of any kind until it is Christmas season.

My mother had a rule – no Christmas tree until two weeks before Christmas. Thanksgiving was a season unto its own, and then there had to be a waiting period before the halls got decked and we all got jolly.

State Touts Real Massachusetts Christmas Trees Over Fake Trees
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Mom had a real tree until, as a working woman, she discovered the ease and convenience of a fake tree. Pay once, and it's yours for life. On January 2, Christmas was back in the box in the attic for another year.

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Many folks still prefer the freshness of a real Christmas tree, though judging by the number of households I see in Massachusetts decked to the nines the day after Halloween, I would guess plastic outnumbers natural these days.

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources makes a pitch for real Christmas trees as "the environmental choice," as they "cleanse the air by breathing carbon dioxide and emitting fresh oxygen." The DAR says real trees are "renewable, recyclable and locally grown."

State Touts Real Massachusetts Christmas Trees Over Fake Trees
Townsquare Media Photo

Agriculture officials say, "Christmas tree farms beautify the landscape, prevent soil erosion, and preserve open space." Not only that, they "provide homes for bird habitat, insects, and wildlife."

DAR says, "Christmas trees are grown on farms, just like any other agriculture crop."

The average time to grow a seven-foot Christmas tree is seven to 10 years. Popular varieties of Massachusetts-grown Christmas trees include Balsam, Concolor, Fraser, Douglas Noble Fir and Scotch Pine.

The Department of Agricultural Resources provides information about Massachusetts-grown Christmas trees and how to care for them on its website.

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