This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on items purchased through this article, but that does not affect our editorial judgement.
Artificial Christmas trees used to be derided as slightly grinch-y. But now, with the quality and realism of fake trees growing in leaps in bounds - not to mention a natural frustration with real trees’ propensity to drop needles through the house (we have hoovered up pine needles in October the year after; no exaggeration), the popularity of an artificial Christmas tree has sky-rocketed.
Add into that fresh concerns about supply shortages as a fall-out out from Brexit, and likely price rises - it’s never seemed wiser to invest in a fake plastic Christmas tree.
But they’re no ‘second-best choice’ - there are many reasons why an artificial Christmas tree may work better for you.
What are the benefits of an Artificial Christmas tree?
They last for years. A real Christmas tree can often come at a whopping price and last only three weeks, before having to be sadly discarded at a Christmas tree grave (all those orange, bare branches - so pitiful to see) while a fake one can be stored in the attic or cupboard for years of celebratory good times.
You won’t get a pine-fresh smell, true, but speaking as one for whom pine needles cause an instantaneous rash on contact and a horrible bout of hay-fever sneezing, that’s a concession many will be willing to make.
Bare or decorated?
Consider what kind of effort you want to put in once you have the tree home. Fake Christmas trees come bare, pre-lit, covered in ‘snow’, or fully decorated.
Our advice: make sure the branches are ‘hinged’ rather than hooked - this means they’re permanently attached and you don’t have to fasten them to the tree individually (a time-consuming and slightly joyless task). Mind you, if storage space is an issue, hooked is your best bet.
Price wise, be advised that as with many things - the more you spend, the better the tree is likely to look. There will be more ‘tips’ (i.e. needles) that make for that verdant, bushy look. You can spend as little as £7, while the deluxe versions head towards £10,000.
We can’t advocate for that kind of spending (although by all means, feel free!), but if you have the wherewithal, buy ‘PE’ tips, rather than ‘PVE’, as they’re moulded to replicate the look of real needles. These may be advertised as ‘true needles,’ or having a ‘real feel.’
Fake trees vary in size, as do the real ones. You can chose from a 1 footer, all the way up to a 12 foot beauty. The most commonly purchased is a 7 footer, which looks resplendent in most living rooms - i.e. big enough to fill the room without dominating. However, if you have small children, consider the 4 foot option: it will be much easier, and more fun, for wee ones to decorate.
Anything around the 7 feet mark will require a stand to keep if upright.
Here are our favourite artificial Christmas trees on the market.
That is quite a price tag, yes, but the White Company artificial Christmas trees are our favourite on the market. There is a more affordable 6ft version (£295), but the 9ft version is the show-stopper.
Nevertheless, we love this one - rich, realistically green, and a feathery look to the fir. It spreads and sits beautifully, and looks resolutely like the real thing. An investment piece.
Altogether more affordable for most, this Wayfair option presents a great, mid-range choice.
Unadorned, the emerald green is realistic (you’ll want to cover the stand at the bottom, though, which isn’t very festive), though not as densely bushy as the White Company version.
The branches are hinged, so it is ready to go - the perfect canvas if you have plenty of decorations to hand. You’ll need to buy your own lights too.
White Christmas trees have gathered apace in popularity over the past few years, and it is easy to see why: they provide quite the statement in any room.
This Christmas Tree World white tree, available in a range of heights, looks lusciously bushy - and more than a little glam.
We have a real soft spot for this 7 foot Wilko option, bedecked as it is in white, to replicate the look of a snow covered tree.
Once it is garlanded with lights and decorations, it has an utterly magic effect. With hinged branches and a built-in base, this is a great budget option.
Not cheap, no, though everlasting.
A winning tactic for a fake tree is to lean into the obvious artifice of it, rather than attempt to recreate the real thing.
This Driftwood Tree (available in two sizes) is resolutely not the real deal, which is precisely why it looks so good. The kiln-dried driftwood is both stylish and designed to last in perpetuity. They sell out every year, so get in quick
You may be fortunate enough to be able to blow the budget on a deluxe Christmas tree, in which case, head thee merry gentleman (or woman) to Selfridges, where the Rolls Royce of fake trees preside.
This 7.5 foot pre-lit Frasier Grande tree is the platonic ideal of a Christmas tree: bushy, bright, sparkly, classic.
If it’s realism you crave, the The Majestic Dew Pine Tree from Christmas Tree World is a sure bet. Made from a mix of PVC and large bottle brush branch tips, the finely crafted needles have a gorgeously true-to-life finish - this is as close to looking like a real tree as artificial trees get.
It’s available in a variety of sizes - the price and picture are the 7ft model
This isn’t the most realistic looking artificial Christmas tree on the market - the tips are the altogether less convincing PVC - but it is a great budget option if you’ve limited space.
The slim line nature of it makes it easy to wrangle into corners. It’s pre lit, as well, for ease of decorating. Great for a teeny flat.