Christmas Tree Buyer's Guide White Line
Everything you need to help you find your perfect Christmas tree

With so many places to buy artificial Christmas trees, it can be challenging to find the best tree for you. This guide will help you through the buying process, so that you can find a tree that you will be proud to display year after year.
  1. Find the right artificial Christmas tree size

    Before buying a Christmas tree, you should decide where you want to display the tree. Which room will it be in? Is it intended to be the centerpiece of a room? Or, is it a second tree that will go in a family room or guest room? Will you put it in a corner, along a specific wall or next to a doorway?

    Now that you’ve determined the location for your tree, how much space are you looking to fill? This will help you determine the ideal Christmas tree height for you. If you want the tallest Christmas tree your room will allow, we recommend buying a tree that is at least six inches lower than your ceiling height. For example, if you have a standard 8-9 foot ceiling, you should buy a 7½ foot tree. This will allow some clearance to ensure that the tip of your Christmas tree will not hug your ceiling and will allow space for a tree topper.

    In terms of floor space, measure the approximate diameter of the space you plan to reserve for the Christmas tree. As you shop for a Christmas tree, look for the varieties that will fill your space. The standard tree shape is "full"; trees that fit in tighter spaces are often designated with names such as "narrow" and "slim." However, we suggest that you consider the diameter of the Christmas tree, not the shape name, to help you pick your perfect tree. This measurement is taken at the very widest point of the tree; if you plan to have a few branches touching a wall or a piece of furniture, the true space occupied by the tree will be about six inches less than the stated diameter. The other key is to make sure that the tree looks to be a natural shape — if it is "pencil shaped," it probably doesn't look like a real tree. (If you are looking for a space saving tree, we recommend our Fifth Avenue Flatback Tree, which is designed to look like a full tree while only taking up half the space.)

  2. Identify a high quality artificial Christmas tree How long do you expect to keep the tree?

    One of the major benefits of buying an artificial tree is that it can become a long-term investment. As long as you plan on keeping the tree for more than one holiday season, we recommend buying a high quality artificial Christmas tree.

    A high quality artificial tree should have foliage that resembles a real Christmas tree, often determined by the quantity of the branch “tips” and the design of the foliage.

    In most cases, having more branch “tips” is preferred because an abundance of needles creates a full look for the tree. However, if the Christmas tree is designed with the intention of seeing the inside of the tree (e.g., it has a faux trunk), that Christmas tree should have fewer tips than a comparable tree designed to hide the center pole. Also, if an artificial Christmas tree has long needles, fewer tips are used to prevent the tree from looking like an overgrown bush. Since it is virtually impossible to compare specific trees across manufacturers, when buying a tree online, we recommend looking at a close-up photo of the whole tree to see if it looks good. Especially for artificial Christmas trees that are described to look “full”, look closely to see if you can see the center pole of the tree — if so, that is a clear warning that it is a very low-quality tree.

    Additionally, high quality trees should come with sturdy metal stands. Avoid plastic stands or poorly constructed metal stands. A strong stand will ensure that your Chrismas tree will not topple or lean to one side, even if heavy ornaments are added to the tree. Some tree stands, like the ones offered with Balsam Hill™ trees, come with rubber feet to protect your floors.

    Finally, all of the finest artificial Christmas trees should have hinged branches to keep set-up simple. Unlike “hooked” branches where each individual branch needs to be hooked to the center pole, hinged branches are pre-attached to the center pole. During set-up, you simply pull down the branches that open like the tail of a peacock.

  3. Understand different Christmas tree foliage and needle types What will my Christmas tree foliage look like?

    Many brands of artificial Christmas trees offer different types of foliage options in their trees that are made from either PVC or PE materials. While some trees use one type of foliage exclusively, others may use a mix of foliage types to achieve a particular look. Usually, you can find out what foliage is being used by reading the description of each tree.

    Regardless of the type of foliage or type of tree you prefer, when buying a tree online, we recommend that you look carefully at the photographs of the trees you are considering. At Balsam Hill™, we always provide "super zoom" photos of the complete trees so you can look at the detail of our quality and craftsmanship. If you are considering an artificial Christmas tree from another source, make sure you can view a high-resolution photograph of the tree to gauge quality. Many Christmas trees look great at low resolution but do not look as good when you see them up-close and in-person.

    Balsam Hill™ offers three types of foliage:

    True Needle™

    Exclusive to Balsam Hill™, ultrarealistic True Needle™ evergreen foliage is created with injection-molded PE plastic and several different colors of pigment to mimic the structure, texture and color of natural evergreen needles. It is simply the best method for creating lifelike artificial evergreen foliage. A unique feature of True Needle™ foliage is the color variations within the branches. For example, the branch might be a brown/green while the needles start off a dark green and slowly fade to a lighter green.

    Pine Needle

    The PVC pine needles used by Balsam Hill™ are extruded to mimic the size and texture of long, thin needles of a pine tree. These needles even have the texture of real pine needles: if you roll them between your thumb and finger, you will feel the ridges.

    Classic Needle

    Classic needles are made from thin sheets of PVC that are cut into fine strands to resemble evergreen needles. Balsam Hill™ uses these resilient, flexible needles as the primary foliage of many of its trees in the BH Classics collection and a few trees in the Signature Collections. It is also used as filler for most other Christmas trees because of its superior ability to block light and create a “full” look for the tree.

  4. Find High-Quality Christmas Lights How Should I Choose Between Unlit and Pre-lit Christmas Trees?

    The choice between unlit and prelit artificial Christmas trees is a matter of style and convenience.

    Unlit Christmas trees are great for people who love the classic way of decorating. By allowing room for creativity, unlit trees let you hang your Christmas lights in your own unique way and match your favorite color of lights with your style of ornamentation.

    Prelit Christmas trees, on the other hand, are perfect for homeowners who prefer the faster process of setting up. With prelit artificial trees, there is very little chance of cords getting tangled up, or people tripping over wires.

    Experts at Balsam Hill have designed trees that not only provide optimal lighting, but also keep unsightly wires hidden. All of the lights on the tree remain lit even if one of them goes out, making it easy to identify and replace burned out lights. With the professionally strung lights of Balsam Hill Christmas trees, your home will dazzle this holiday season.

    What should I look for in buying pre-lit trees?

    Prelit trees are now extremely popular both to save the time and hassle of stringing your own Christmas tree and because (high quality) prelit Christmas trees are professionally strung to minimize dangling wires. Most manufacturers provide a wide variety of options including clear lights , multicolored lights, and other configurations. For example, Balsam Hill™ offers its premium Color+Clear™ lights that allow you to change the lights from clear, to multicolor, or both with a click of a remote control.

    If you are considering a prelit tree, once again you want to judge the quality of the lights by both the number of lights and the quality of the lights. In general, we recommend at least 100 lights per foot of the tree. For example, a 7.5 foot tree should have at least 750 lights. If you comparison shop, you will likely find that Balsam Hill™ has many more lights per foot than most other Christmas trees.

    To ensure that you are getting high quality Christmas lights, make sure the lights are UL™ approved and are designed to stay lit even when one light burns out. There are several levels of quality when it comes to "when one light burns out, the rest remain lit ": the very best lights actually let you remove a bulb and the rest will stay lit. These lights are much more expensive than standard "when one bulb burns out the rest remain lit" lights, and are used very infrequently on artificial Christmas trees due to their high cost.

    Of course, as you would expect, our Balsam Hill trees feature the very best lights - you may remove a bulb and the rest will stay lit. (The exception to this is that some clearance items are standard lights and all of our indoor/outdoor light items such as wreaths, garlands, and potted trees feature standard lights). Often times you can judge the quality of the lights based on the length of the warranty; just make sure that the company who is selling you the pre-lit Christmas tree is the company that backs up the warranty to avoid being passed on to a third party.

    If you are considering LED lights, keep in mind that most LED lights do not emit the warm, soft glow typically associated with indoor Christmas lights. Balsam Hill™ now offers a new type of LED lights on some of its trees. These premium LEDs are available as warm-white Candlelight™ LEDs and multi-colored LEDs, both of which provide the warm Christmas glow desired by the majority of our customers.

  5. Make the tree work for your decorations and ornaments How will my decorations look on the tree?

    When buying a tree, you should consider how you plan to decorate the Christmas tree. Make sure the branches on your tree are strong enough to support the weight of your decorations. When shopping online, read the product descriptions carefully to make sure that products claiming to have delicate or soft branches are sturdy enough for your Christmas tree decorations. If you have many large ornaments, you may want to consider a Christmas tree that has branches that are spaced out to give your ornaments the space to be appropriately displayed. Trees like the Aspen Silver Fir that is designed with a faux trunk that is meant to be seen or the Rocky Mountain Pine with its spruce shape are perfect for large ornaments. If you are going for more of a simple look, a tree that appears "full" and has a relatively large number of tips will look better unadorned with Christmas tree ornaments.

    If you would like further ideas on how to decorate your tree, visit our Pinterest page.

  6. Christmas Tree Styles, Colors, & Other Considerations Eliciting memories with a tree

    Many people who grew up with a Christmas tree in their homes find that their ideal Christmas tree is the one that was displayed in their homes as children. However, if you are like most people, you likely cannot recall the tree variety of your youth. To help you, the Balsam Hill™ trees are divided into Collections that represent Christmas tree styles found in different U.S. geographies. If you lived on the East Coast or Midwest, consider an artificial Christmas tree from our Vermont Signature™ Collection, like our most popular Vermont White Spruce. If you lived in the West or South, the Aspen Christmas Collection might be the best for you. If you lived on the West Coast or Southwest, the Napa Christmas™ Collection likely has the Christmas tree from your childhood. No matter which tree you choose, with a Christmas tree from Balsam Hill™, you will be sure to have a luxurious, artisanal artificial Christmas tree that will be the backdrop for creating many new wonderful memories.

    Finding the perfect color and look

    If you have not yet narrowed down the ideal Christmas tree style for you, think about what Christmas tree color you prefer. If you want a beautifully white tree, the Balsam Hill Mount Washington White Christmas tree offers lifelike branches found in other Balsam Hill™ trees but designed in white. As for the green trees, in the end, any traditional artificial tree that you choose will look green. However, even among these greens, there are different color variations – do you prefer vibrant forest green (like the Fraser Fir), a more muted gray-green (like the BH Noble Fir™), or a deep blue-green (like the Aspen Estate Fir)? Ordering our helpful Branch Sample Kit or using our superzoom photos are excellent ways to preview the color and look of all of our trees.

    Simple Setup

    To learn more about how easy it is to set up your new Balsam Hill Christmas tree, please view our General Setup Video.

    Receiving more guidance

    We wish you a joyous Christmas season and hope that you have a rewarding shopping experience for your holiday decorations. If we can be of further assistance in choosing your perfect tree, please send us an email at

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