Which Christmas tree is right for your home?

Before the festive season approaches each year, thoughts turn to stocking up on decorations, and there is no more vital part of the Christmas furnishings than the tree. If you’re looking for a tree that lasts longer than a real fir, but has plenty of realistic evergreen foliage, we’ve put together this guide covering all the basics of buying artificial Christmas trees.

Whether you need a large spruce to make a family room come together, or a decorative fibre optic Christmas tree to add a little colour to your festive celebrations, we have a wide range of Christmas trees to suit all households and budgets. Find a realistic polyethylene (PE) Christmas tree to last year after year, or just bring your home to life with some quick Christmas sparkle. Find out what size, height, needle type and effects are available before buying your artificial tree.

Tree size

Christmas trees come in a range of different heights, so choose depending on your space and requirements. Fans of real Spruce Christmas trees will probably want something like a Tesco 6ft pine that reflects the size of natural evergreen species such as the Norway Spruce. Large living rooms with big windows are ideal for housing these beautiful trees. Alternatively, go for the small 1–2ft size if you want something to brighten a shelf or hall table, and try a medium-sized 3-4ft tree for an apartment or shared house.

In terms of width, most large trees have a base measuring around 3-4ft, though you can get slim Christmas trees, which are specifically designed to slot into tight corners – these are handy for smaller households. Trees under 3ft tall tend to be around 1ft in diameter when assembled.

Remember to leave enough space at the top for an angel or a star – you don’t want your tree sweeping the ceiling.

Type of needles

Artificial Christmas trees are usually made with Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and Polyethylene (PE). However, you can also get other materials and effects, including vibrant fibre optic branches. Whichever material you choose, check the needle count when you buy, as the more needles that a tree holds, the more realistic it will look.

  • PVC Christmas trees:PVC has been widely used for many years in artificial Christmas tree making. This type of tree is made by twisting thin strips of PVC around a piece of wire made to look like a pine branch. This method is generally cost-effective, making it a good option for a temporary decoration that you might want for just a couple of years or even one festive period.
  • PE Christmas trees:PE Christmas trees are made by injection-moulding plastic and therefore the needles are 3-dimensional, rather than made from a flat sheet. The effect is much more realistic evergreen foliage, with natural-looking sprigs of pine needles and wood-effect branches. In addition, the needles feel softer, much like a real pine Christmas tree.

Some trees contain a mixture of both PE and PVC materials and, as PE is a little more expensive, Christmas trees using PE should last a lot longer – 10-15 years with careful storage and handling.

  • Tinsel trees:As a cheaper artificial option, a tinsel Christmas tree makes a good temporary fix if you are in the middle of moving home or spending Christmas in a one-off location. They are often smaller, lightweight and usually ‘pop-up’ in design, making assembly easy. Tinsel trees come in a wide range of colours from gold to pink, and they are ideal as an added extra for children’s bedrooms or for decorating hallways – you can still hang a few baubles or your favourite ornaments.
  • Fibre optic:A fibre optic Christmas tree can be a striking addition to any room, with colour-changing effects that are great for festive parties. The technology works by projecting light from a bulb inside the main section of the tree, which is reflected by fine fibres within the pine ‘needles’ so that the tips shine brightly. Different colours are achieved through the use of a rotating colour wheel next to the light source. Unlike other artificial trees, they need to be plugged in all the time if you want a constant effect, as they are not always dressed with any additional decorations.

Christmas tree effects

  • Flocked or accented needles:A popular effect that often comes with artificial trees is known as flocking or accenting – a silvery coating that is sprayed onto the branches. A flocked Christmas tree looks like it’s been dusted with snow or glitter, and can therefore either bring in the fresh look of the outdoors, or add a little sparkle and glamour to your living room. Accented trees are sometimes decorated with other natural elements like winter berries and pine cones, such as our Tesco 6.5ft Pine Tree. If you’re set on this style, these trees can create a good look with very little effort, but if you want more flexibility from year to year, choose a plain tree – you can always buy flocking to dust on finishing touches at home.
  • Pre-lit Christmas trees:Perfect for those too busy with gift-buying in the run up to Christmas, some trees come already pre-loaded with LED lights so that you can simply erect and plug in, without the hassle of weaving in the electrics yourself. Again, if you want to refresh your decorations frequently, you might not want built-in Christmas lights, but these trees still represent a very convenient solution and can offer better value than buying separate decorations.

Christmas tree assembly

The design of an artificial Christmas tree is usually constructed in one of two ways. Pole designs are assembled in sections and have branches that hook into the main stand individually. By contrast, hinged Christmas trees or frame designs are, in effect, already put together: all you need to do is pull down the branches, which are hinged where they meet the ‘trunk’, and then bend out the adjoining branches. The latter is fairly quick to put up and take down, but check the material of the hinges first, as metal ones last much longer.

How to dress the perfect Christmas Tree

For a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, follow this step-by-step guide to learn how to dress your tree to impress. From checking your fairy lights, to adding beautiful Christmas tree decorations or ornaments, to those really important finishing touches, Tesco direct is here to help you every step of the way whether you prefer an artificial Christmas tree or a real one.