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Tips for buying an artificial Christmas tree. How to buy a Christmas tree that looks realistic and the best time to buy it.

Artificial Christmas tree in front of buffalo check pattern curtains.

There are just so many choices when it comes to buying an artificial Christmas tree. How do you know which one to buy, especially if you are purchasing one online? Some things to consider when purchasing a fake tree is the size, lights, branch type, tree type, flocking, costs, warranty. Sound intimidating? Let’s break it all down for y

The average cost of a real Christmas tree is now $40-$100. Over the years that adds up. Where an artificial Christmas tree can last you 5-15 years. Also who wants to deal with the mess of pine needles, sap, watering the tree and bugs. Maybe it’s because I grew up with a fake tree or that fact that I like to put my Christmas tree up early but I’ve always preferred an artificial tree.

You can now get the look of a real tree when buying an artificial tree there are great options out there you just need to know what to look for.

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How to chose the right Christmas tree height?

The rule to go by is the height of your Christmas tree to be at least 6-12 inches from your ceiling. You will want to consider the size of your tree topper. If you have an 8 ft ceiling you will want to buy a 7-7.5 ft Christmas tree.

Types of Branches

Artificial Christmas trees have two types of branches PVC and PE. Historically most artificial trees were made with PVC. Now as technology gets better artificial Christmas trees start to look more realistic. PE branches are fabricated, so the needles and the branches look more realistic. PVC branches are attached using wires.

More realistic trees tend to be PE branches these tend to be more expensive but you can find some great mid range trees that have a blend of both PVC and PE branches. My new tree has 39% PE – 61% PVC. You can usually find this information under product dimensions or specifications when shopping online.

Some tree companies even sell sample branch kits like this one from Balsam Hill.

Close up of a flocked Christmas tree decorated with turquoise ornaments.

Tree Tips

When looking at the dimensions and specs of the Christmas tree you will see the number of tips listed. The more tips the tree has the fuller it is and the studier the branches. Trees with more tips are higher quality. When purchasing a tree above 7 feet it should have at least 1,000 tips. My 7.5 ft has over 2,000 tips.

Lit vs Unlit Christmas Trees

The preference is usually to buy a pre lit tree. They are easier to set up and the light placement is usually great. But there are advantages to buying an unlit Christmas tree. They typically last longer. While most trees have LED lights and claim to last 10 years. I have had many trees where the lights have gone out or couldn’t be replaced which led me to buy a new tree. If you buy an unlit tree you can typically upgrade to a nicer tree for the same price.

You will also want to consider how many lights are on the tree. I like a 7 ft tree to have at least 400-600+ LED lights.

There are two options for how the lights are powered. The most up to date is having the power run through the pole. Meaning once you add each tier it will power the next when the poles are connected. There are also trees where each tier of the tree plugs into each other. I prefer the pole power. It makes for easier set up.

Fake Christmas Tree decorated with red plaid ribbon in from of buffalo check curtains.

White lights vs multi-colored lights

If you are buying a lit Christmas tree, which is my preference, there are a few things you want to consider. First the color of lights. Do you like white lights or multi-colored lights? Want both? A lot of tree companies now offer Christmas trees that are programed for multiple colors. If you are buying white light tree make sure that it’s a warm white. Bright white lights tend to look blue and stark.

White lights are a great choice if you are trying to elevate the look of your tree. Where multi-colored lights are fun and nostalgic. My parents have a memory tree with all our childhood ornaments. On these trees we prefer the multi-colored lights. But on my elevated themed trees I prefer a warm white light.

Flocked vs. non flocked

A flocked Christmas tree looks like it has been dusted or covered in snow. A non flocked tree is just referring to a traditional green Christmas tree. Keep in mind that all flocked trees are not created equal. If you are looking for a flocked tree that doesn’t shed a ton you will need to spend a little more money. I have had great luck with trees from King of Christmas. In fact I have this 7 ft flocked tree and this 7.5 ft Queen slim flocked tree.

Much like real Christmas trees artificial trees are modeled after real trees. You will see blue spruce, Fraser fir, Douglas fir, Yorkshire fir, pine and the list goes on. This typically refers to the type of branches, color and shape of the tree.

Accented Christmas Trees

Have you heard of accented Christmas trees? Accented Christmas trees may have the addition of pine cone or red berries. They are fun but keep in mind will your style change in the next few years. Will you want accents on your tree?

A Buffalo Check Flocked Christmas Tree in a living room.

How to find the best deal on an artificial Christmas tree

The best deal you will find on an artificial Christmas tree is in July or right after Christmas. Yes I said July! Christmas in July is huge for Christmas tree sales. Often times they will have left over stock that they want to clear out before the next holiday season begins. Same with after Christmas.

Don’t want to wait until after Christmas? How I buy most of my trees is open box sale from King of Christmas. They almost always have open box Christmas trees. I own three open box trees. They’ve all come in perfect condition. Now I am not sure if they were returns or what but I do know that I got them for over 50% off of the retail price of the tree. In fact I just got this $699 tree for $260!

Don’t want an open box tree but still want a deal. Michaels has a tree event every year it’s usually around the first week of November. Now this is a popular event. I suggest that you check online to make sure your store has the tree you’ve been looking for. Buy online and pick up in store just so you know it will be there. Two years ago I got this pencil tree for my office for only $35. Check out how I decorated it here.

Pink and Glam Christmas Tree in a bedroom in front of a wallpapered accent wall.

Best places to buy artificial Christmas trees

  • Balsam Hill- This is going to be your high end Christmas trees. The best quality and also the most expensive.
  • King of Christmas- Great quality on the higher end but has some great sales. Check out their open box clearance. I own 4 of these trees and highly recommend them.
  • Costco- Check out your local wholesale club. Costco has amazing quality trees and some larger trees if you have high ceilings. Don’t forget to check out their online selection as well.
  • Michaels- This is going to be in the middle for quality but great for your budget. Watch out for the Michaels tree event. It’s the best time to buy and usually at the beginning of November.
  • Target- While Target is no my favorite place to buy trees they do have some good options and they occasionally will have a sale or a deal in the app. It’s also a great place to go after Christmas for their clearance.
  • Walmart- Has some great options for trees. Especially flocked trees. They aren’t as full and they may shed a little more but once you fill it with ornaments and garland you can still have a beautiful tree.
  • Facebook Marketplace- If you are on a tight budget, looking for a second tree or maybe a tree to put on your porch check out facebook market place or the thrift store. My sunporch tree for years was a hand me down tree. I put out an in search of post (ISO) and someone was moving across country and didn’t want to bring their tree. Can you believe I ended up getting it for free? That Kmart tree for 5 years! Having a Christmas tree does not need to break the bank always keep your budget in mind.

Honorable mention At Home stores. While I haven’t seen their trees in person I have heard great things about them. They also have some great color selections if you are thinking of doing something non traditional.

Open Box Artificial Christmas Trees

These are all open box trees that I personally own and have bought open box from King of Christmas.

Plaid Christmas Tree on a sunporch with two accent chairs.

Can you believe this was the hand me down tree that I got for free? It was not a very full tree at all but by adding in floral pics, ribbon and various size ornaments I was able to make it look higher end but without the cost.

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About Michelle Beaton

Welcome to Weekend Craft. Life is busy so I am all about getting projects done on the weekend, whether it be crafts, DIY, home decor, or crafting with your Cricut.

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