Christmas Tree Buying Guide

For a truly festive feel in your home, a Christmas tree is the perfect centrepiece. Artificial trees are a simple, convenient alternative to traditional real trees, with no fuss or mess, and allow you greater creativity for your festive scheme.

Christmas Tree Basics

A lot of people still love the tradition of having a 'real' tree - bringing home a tree and decorating it with the family can be an essential part of the Christmas season for many. Artificial Christmas trees can be a great alternative - they look just as good, and do not shed needles over the floor. Plus, you can use your artificial tree year after year: no more journeys to the tip in January to dispose of your old tree, simply fold it and store it until next year. Most require a little self-assembly, with some models having a simple pop-up mechanism, making them a very good option for anyone who does not have time to unfold and arrange a regular tree.

When considering buying a new Christmas tree, there are a few choices. Firstly, consider how much space you have for positioning the tree. Consider whether you'd like the tree to dominate the room or simply fill a corner. There are different shapes and widths of tree to choose from, so finding a tree with the right proportions should be easy.

There are no standard heights for Christmas trees, sizes tend to range from around 2ft (60cm) high, up to around 7ft (2.1m) tall. Smaller trees can be positioned on table-tops, shelves or sideboards if space is tight. If you have high enough ceilings, the taller trees will fill up the space more proportionately and create a grand focal point in the room.

Features and specifications to look out for when choosing a Christmas tree:

  • Base Size - usually shown in diameter - a larger base should offer more stability, however it is worth checking that you have the necessary floor space to accommodate the base, as well as checking the size of the tree generally.
  • Density - the density of a Christmas tree is often shown as the number of 'tips' - this gives an idea of how many individual branches and sprigs are on the tree. More tips means a bushier, fuller tree.
  • Pre-Lit - a pre-lit tree has some kind of illumination built into the tree, usually either LED lights or fibre-optic, or a combination of both. This can save lots of time for you as you do not need to arrange fairy lights on the tree - it is already done for you, and you can be sure the lights are arranged evenly.
  • LED Lights - trees with LED lights most closey resemble a traditional display with fairy lights. Simply add decorations and you are done.
  • Fibre Optic Lights - trees with fibre-optic lights built in offer gently but attractive lighting effects throughout the tree, and generally do not need any further decorations to be added.
  • Chasing / Sequence Lights - means that the lights on the tree have movement rather than being static. You can normally preselect a preferred animation of the lights, such as twinkling, flashing and slow glow/fade out effects. Available sequences vary from tree to tree, with most featuring a static setting so the lights are always on, if preferred.
  • Frosted - refers to an effect which can be applied to the foliage to imitate a light sprinkling of frost.
  • Pre-Decorated Trees have lights and baubles pre-fitted, so you do not need to worry about additional decorations.
  • Corner Tree - these special trees are designed to fit neatly into a corner, taking less space at the back. Good for very small rooms.

Your next choice when buying is style - artificial trees have evolved from the simple, quite basic models of the past. There is plenty of variety in terms of the foliage and density of branches, so you can get the exact look you want.

Broadly speaking, trees are either traditional (designed to imitate a real Christmas tree), or modern in style (not designed to imitate a real tree).

Traditional Style Christmas Trees

A traditional style tree is meant to look just like the real thing, with bushy, green foliage and branches that can be arranged randomly to imitate the way a real tree looks.

One great advantage of using an artificial substitute rather than a real tree is that you can be sure of a consistent shape. Real Christmas trees, being natural, tend to have gaps and irregular branches which can be tricky to decorate effectively. Choose a traditional-style artificial Christmas tree to avoid this problem whilst keeping a lovely festive feel. This kind of tree suits traditional decorations, including Victorian style bows and baubles.

Modern Style Christmas Trees

Modern designs of Christmas tree do not attempt to replicate the look of a real tree, meaning a more creative look for your festive home! The sky's the limit for design options - you can find virtually any colour you like, so matching your tree to the room decor should not be a problem.

Some designs feature spirals running around the tree rather than the usual branches. For even more colour, look for a fibre-optic tree which will illuminate the whole room.
Modern trees, depending on the particular style and finish, do not always need additional decorations.