Choosing a new artificial Christmas tree isn’t as easy as one would think. There is more to the process than most people realize and choosing the wrong Christmas tree for your home can cost you money and give you a headache. My initial idea would be to simply go to the store, put the cheapest tree available into the shopping cart, pay for it then go home. Choosing the cheapest Christmas tree has brought us to where we are now – three years later with a chintzy tree full of broken limbs, missing greenery and non-working pre-lit bulbs. This year, I will be buying a new artificial Christmas tree for my home and here are a few of the things I have found necessary in choosing a sturdy, long-lasting artificial Christmas tree.
Choosing an Artificial Christmas Tree: Price
Decide on the maximum amount of money you are willing to spend on an artificial Christmas tree. While you don’t want to spend too much money, you do want your money’s worth: An artificial tree that will stand up to use year after year. Check and compare prices at local stores and shop around before making a decision.
Choosing an Artificial Christmas Tree: Size
Size does matter when it comes to Christmas trees. Before you go shopping, decide where you plan to put your Christmas tree – not just the room, but the exact spot in that particular room. Measure (yes, with a measuring tape) the height of the ceiling at that spot and the width around. You want a Christmas tree that doesn’t brush up against the ceiling, after all – what do you plan to put at the top of the tree? There needs to be enough room for a star or angel or other tree topper.
Will the tree be too large for the space? If you have a very small living room that is already cramped and crowded, you don’t want to make it more crowded with a large tree that overwhelms the room. For a small room, a tabletop Christmas tree could be the best choice.
On the flip side, a large, spacious room will swallow up a small Christmas tree. Choose a large tree that fits in with the scale of the room.
Choosing an Artificial Christmas Tree: Lights
I personally prefer a pre-lit Christmas tree. Why? Because I’m somewhat lazy and hate untangling strings of Christmas lights. Pre-lit Christmas trees are usually more expensive than undecorated artificial Christmas trees.
Artificial trees with fiber optic tips are also available but tend to be more expensive than traditional pre-lit trees. If you are trying to spend as little money as possible while bringing home the best tree you can afford, a plain, unlit artificial tree might be the best choice.
Choosing an Artificial Christmas Tree: Tree Tips
The artificial Christmas trees with the higher number of tips and branches will be the most realistic. I know this because I opted for the cheapest pre-lit tree I could find. It makes Charlie Brown’s little spindly tree look fluffy. There is about 10 inches between each row of branches on my tree and that’s too much space to create a full, healthy fake tree look.
You can compromise by wrapping the space between the branch rows with realistic-looking green garland, but your best bet is to choose a tree with close-spaced rows. Most stores (Target, Wal-Mart, Sears, Menards, Lowe’s, Home Depot) will have an example of each. Look them over carefully to determine row spacing.
Choosing an Artificial Christmas Tree: Ease of Setup
I grew up in an era of artificial trees that needed to be put together one branch at a time. Each branches was plugged into a hole on the single tree pole that would be locked into place in the tree stand. The branches were marked with colors and each color went on a specific row on the tree.
Today, most artificial trees have skipped this step. The branches are attached to the pole and hinge against the pole when not being used. This makes it much easier to put the trees together. If you have the budget available, look for a tree that comes in two or more sections that simply slide or snap together. After this important step the branches simply need to be fluffed and the tree is ready for decorating.
Choosing an Artificial Christmas Tree: Finally. . .
The best part of shopping for a new Christmas tree is the act of actually doing it. Take the whole family along and make it an opportunity for family fun.