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Your Expert Guide To Artificial Christmas Trees.

No Christmas is complete without a Christmas tree and artificial trees have been a staple of the festive season for decades, but with so many to choose from how do you know which tree is best for you? Here is your expert guide on choosing, buying and caring for your very own artificial Christmas tree.

Artificial Christmas trees can be the perfect choice for decorating your home this Christmas, they come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, a multitude of colour and lighting options and the level of quality now compared to many of our childhoods is absolutely staggering. Many high quality artificial Christmas trees now are indistinguishable until you get really close, and even then it can be difficult to tell them apart!

This expert guide to choosing and buying an artificial Christmas tree will outline everything you need to know about these perennial festive favourites and help you decide which tree is best for you.

The difference between artificial and natural Christmas trees.

The most striking difference is a very obvious one, one is real, the other is not, but the real difference is in the practicality. There are a lot of fantastic reasons to buy a real tree too of course, but they do have a lot of care needs. You will need to water them, clean up after them … it’s like having a new pet for Christmas and who needs that?

Artificial trees do still need cleaning from time to time, but that takes nowhere near as much effort as cleaning up after a real tree. They also have the distinct advantage of not dying once Christmas is over, so there is no waste to dispose of, you simply pack it back in its box and put it away again for next year!

Then of course there is the cost. Now you can easily spend as much or even more on an artificial tree than you can on a real one, or you can spend much less depending on your budget. It is of course entirely up to you. The best thing about artificial trees though is that they are a one time purchase. An initial investment now can get you a tree that may last you a lifetime!

How much should you spend on an artificial Christmas Tree?

This is really a question only you can answer as it will entirely depend on how much you can spare. As a very general rule of thumb it is a good idea to view buying an artificial Christmas tree as an investment. Remember, this is a tree that you will be getting out again and again, year after year, so it should be something that you look forward to dressing and showing off. No matter what budget you have and no matter what tree you get, it will look fantastic in the space you choose to put it.

One other factor to consider when budgeting for your tree is decorations and lighting, and these can really add up if you aren’t careful. One advantage of artificial trees is that you can choose one that is already pre lit, which will save you spending money on lights.

What size Christmas tree should you get?

Artificial Christmas trees come in all shapes and sizes and it can really be tempting to go full on Griswold family Christmas and try and stuff a tree twice the size of your house into a small living room. Don’t do that. The best thing about artificial trees is that they literally come in so many shapes and sizes from pencil thin, small trees to huge ten foot pines so you can pick your perfect spot and find a tree to fit it rather than the other way round. 

In general it is a good idea to leave at least six to ten inches of space between the top of the tree and your ceiling, as well as enough room around it for all those presents! 

How long do artificial Christmas trees last?

Good quality artificial Christmas trees can last many years if they are kept and stored properly. Provided you are careful when you take them up and put them down and give them a good clean before you put them away again, there is no reason why they shouldn’t last a lifetime.

Are artificial trees sustainable?

One of the biggest criticisms of artificial trees is that they are just not sustainable because many are commonly made out of polyethylene plastics and use up a lot of fossil fuels in the manufacturing process. That is a very fair point and one that really cannot be argued with, that is if you take the view that no plastic can ever be used anywhere, but that isn't exactly realistic is it? This common statement also assumes that all real Christmas trees come from FSC standard sustainable sources too, and many don’t. The truth is there is good and bad sides to both choices. Yes, there is an argument that plastic isn't great, fair enough, but the fact that they can literally last a lifetime if you look after them well does negate that to a very large extent. The fact that you own something that is not disposable, take good care of it and simply never have to buy another one is the very definition of sustainable.

What style of artificial tree should you buy?

There are so many styles and variations of artificial Christmas tree available now there is bound to be one that suits your individual style. From trees of every colour to fibre optic trees, half parasol trees to snow flocked trees and many more besides, you are sure to find one that fits in with your room, decor or even Christmas decoration theme.

There are artificial trees based on their real life counterpart species of fir, spruce or pine for those looking for a more traditional, realistic look, some of them even come partially decorated with realistic looking pinecones or berries for that extra bit of detail. At the more expensive end of the scale there are artificial trees that are made from injection moulded polyethylene for that full, natural look. 

Many artificial trees even allow you to move the branches to your taste, making them seem more natural as well as making it easier to hang decorations off them. Others are more rigid, but those generally tend to be more cost effective.

If you are the sort of person who likes to colour coordinate your Christmas theme then there are white, champagne gold or even rose coloured options to choose from rather than the traditional green.

Which style you buy is essentially down to your own personal taste, but one thing buying an artificial tree gets you is a lot of choice!

What is a flocked tree?

A flocked tree, sometimes called a snow flocked tree or silver tipped tree is simply an artificial tree where the green tips have been coloured with a dusting of white to give the appearance of natural snow covered branches. 

The name actually comes from the process of attaching the tiny white fibres to the tips and branches, known as flocking. These types of tree are perfect for someone who really wants minimal decorations on their tree and wants a more authentic, outdoors appearance instead.

What is a half parasol Christmas tree?

A half parasol tree is pretty much as it sounds, it is a normal Christmas tree with the lower branches cut off so that the top half remains standing on a long, bare trunk and it essentially looks like a parasol hanging over the presents underneath. It looks strange, there is no denying that, but they are extremely popular with families with young toddlers or playful or vengeful cats who may take an interest in the lower branches of a normal tree. This keeps the top half of the tree relatively free from destructive little hands or paws while still giving a festive feel.

Should I buy a pre lit or unlit artificial Christmas tree?

Pre lit christmas trees are extremely popular, mainly because they are easier than having to deal with miles of cables, they look great and generally don’t cost extra, but if you like the tradition of dressing your tree with lights there are some downsides to that too. So what do you need to keep in mind when looking at either a pre lit or unlit Christmas tree?

Pre lit Christmas trees.

  • Come in a wide range of LED or fibre optic colours and styles.
  • Lights are fixed, meaning you have to decorate around them.
  • Easier and quicker to set up and put away.
  • Can sometimes be slightly more expensive than unlit versions of the same tree.

Unlit Christmas trees.

  • Much more versatile when decorating the tree as you can place free standing lights and decorations where you like.
  • Can be more of a hassle to set up and put away.
  • Looks much more natural on realistic trees.
  • May be more expensive as you will have to buy lights separately.

How to fluff your artificial Christmas tree.

Fluffing your artificial Christmas tree simply means taking the time to separate all the branches and tips from each other when you get it out of the box so that it looks ‘fluffed up’ and natural rather than flattened. Hence the term.

It can be a little time consuming, especially if you have a big tree, but is well worth it to make your tree look its best, and can even be turned into a family tradition alongside putting on the decorations! Put your favourite Christmas music on, get the kids involved and get that tree ready for decorating!

It is actually a lot easier than it sounds and not really complicated at all. If you start at the bottom and work your way up it is easier to get to every branch and make sure you don’t miss any. Just take each larger branch and pull them so that they are relatively evenly spaced and looking natural, and then take the smaller branches and tips and separate them so they are all straightened out and not lying flat against the main branch and each other. 

If you turn the edge of each tip up very slightly too it makes it much easier to hang decorations off later. 

Now all you have to do is a quick arrangement of each branch to make the tree look naturally ‘fluffed up’ and cover up any gaps. 

How to take care of and clean your artificial Christmas tree. 

Artificial trees are extremely easy to look after. They don’t need watering, pruning or tending to like real trees, but they do still need a little bit of care and attention and it is really important that you clean them from time to time. You won’t need to do this very often, especially if you only leave your tree up for a month or two like the majority of people. If that is the case giving it a quick once over when you unpack it and then again before you pack it away should suffice.

Once it is standing bare, either straight out of the box or after all the decorations have been removed and safely stored away for next year, simply take a soft, dry cloth or a fibre duster and brush lightly down each branch. Make sure you are fairly gente here as you don’t want to damage any of the tips. 

If your tree is pre lit make sure you carefully wipe between each bulb or fibre optic cable too, again without too much pressure to avoid any damage.

If you have a small portable vacuum that has a brush head attachment then some trees are okay to give a light going over with, but again be careful and don’t do it with a powerful vacuum as you may damage some of the tips or lights. 

Then wipe the cloth over the stem and the stand. 

That is all it takes, it really is that simple!

How to store your artificial Christmas tree.

Once Christmas is over you will obviously want to store your artificial tree safely for next year. The obvious way is to keep the tree in the box it came in, but if you do that then you may want to wrap the tree itself, or even the box as well in a bin bag or something similar to protect it from dust and other elements while in storage. If you do this, it is really important that you fold the branches away carefully and avoid the temptation to stuff or squash it back into the box as this could damage the branches or the lights if it is a pre lit tree. Alternatively, you can buy a separate canvas bag or even a large plastic storage box that can be sealed and is big enough to store it safely. Remember, this may be an extra up front expense at first but can be an investment if it keeps your tree like new year after year.  

Final considerations. 

At the end of the day there is no such thing as a bad Christmas tree! Even the smallest, sorriest, most tattered of trees still have a festive charm all to themselves. So no matter which type of tree you choose, if you look after it well it will last a lifetime and will give your home that instant Christmas feel year after year!

If this guide has helped make your mind up about getting an artificial Christmas tree, feel free to come and check out our full selection here, and get in touch if you still have any questions. Our office elves are always happy to help.