How to Choose an Artificial Christmas Tree
Modern offerings for artificial holiday trees are very realistic, and the choices seem endless. From a few feet way, it is often hard to tell the difference between a new, artificial tree and a fresh cut tree. This is because the needles and branch patterns of fake trees are now made from innovative materials, and molded from branches taken directly from live trees.
Artificial Christmas trees sometimes get a bad Christmas wrap. Die hard live tree fans claim that there is nothing more genuine than a live tree. Just the other day, we spotted a hand marker-ed sign near a local Christmas Tree stand. It read: “Have a real Christmas. Get a real tree.”
Well, implications of the true meaning of Christmas aside, you can have a real Christmas with an artificial tree. They are more popular than eve because of the many good reasons to buy an artificial Christmas tree.
The benefits of an artificial Christmas tree include:
Selecting an artificial tree is a personal family choice. Here is a comprehensive guide to choosing the best artificial Christmas tree for your home.
Choosing the Size of a Christmas Tree
The height of your tree will largely depend on your home and the space in which the Christmas tree will be displayed. Measure carefully, and allow enough room between the tree and the ceiling to allow for a tree topper. Artificial trees come in a variety of heights, from table top trees to majestic 12-foot high trees. Most styles are available in half-foot increments.
In addition to height of the tree, there are three width options, to accommodate your personal space and style: full, slim, and pencil thin.
Prelit Christmas Trees and Embellishments
Prelit Trees: The trend for prelit trees is growing. Essentially, strands of lights are already installed into the tree, eliminating the need for stringing lights, unstringing lights, detangling lights, and cleaning up lights, each year. White lights are the most popular, but colored lights are also available. Different styles of bulbs are available.
The downside is if a strand goes bad, replacing the lights is a complicated process, so complicated that many homeowners simply choose to buy a new tree. If you choose a pre-lighted tree, pick one that has an “always on” feature, which means if one light burns out you won’t lose the whole strand. In reality, many “always on” trees don’t live up to this promise, so make sure the selected tree comes with a warranty.
You can’t change the size, style or color of the lights that are pre-installed, and using special animated ornaments that take advantage of the lights or light sockets on the tree is not recommended, and this use often voids the tree warranty. Look for a pre-lit tree that contains 80-100 good quality lights per foot, for the best results.
Flocked Trees and Accented Trees: Some artificial trees come with flocking, which is glitter or snow. The dusting can vary by style, with some trees displaying more than others. Other elements, such as pine cones or berries may be options as well. Flocking and accents that come with a tree cannot be removed, so make sure the style is one you can live with from year to year.
Traditional Christmas trees come unlit and unembellished. They give you the most options for creativity and the ability to vary decorations each season.
Christmas Tree Styles and Craftmanship
Most artificial Christmas trees are crafted to resemble the real needles of pine trees or fir trees. You may find trees that mimic the most popular varieties, such as Mountain Ridge Spruce, Scotch Pine, Fraser Fir, Balsam, and Douglas fir.
Some materials used to construct the trees are more realistic than others. Branch tips molded from polyethlene give a natural appearance. Often, traditional PVC needles are also used near the truck, to give a tree its fullness.
When shopping, make sure to examine trees on display before making your decision.
Artificial trees are constructed in two ways: single pole trees or frame trees. Single pole trees feature hinged branches. The pole sections fit together, and the branches are simply opened up. Set up takes just a few minutes. Frame trees consist of a pole into which branches are set individually into notches or holes. Branches are usually numbered or color coodinated at the ends to make assembling easier.
What is the Best Tree for Me?
The tree you choose will be part of your family’s holiday memories through the years. It will appear in photos and on Christmas cards, greet guests when you entertain, set a festive scene for passerby, viewed through your windows, and more. It is important to keep all of this in mind.
When buying a Christmas tree:
Image Source: Balsam Hill