Christmas Trees? The Ultimate Buyers Guide
Your Christmas tree will be the centrepiece of your seasonal display. You have a wonderful array of Christmas trees to choose from. Whether you are searching for a large tree, a small tree, a colourful look, plenty of sparkle or a snowy feel, there’s a fabulous tree to grace your home.
But what should you consider before making your choice? Our Ultimate Buyers guide answers all of your questions and more.
Why choose artificial over real?
As your Christmas tree is such an important aspect of your seasonal celebrations, it is vital to choose the right tree for your home. Your first decision will be whether to invest in a real tree or an artificial one. While a real tree will undeniably possess a special quality, there are many reasons why an artificial tree could be a wiser investment.
You can bring out your artificial tree year after year, saving you money over time. Depending on which style you choose, an artificial tree could even cost less than a real one to purchase.
Once erected and decorated, an artificial tree requires no maintenance. It won’t need watering and it won’t drop needles all over your floor. Real trees can shed profusely, leaving you picking up needles until Christmas comes around again.
When the festive season draws to a close, your artificial tree can be packed up and stored until the following year. However, you will have to dispose of a real tree which means another trip in the car and probably a great deal of mess.
Artificial trees tend to be supplied in relatively manageable boxes and broken down into several sections. They are easy to transport home and you could have your tree delivered. Real trees, on the other hand, are difficult to manoeuvre, are very heavy and may not fit in your vehicle.
You may wish to display your tree for a considerable period of time before the big day. There’s nothing worse than a real tree which hasn’t lasted the course and has started to turn brown by Christmas. An artificial tree always looks at its best and can be displayed for as long as you wish.
Appearance and Symmetry
No matter how many real trees you see, they don’t grow to order and so it is hard to find one that is the perfect size and shape for your room. Real trees often lack symmetry and can be very wide at the base. Artificial trees are available in many shapes and sizes, ensuring that you will find one which can be accommodated in your home. You will also discover many colours and finishes to suit your taste, your theme and your décor.
As artificial trees are usually symmetrical, they are easier to decorate, and some are fitted with lights, taking the most difficult aspect of tree decoration out of the equation.
Real trees are fire hazards when they begin to dry out. Artificial Christmas trees are made from flame-retardant materials, reducing the risk of starting or exacerbating a fire.
The moulds which grow on conifers cause an allergic reaction known as Christmas Tree Syndrome. More than 50 different moulds can develop on Christmas trees and these will trigger a variety of unpleasant symptoms.
Multiple Christmas trees can be placed in different rooms
When should you be thinking about buying?
Christmas trees are usually freely available but there is always a chance that your favourite style will sell out early. After all, if you love it, so will other people. In addition, this year, supply chains may be impacted by Covid-19 and delivery systems will be stretched due to a greater volume of online sales. There isn’t necessarily a bad time to buy your tree. However, getting in early will ensure that your home will be lifted by the perfect tree and that it will arrive in plenty of time for the festive season.
What are the best artificial trees?
Artificial Christmas trees boast a variety of looks. Aesthetics are always a matter of personal taste but trees with realistic faux needles possess an air of quality and an authentic feel. Many artificial trees are modelled on real trees and their needles. These may be pine, spruce or fir trees including the lodgepole pine, white pine, Norway spruce, Nordmann fir, noble fir and Fraser fir.
All Christmas trees are conifers and it can be tricky to tell the difference between pines, spruces and firs if you don’t happen to be a botanist. When a twig bears its needles in groups of 2-5, you are almost certainly looking at a pine tree. If a twig features single needles the tree is fir or spruce. Roll a needle between your fingers. If it feels flat and won’t easily roll, it has come from a fir tree. If it has four sides and does roll easily, it belongs to spruce.
Trees can come in a wide variety of sizes and styles.
Are there smaller trees for smaller rooms?
When space is at a premium in your home, you can be left wondering where you could possibly position your tree. Happily, artificial Christmas trees are available in many sizes with some being only 2ft tall. Smaller trees may be placed strategically to create a sense of drama. You can take advantage of chests, windowsills and other elevated positions to ensure that your tree is highly visible and to avoid using up valuable floor space. You could also choose to feature multiple small trees rather than a single large tree in your decorative display. If you would prefer a floor-standing tree but your room is small, seek out a tall but slender style that won’t project too far into the room.
What should you look for when buying a Christmas tree?
There is much to consider when selecting your tree, even if you have already decided that an artificial tree would suit you best. Before you are seduced by a tree that just wouldn’t complement your home, here’s what to think about:
Where to position your tree
It is vital to decide in advance exactly where you are going to put your tree. There’s no point displaying it in a room that you rarely use or where no one can see it. For this reason, Christmas trees are best positioned in your living room, dining room or hallway.
Consider which room offers a convenient place to locate the tree and whether you are able to move any furnishings to create the space you need. Measure the width and depth of the available space to establish how wide your tree can be at the base, without becoming an obstruction.
If you have pets in your home, you could avert disaster by displaying your tree in a room that you can prevent them from entering. Many a stunning Christmas tree has been devastated by a climbing cat or a destructive doggie. The need to locate your tree in a room you can close off may impact the size and shape of the tree that you can choose.
Try to be mindful of the size of your room and the space available when choosing a tree for Christmas
The size of your room
You should try to source a tree that complements the size of your room. Even if you benefit from plenty of space to feature a larger tree, it won’t feel proportionate in a smaller room. On the other hand, a small tree in a big room will be underwhelming. Don’t be seduced by an 8ft monster that you can barely squeeze into your small hallway or a tiny but pretty tree that is almost invisible in your impressive open-plan space.
When considering the size of your room, don’t forget to establish the ceiling height. It would be extremely annoying to assemble your tree, only to find that it doesn’t fit or that you can’t add your fairy or topper.
Trees are available in a surprising variety of colours and with a considerable amount of sparkle. You will achieve the most appealing look if you select a tree and decorations which complement your décor. Try to avoid trees that clash with any decorations that you already have, otherwise you will burden yourself with the unnecessary expense of buying new ones. Picture your space when completed by a traditional, snowy, gold or silver tree and decide which colour really works.
There’s no doubt that the most troublesome aspect of tree decorating is adding the lights. You have probably experienced the frustration of having to start over when you get halfway down your tree and discover that there are no lights left! A pre-lit tree gives you greater convenience and guarantees a visually pleasing and balanced look. But dressing your tree with your own lights also has its advantages.
Adding your own lights to your tree gives you greater flexibility. You can feature as many lights as you wish, and you can choose styles and colours that create interesting effects. Better still, you will be able to change your lights in the future when the mood takes you.
Christmas is an expensive time and it would be unwise to blow all of your festive budget on your tree. Choose a tree that you can comfortably afford and remember to allow for the cost of lights and decorations if you need them. You can save money by selecting a tree of a size that suits the amount of decorations that you already have, and which complements their look. It’s also worth thinking about whether your budget will have to stretch to a second tree for another room.
Alternatives to a traditional tree
Maybe you would struggle to accommodate a Christmas tree in your home or perhaps you fancy designing a unique or contemporary look. There are alternatives to artificial Christmas trees which would be stylish additions to your home. Bare trees are excellent choices. These are smaller decorative features with no needles which are usually pre-lit. They can be suitable for displaying indoors or outside and can imbue your rooms with a subtle yet festive ambiance.
What should you do with the boxes that your Christmas decorations came in?
What goes up must come down! Always hang on to your boxes as you will need them for storage when it’s time to pack everything away. You could use other boxes but your tree and baubles are guaranteed to fit in their original boxes.
When should you put up your Christmas tree?
Trees traditionally go up at the beginning of Advent which is the 4th Sunday before Christmas. But it’s up to you when you put up and decorate your tree. Some people favour 13 December, twelve days before Christmas. Choose a day or evening when you have the time to enjoy decorating the tree with your family.
When should you take your tree down?
According to tradition, trees should be taken down 12 days after Christmas. That would be 5 January, but some people count 12 days from Boxing Day and so 12th Night would therefore fall on 6 January. In truth, the best time to take down your tree is when you have the time to do it!
Lights or decorations first?
When decorating your tree, you should dress it with your lights first and then add your other decorations. It’s easiest to add any tinsel or garlands last of all.
Fluff your branches
Before decorating your tree, take the time to fluff the branches. The faux foliage can flatten when the tree is packed in its box and will always benefit from a little attention to make the branches appear fuller.
A red theme is very traditional for Christmas and is always a winner.
The history of Christmas trees
Long before the advent of Christianity, evergreen plants and trees were used to decorate homes in the winter months. The greenery was variously symbolic of fertile crops, rebirth, everlasting life, the coming of spring and the gods. Over the centuries and in both Europe and America, it slowly became the custom to display evergreen trees at Christmas. These were primarily pagan rather than Christian symbols.
Many nations have been credited with initiating the tradition of displaying Christmas trees. The truth is almost certainly that similar practices evolved independently and then merged into the ubiquitous tree that we see today. Whatever the origins of Christmas trees, we do know that it was Queen Victoria who was responsible for them appearing in almost every home during the festive season.
In 1846, a picture appeared in the Illustrated London News, showing the Queen and Prince Albert standing with their children around a tree. Whatever Queen Victoria did, tended to become fashionable in both Europe and America. Suddenly, everyone wanted a Christmas tree.
Wishing you a very merry Christmas, from all of here at EZ Living Furniture.