We've seen ornaments dangling from chandeliers, strung to metal hooks and stacked in bowls, but the Christmas tree — even if it's...

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We’ve seen ornaments dangling from chandeliers, strung to metal hooks and stacked in bowls, but the Christmas tree — even if it’s fake — is still the favored base for displaying ornaments.

Although growers’ groups say biodegradable cut trees are a better choice for the environment, artificial trees are fashionable. The National Christmas Tree Association says 9.3 million artificial trees were purchased last year.

If you decide to go faux, here’s a sampling of what’s available:

Target (www.target.com) and Kmart (www.kmart.com) offer artificial trees that are remarkably realistic and with prices and varieties to fit all budgets and tastes.

For instance, a 4-foot spiral tree with 100 lights runs $99.99 at Target.com, and a 9-foot flocked, pre-lit one runs $349.99. Kmart.com offers a 6-foot Evergreen Mountain Tree by Martha Stewart Everyday for $74.99 and a Martha Stewart Everyday 7 ½-foot Eagle Mountain Tree with 800 multicolor lights for $159.99

For the more adventurous, there’s still last year’s much-talked-about, upside-down Christmas tree. These artificial anomalies, which typically come with a special stand to mount them to the ceiling or a wall, are a funky — and space-saving — twist on tradition. (With the widest part of the tree at the top, there’s more room for gifts underneath.) Wight’s Home and Garden in Lynnwood has an inverted tree called the “Umbrella” for $524.99. Kmart.com also sells a 4 foot pre-lit upside down tree with clear lights for $159.99.

The inverted tree, and other trees sure to make jaws drop, can be found in a few stores and at Dallas-based ChristmasTreeForMe (www.christmastreeforme.com).

The online retailer offers a line of unique trees, including its black Christmas tree for $399 and selections in soft pink, rose red and aqua green (check out the “Unique for Me” link on the Web site.)

The black tree, which makes for a dramatic backdrop for ornaments, was a hot pick last year among the trendy in Britain. It’s too early to tell if consumers here will go for it.

For an even edgier look, there’s the bubble tree at ChristmasTreeForMe. The “branches” of the tree look like a spiral topiary around a “trunk” that is a Plexiglas column of bubbling water. A light changes in the color of the bubbles. The bubble trees are $220-$450 depending on size.

While the upside-down tree, bubble tree and black tree are all head turners, most households opt for something more traditional.

Bill Quinn, owner of ChristmasTreeForMe.com, says many who buy artificial trees are looking for realistic versions, as well as pre-lit, which account for about 85 percent of sales.

Some artificial trees now have molded, polyethylene needles on the outside that are softer and more realistic than old “bottlebrush” trees. The molds are taken from real tree limbs and needles.

Frontgate (www.frontgate.com), the online catalog based in West Chester, Ohio, offers a line of the more realistic trees. The Noble Fir from the Natural Series Trees collection features soft bluish-green needles with a silver-green underside — like the real Northwest tree. A pre-lit 6-½-foot tree is $395. It comes with pine-scented potpourri.

Information from the Detroit Free Press and Judy Averill, digs editor, was included in this report.