While you may be thinking about digging out the tinsel for your real Christmas tree, here are five reasons why trees are really, really good for you.

The air that you breathe

Trees clean the air we breathe by trapping pollution on their leaves and bark, and improve air quality by absorbing odours and pollutant gases. An acre of mature trees can provide enough oxygen for 18 people a year.

Temperature control

Trees help keep homes warm in winter and cool in summer.  In winter, trees break up wind flow around buildings, reducing wind tunnel effects, and retain heat from winter sun (which counts as a solar gain). In the summer, they provide shade and release moisture which helps cool down their environment.

[Read more: Are there more people or trees in the UK?]

Natural sunscreen

Trees reduce UVB exposure by about 50% and protect children and families enjoying the great outdoors during the summer months, thus reducing the risk of skin cancer and offering natural shade from the midday sun.

Food for thought

As well as providing us with baskets of tasty orchard fruits, trees provide food for birds and wildlife. Sycamores and oak trees are among the many species that provide homes for birds, bees, squirrels and other small creatures.

Leafy view

The beauty of a tree-lined street, or simply a window overlooking a tree, has been shown to improve office workers’ job satisfaction. Recent studies also suggest a calm, leafy setting can be linked with the longevity of senior citizens as it inspires them to go for a walk outdoors and take some exercise.

Real or fake Christmas tree – which do you prefer? Tell us in the Comments box below.