Picking out the perfect tree each Christmas has become a holiday tradition in many families. Whether you go each year to pick out a live tree or every few years to pick out an artificial one. Real trees have a pleasant evergreen smell and feel. They also require some preparation and care but this is a valuable part of the holidays. On the flipside, artificial trees also offer some unique bonuses like, being easy to set up, hypoallergenic, and they come in style and colors that don’t occur in regular trees. Let’s dive into what goes into each type of trees, so you can decide which one is right for your family.

Christmas Tree Shopping Tip

Before you head out with the family to pick out your tree, whether it be live or artificial, measure the area you want the tree to be displayed. Check the height of the ceiling and available space needed to accommodate the width of the tree. The last thing you want it to get the tree home and have a repeat of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

Artificial Christmas Trees

There are several things to keep in mind when shopping for an artificial Christmas tree, size, style, and features.


Typically, full-size artificial trees range in height from 6.5 to 12 ft, which will accommodate just about ceiling height. There are also slim trees and full girth trees to choose from. So depending on whether this tree is going to be the main feature of the home or placed in the corner as a small decoration, be sure to measure the space before buying.


Artificial tree needles are created using extruded Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) or molded Poly-Ethylene (PE) or a combination of both. Either material expertly replicates the look of pine, fir, or other evergreen trees. Colors vary from a mix of greens to several other colors.


Most artificial trees are pre-lit, meaning the lights are already installed. These lights may be incandescent or LED bulbs in multi-color, clear, color changing or random shimmering lights. There are also flocked trees to make it look snow-covered and self-shaping trees have wired in branches to make the tree expand to its original shape when removed from the box.

Real Christmas Trees

The most popular real Christmas trees come from the pin or fir species. Choosing the right type depends on your personal taste and regional availability.

Pine Trees- Pine trees have long, slender needles 1 inch to 6 inches long attached in clusters to branches. These trees vary in shades of yellow-green and blue-green.

Fir Trees- Fir trees have flat and waxy needles up to 1.5 inches long attached directly to branches in long, dense rows. Color varies from yellow-green to dark green, and some trees have touches of reddish-brown on the buds. Firs have a very noticeable fragrance. Firs also have more flexible branches than pines and spruces and will shed some needles. The best varieties are Grand, Fraser, Noble, Balsam, and Douglas.