Christmas Tree Buying Guide
The weather outside may be frightful, but your living room will certainly be delightful, with an easy-to-set-up and beautiful artificial Christmas tree. Today, there are many varieties of artificial trees available, which provide different looks, from realistic to more modern. Many trees also offer numerous built-in features, including built in lights and easy set-up.
The reasons for choosing artificial trees vary. Some choose the artificial trees for convenience. You can use the same tree for multiple years and they require less clean-up and maintenance. While tree longevity depends on how carefully the tree is taken apart and stored, many artificial trees can last 7–10 years. Artificial trees are also a good choice for those with allergies to real evergreens; and scent sticks are available to get the fresh cut scent.
Read our guide to choosing an artificial Christmas tree that will light up your room with holiday spirit, year after year — and without the cost, maintenance, and clean up required from real trees.
Choose an artificial tree that will suit your space and preferences. Small or table-top trees work well for many apartments, condos or just those that prefer to use a small space. These trees are typically two to five and a half feet, and many are available in pots instead of stands. Six to fifteen-foot trees are considered standard size trees. Choose the height that will fit best in your living or family room, and also consider the amount of ornaments and trim you want to use as well as your storage space.
In addition to height, you should consider the diameter of the tree. Slim, medium, standard and full diameter trees vary in how much space they take, as well as the style you desire.
Needle & Tip Styles
Perhaps the biggest differentiators in the appearance of artificial Christmas trees are the needle style and tip style. Each of these styles give the trees a distinct look, as well as advantages for set-up and tree longevity. Learn about the different needle and tip styles to determine what type of artificial tree will work best for your home and holiday décor style.
- PVC Needle and Tips— Most artificial trees that you see today are formed from PVC needle and tips, as it has been the industry standard for many years. PVC needles are made from a synthetic film material that is cut and shaped between twisted steel wire. It results in realistic looking Christmas trees that can be easily folded up for shipping and/or storage. PVC needles come in varying types, including:
- Soft needle:Realistic looking needles, which are formed from standard PVC and are typically very flexible
- Hard needle:Harder to the touch, these needles are formed from a thicker PVC, which results in a bushy style needle
- Cashmere:A type of hard needle with the needle tips distressed to appear softer
- PE Needle and Tips— Growing in popularity across the country for artificial tree sales are the PE (polyethylene) needle style trees. These artificial trees are formed with PE needles and tips and offer many advantages from the unique way they are formed. A molded branch tip is created from actual tree needles for an end result that is very realistic looking with crush-resistant needles. While these Christmas trees are more natural looking and offer a more realistic texture, they are typically more expensive.
- Foil Needle and Tips— Crafted from foil needles and tips on hinged branches, these trees offer a unique tree style with a modern look. Many colors are available and pre-lit options are offered as well.
Another thing to consider when purchasing an artificial tree is the style of branch. A standard branch will result in a full tree with tight branches, while a layered branch Christmas tree allows more space to hang your massive collection of ornaments.
If ultimate convenience is your goal, consider a self-shaping tip/branch tree. These trees save time on tree set up, letting you spend your time on more fun activities: decorating your tree and relaxing next to its warm glow. These Christmas trees ship in a larger box and pop into shape when unwrapped. However, they do require more storage space.
Christmas trees are much more than just a place to collect gifts throughout the holidays. Artificial or real, Christmas trees aren’t complete without lights. There’s nothing quite like family time spent watching holiday movies and snacking on cookies next to a glowing Christmas tree. Choose from un-lit and pre-lit artificial trees, depending on your preferences and budget.
- Un-lit Trees— Actually growing in popularity, un-lit trees take more time to trim. However, they let you choose your own lights, and give you the ability to change lights out over the years.
- Pre-lit Trees— One of the biggest time-savers of artificial Christmas trees are found in pre-lit trees. No more sorting through your collection of lights, working out knots and connecting the strings. Instead, you simply plug in the cord and enjoy the lights, which are already impeccably strung around your tree. Pre-lit Christmas trees are available with several different lighting options, which vary in appearance, maintenance, power consumption and longevity.
- Standard incandescent: These traditional lights historically offer a 2,000-hour on average lifetime. They provide a traditional, warm glow.
- Longer life incandescent:Built with chip technology, they provide longer life than standard incandescents.
- LED:Growing more popular, these lights are initially more expensive. However, they save electricity and last much longer—up to 20,000 hours on average. They are typically available in a multi-color, cool white, or warm white light options.
- One-plug trees:Offering ultimate convenience, these pre-lit trees have the power line inside the pole for sections of the tree. They typically have low voltage power to the tree and LED light options.
Trends, Tips and Extras
Much like home décor trends, the popular types of artificial Christmas trees and lights change over time. For instance, several years ago, the trend for pre-lit trees was towards multi-colored lights. Today, we are seeing the trend back to clear lights in incandescent and warm white LEDs. Many people are also gravitating to multi-function and color-changing lights. These pre-lit trees feature different light settings, which can be easily switched through a remote, inline controller or foot pedal control.
Due to many people downsizing — either their homes, or just keeping their belongings and storage spaces trim, many prefer slim tree styles. A trend towards convenience also shows an increase in one-plug construction and self-shape memory wire trims.
No matter your space and style preferences, you can find an artificial Christmas tree that will work well for you this holiday season and beyond. Once the tree is set-up, it’s time to really get creative. Get out your collection of hand-crafted and mix-matched ornaments, or shop for new, trendy ornaments that will be fresh for this year. Happy Holidays!
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