The holidays are upon us, which means Christmas trees are making their way into homes all across the country. Believe it or not, Christmas trees have been a part of American holiday celebrations since the 1850s. And no surprise, tree-trimming has become one of the most anticipated holiday traditions in many households.
However, while real, chopped-down-by-hand Christmas trees are emblematic of the holidays, they’re not the only options nowadays. From Noble Firs to tinsel trees, you’ll find different Christmas tree types in all shapes and sizes. What kind of tree you prefer is up to you, but we’re here to help make it easier to decide.
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Get to know the five most common Christmas tree types and learn the pros and cons of each!
Live Christmas Trees
The Fraser Tree
Live Fraser trees have become a classic American staple — they’re the most popular choice of the Christmas tree types for the holidays in the US! Similar to Douglas Firs, Frasers tend to be more slender and have blue-green needles with silvery undersides. This gives them an extra lush look and a nice glimmer when strung with lights.
- Great for Lots of Ornaments: Frasier trees have upturned and stiff branches that make them perfect for hanging ornaments by the handful.
- Stays Fresh and Lush: The needles retain their color for a long time, so your tree will stay fresh through the end of the year. This makes Frasers perfect if you like keeping your tree for a while.
- No-Shed Needles: Fraser trees don’t shed needles as quickly as other varieties, even if you forget to water them once or twice throughout the holiday season.
- Beautifully Fragrant: These trees have a strong, fresh scent!
- Fits Anywhere: They’re compact, so Frasers can tuck nicely into corners and also work in smaller spaces.
- High Price Tag: Fraser trees grow slower, which makes them a more expensive option.
The Noble Fir
Slender, tall, and narrow, Noble Firs, with their signature a triangular shape, are a leaner variety of the Christmas tree types.
Just as lush in color as their Douglas and Fraser counterparts, Noble Firs also have deeper grey-green needles. Their branches grow horizontally in different bunches with larger amounts of space in between, which provides lots of room for ornaments to hang. They’re also lightly scented if you’re looking for just a touch of fragrance in the air.
- Sturdy Branches: Noble Firs are the tallest of the Christmas tree types and have the strongest branches. This makes them a good choice if you’re looking to hang large and heavy ornaments (think gingerbread houses, silver bells, mini angel figurines).
- No-Shed Needles: Noble Firs don’t shed their needles hardly at all, meaning they’ll last longer than most other Christmas tree types.
- Skinny Looks: Noble Firs have a less full look than most other Christmas tree types. So if you’re looking for a more robust tree that’s decked out with lights, ribbons, and lots and lots of ornaments, this might not be the right option for you.
The White Fir (or Concolor Fir)
Also known as the Colorado White Fir tree, this lush evergreen is native the mountains of the western United States. Its branches grow in a spiral shape and have long, lush needles, resulting in tree that’s dense from top to bottom!
- Full Foliage: If you’re looking for a tree that’s big, fluffy, and perfectly shaped, the White Fir is a great option.
- A Sweet Citrusy Smell: Many people love White Firs because they have a unique citrus scent that ushers in the holiday spirit. But if you prefer the smell of fresh pine, maybe consider another of the Christmas tree types instead.
- Colors Fade: The needles on this tree variety don’t hold their color as well. While they start off as a bluish-green, they eventually fade to a duller green hue as the tree ages.
- Medium-Weight Branches: Smaller ornaments are best on White Firs as the branches are only moderate in strength and won’t be able to hold heavy trinkets like other trees.
Artificial Christmas Trees
The Pre-Lit Tree
While fresh Christmas trees are lovey, they do require a good amount of work. Think hassling with the tree stand, watering daily, and dealing with a floor full of fallen needles.
Fake trees can save you from all that hassle, and they’re just as beautiful, like this pre-lit faux Frasier tree, which has glittering frost-speckled needles molded from natural cuttings.
- Easy to Maintain: Set up is a breeze! You assemble the different parts of the tree, plug it into the wall, and it’s ready to go.
- Built-in Sparkle: The snow-dusted branches give this pre-lit fake tree a glimmering, wintry look that never fades. Even real trees can’t compete with that.
- Zero Pickup: There are no fallen needles to clean-up. Simple as that.
- Less Personal: You can’t change the color of the lights that come with pre-lit trees and many people find they have to use specific ornaments to compliment the shape or style of the tree.
- Not Fragrant at All: Needless to say, unlike real trees this fake version doesn’t give off that signature sweet, fresh-chopped Christmas tree scent.
- Surprisingly Pricey: Many pre-lit trees come with a hefty price tag. But if you don’t plan on re-purchasing a real tree yearly, this could be a worthy investment.
The Tinsel Tree
Christmas trees don’t come any sparklier than Silver Tinsel trees, which have a retro look that’s reminiscent of 1950s aluminum trees (Charlie Brown Christmas, anyone?). Because it’s all silver, light reflects beautifully from the branches and brings a cozy and magical ambience to any room.
- Choose Your Color: You’ll find tinsel trees in a range of color options, so you can be be sure this type of tree will bring a unique look to your space.
- Minimal Decoration Required: Tinsel trees often look better with minimal decor, so it’s perfect if you prefer a simple tree with a low-maintenance look.
- Expensive Upfront Cost: These trees are built for convenience over quality (meaning they might not hold up as long as some other faux tree varieties). Nonetheless, tinsel trees can still sport a hefty price tag and can be more expensive than a regular living tree.
- No “Real Tree” Resemblance: If you’re looking for a fake tree that still looks like a real one, then a tinsel tree is not for you.