We Brits love the idea of a real Christmas tree – but not so many of us are keen on the realities of dragging a 7ft Norway Spruce through the house and leaving needles all over the place.
If you count yourself among the reluctant group, then it may be time to go fake. And, though you might balk at the idea of a plastic tree, the reality is that a quality faux fir is far from a faux pas.
After all, buying an artificial Christmas tree needn't mean accepting defeat.
Why choose an artificial Christmas tree?
The big bonus is cost: artificial trees can last for decades, so they work out cheaper than paying for a real tree every year. Retailers are offering great deals at the moment: Balsam Hill has a sale on for example.
Aesthetic-wise, for the symmetrical obsessed among you, they look fabulous from all angles. And just think of the time you'll save not having to hoover up pesky needles.
Read more: When should you put the Christmas tree up?
What are the downsides?
You might think you're saving the planet, but a fake tree is actually not the most environmentally friendly of options. Most are made in factories in Asia, racking up some serious air miles to reach the UK. They're made from non-biodegradable metal and plastic, and many end their lives in landfill.
On the other hand, of course, keep your tree for years and years and it will start to pay you back in terms of carbon footprint; whereas a 'real' one will always have to be transported, used and disposed of every year.
The other problem with a faux tree is that they can look synthetic – and of course you won't get that lovely pine smell. You'll also need to find space for storage.
What should I look out for?
Size: Generally speaking, they range from 4ft to 12ft. Most people opt for a 7ft tree, which fits in the average sized living room.
Price: 7ft trees come as low as £20, but you can spend over £8,000 if you want, too.
Spending as much as you can is worth it: a cheap tree will probably look cheap.
Tips: Go for a tree with a high tip count. This refers to the number of needles; the higher the count, the fuller the tree will look.
PVE or PE: Go for PE tips if you can afford them. They're moulded to look like real needles and look realistic even up close. PVC ones are cheaper and are cut to look like needles - sometimes unsuccessfully.
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Best real-looking artificial Christmas trees
The White Company goes to great lengths to achieve the most natural shade of green and the most realistic look of fir. This 6ft tree particularly stands out because of its robust shape, which makes it almost look like the real deal. It comes complete with a wicker skirt, which gives the tree a rustic edge to it.
This tree looks incredibly realistic and it's easy to shape how you see fit. It also comes with a metal scratch-free stand that folds down when the tree isn’t in use. Perfect for those looking for easy, space-saving storage.
Known as the most popular Christmas tree species in Europe, the Nordmann fir is renowned for its stately shape and rich green colour. This artificial version has glossy needles made from the moulds of live tree cuttings and can come pre-lit with LED lights.
This tree has been designed to be as authentic as artificial trees come. Not only have the branches been made to resemble a real tree, but it's meant to feel like a real one too. It also has memory shape technology, which means you won't have to spend the following year fussing over what it looks like.
Best mid-price artificial Christmas trees
Measuring 7ft tall, this Christmas tree is destined to be the star attraction of your living room. It is bushy and robust, with a rich, snow-tipped aesthetic that makes it feel particularly festive.
Whilst this slim 6ft artificial Christmas tree is quick and easy to assemble, you might want to cover the base with a tree skirt. At only £25 this has to be one of the biggest bargains of the holiday season. And nobody will notice, especially when it's covered with your lovely decorations. This is a great option if you're struggling for space, but still want to make a statement.
This full-bodied 6ft tree boasts almost 700 tips on its branches, from which you can hang Christmas decorations for an incredibly full and festive look. It truly does mimic a real tree, but costs a fraction of the price.
Best flocked Christmas tree
We love the winter wonderland feel this Grey Spruce Christmas tree will bring to your home. When it comes to fake trees, you can either keep it real, or channel your inner Mariah Carey. Add some berries, pine cones and lights to make is extra festive. A very reasonable price, too, and hundreds of good reviews.
There will be no need to dream of a white Christmas this year, if you have this tree in your living room. The frosted fir tree looks realistic, given its conical shape, and its colour is an ideal backdrop for colourful tree decorations.
Best space-saving artificial Christmas tree
When it comes to fake trees, there is always a talking-point trend. It’s still too early to say what this year’s will be, but, last year, it was ombre. Wrap with a long string of mini white lights and dispense with decorations to complete a look to remember.
Best pre-lit artificial Christmas tree
You know how it is. Every year you get out your fairy lights and every year, at least one set just won't work. Getting them onto the tree is a whole other story. Well, ditch all that hassle and invest in a pre-lit tree like this one. With hand strung warm white LED lights, it's all done for you so grab a mince pie and chill out.
Best table top artificial Christmas tree
The White Company's 1.5ft artificial Christmas tree is in a natural shade of green and comes complete with a stylish zinc pot. What’s more, this tree features battery-operated fairy lights. A tasteful but pint-sized nod to Christmas.
Best wooden Christmas tree
Want a minimalist, Scandi look and don't have lots of room? Simply hang your favourite baubles and decorations from this stylish wooden version that will last for years.
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