Artificial Christmas trees are becoming increasingly popular due to their convenience (no watering or cleaning up fallen needles) and the wide selections now available to fit everyone’s tastes and traditions - from ultra-realistic traditional Christmas trees to vibrant colored trees in pink and blue hues. With all the choices available, how do you choose which is the best tree for you? Following are a few tips:
- Find your style and color. Choose a tree that fits both your traditions and decorating style. If you are a traditionalist or decorate with earth-toned colors, then a natural-colored green tree may be the best fit. Colorful Christmas trees, like the ones found on Treetopia.com, are also gaining popularity and are a great way to personalize your holiday decor. If you have an elegant decorating theme, then look for a tree in more subdued hues such as white, brown, or gold. For a modern twist or bold statement, have fun with a bright colored tree or go retro with a tinsel tree.
- Look for a high quality tree: One of the benefits of buying an artificial tree is that it can last for years, so avoid buying a pathetic-looking cheap tree and invest in the highest quality tree you can afford. How do you find a high quality tree? Follow these guidelines:
- Fullness: First, unless you like the Charlie Brown Christmas tree look, choose a tree with full branches so the center pole is not as visible. The general advice is to look for a tree with a high number of branch "tips," which relates to how many outer branches are on the tree – the more tips, the fuller the tree. When counting the tips, however, you need to keep in mind the style of the tree. A tree made to look like a natural tree species with more open branches (such a Noble Fir) will purposely have less branch tips than a Christmas tree with a more bushy appearance. A few very high-quality artificial Christmas trees even have faux trunks instead of center poles so these trees may have more open branches to purposely show off the inner section of the tree.
- Realistic needles: Artificial Christmas trees are made with either PE or PVC needles. PE needles are molded to look like natural tree needles. PVC needles come in two varieties – the flat, soft needles found on the majority of artificial trees or the hard, long needles found on artificial pine trees. All needle types come in different qualities. When choosing a tree with PE needles, look for higher quality needles that have subtle shading and texture variations that mimic the look and feel of real needles. An example is the "True Needle" tree by Balsam Hill. When choosing a PVC needle tree, look for a tree with accents such as tapered branches, two-toned foliage, or brown branches that give the tree a more natural look.
- Lights: One of the benefits of artificial Christmas trees are that they usually come pre-lit, which saves you time stringing lights during the busy holiday season. Look for trees that feature high quality lights backed by a long warranty. High-quality lighting features to look for include lights that stay lit if one bulb is removed or burns out, bulbs that have a locking mechanism so they don't fall out, UL approval, and features such as a remote control or foot pedal to easily turn the tree off and on.
- Hinged branches: Look for a tree with hinged branches that easily fold down during assembly instead of hooked branches that individually must be “hooked” into the trunk and are very time-consuming to assemble.
- High-quality stand: Most artificial trees come with their own stand. Look for a tree that features a sturdy, high quality metal stand with rubber feet to prevent scratching the floor.
- Warranty: Look for a retailer with a warranty on both the tree and the lights. Choose a retailer that services their warranty themselves instead of passing you off to a third party.
- Inspect your tree: When shopping online, find a retailer who has high-resolution photographs and "super zooms" that allow you to look at the details of the tree foliage. Some retailers even offer a "branch sample kit" you can order to inspect the foliage first-hand before purchase.