Christmas is a season for enjoying both old traditions and new ideas. When Christmas trees were originally introduced to America, actual lighted candles were placed in the branches. This risky practice has since been exchanged for safe and versatile Christmas lights. Among the many choices available today, a tree can be decorated in a single color theme, in programmed LED Christmas lights, or in old-fashioned bubble lights. But what about the tree itself? What changes are coming for Christmas trees, and particularly for tree farmers who grow fresh Christmas trees and the people who buy and decorate them?

One of the challenges for Christmas tree farmers has been the rise of artificial trees. From natural-looking artificial trees to retro aluminum ones styled upon nostalgia for the 1950s, artificial trees have multiplied from factories, not farms. There are even artificial trees that come fully decorated with lights already attached. The appeal of these trees is their apparent convenience: they don't need to be watered, they can remain standing for months at a time, many even arrive fully decorated, and they don't trigger certain allergies.

The downside is that artificial trees lack the personal experience of a traditional visit to a tree farm, the fresh air, the choosing of a unique tree, bringing it home and decorating it with decorations that hold family memories. The twinkle of Christmas lights blends well with the smell of fresh pine and perhaps some cinnamon wafting from the kitchen. If convenience is the ruling standard for a Christmas observation, then easy-access and pre-decorated trees may meet that need. For a deep and enriching experience that builds upon meaning, tradition, and mindfulness, fresh trees and the effort involved carry their own significant reward.

Of course, there is a range of Christmas tree choices now from cutting one yourself to buying one freshly cut to purchasing an artificial tree. The variety of choices, even as they may change on some level, keep the Christmas tree tradition alive across the board. That benefits everyone involved with Christmas trees, Christmas lights, ornaments, Santa cookie plates, and children who live for that special day.

One new option available for Christmas observers is the opportunity to order live Christmas trees from Amazon. If ever there was a more impersonal convenience-oriented way of choosing a Christmas tree, it remains to be seen. In the meantime, Christmas tree farmers have new outlets for getting trees to consumers. In regions where the convenience of technological application is on the rise, this will prove quite useful. In other regions, families can still visit tree farms and have their time-honored traditions. Somewhere in between, many people will develop their own happy medium.

All traditions began as fresh and novel ideas that were carried over from year to year. Christmas, at its foundation, is not just about convenience or tradition. Both serve individuals and families in their holiday observations. Where change is appealing, traditions will shift. New ideas can provide new opportunities.