Ultimate Guide To Artificial Christmas Trees

Artificial Christmas trees have many advantages over real, fresh trees. In this guide we explore the benefits of using an artificial Christmas tree and the best ones to look out for when buying online.

The first use of an artificial Christmas trees appeared as early as the late 18th century. Later, 'feather' trees were popular and remained so until the 1920s. Then in the 30s, Addis introduced a tree that sold surprisingly well, considering it was basically just a large green toothbrush.

Most of us, however, are more familiar with the aluminium and plastic varieties decorated with lots of tinsel. They made little effort to look realistic but were amazingly well-received because they had so many advantages over a real tree, yet still brought that magical Christmas spirit into the house.

In this guide we explore the benefits of using an artificial Christmas tree, the best ones available on the market, features to look out for, and why you'd want to use an artificial version over a real counterpart.

A collage of photos of green artificial Christmas trees, decorated with white and frosted decorations.

Are artificial Christmas trees better than real ones?

Artificial Christmas trees have many advantages over real ones. They can be positioned anywhere in the house, this includes next to radiators that would normally dry out natural trees, and can be used year after year for maximum cost efficiency.

With an artificial tree, its pristine shapely appearance remains indefinitely and you just pack it away in a storage bag after Christmas, ready for next year. All this saves you lots of time and no little expense. Even if a natural tree is watered, with only a small root ball or none at all, it will be dying before you purchase it. Then after a fortnight or so it will have to be taken to the dump.

With hinged branches and stands, artificial trees are easy to display, there's no need to saw off the bottom or to manoeuvre it into a bucket with the sharp needles cutting into your hands.

8 top reasons why artificial Christmas trees are a better than real Christmas trees

Here's our list on why we think artificial Christmas trees are a better choice over their real counterparts:

  • Unlike real trees, artificial ones require no watering, ensuring your carpet stays pristine and your holiday chores are kept to a minimum.
  • Artificial trees are a one-time purchase that can grace your Christmases for many years to come, proving easy on the pocket in the long run.
  • There's no pesky pine needles littering your floor. With an artificial tree, your home stays tidy and free of debris.
  • There's no need to worry about allergies or respiratory discomfort; artificial trees ensure everyone in the family can bask in the festive spirit, sneeze-free.
  • Each branch is crafted to perfection and in perfect unison, making decorating it look a lot more even and presentable.
  • Artificial Christmas trees are often flame-retardant, reducing fire hazards associated with real trees drying out and becoming a hazard.
  • Want a frosted look or fancy a pre-lit spectacle? With artificial trees, the choices are endless, allowing you to reinvent your festive decor each year.
  • Artificial trees can be conveniently disassembled and stored away, waiting to spread festive joy again the following year.

Decorating an artificial tree with Christmas lights and Christmas tree ornaments is also less painful, with the lifelike branches made from a soft yet sturdy material that's realistic in texture and colour, whilst also being strong enough to hold plenty of ornaments on each branch without the twigs bending down and your baubles sliding off. Something that you may have not even considered a possibility until now!

A side by side comparison showing two photos, one of a real Christmas tree, and one of an artificial Christmas tree.

What types of artificial Christmas trees are available to buy?

There's an artificial Christmas tree for every home, every theme, and every individual's unique festive vision. Along with the differing heights available, there are also different types. At the World of Christmas shop, we label our trees into one of five categories, based on their main features. Choose the one that resonates with your Christmas dreams and watch your home transform into a festive paradise.

Our five different types of artificial Christmas trees are:

  1. Standard Artificial Christmas Trees
    These are the quintessential Christmas trees, perfect for those who enjoy the tradition of decorating from scratch. They are usually sold in a standard green colour tone, so are suitable for any theme or setting when decorated, be it a classic red and gold, or a minimalist silver and white. From tiny tabletop versions to grand floor-to-ceiling models, these trees provide a beautiful blank canvas for your festive creativity.
  2. Pre-Lit Artificial Christmas Trees
    These trees come with professionally strung lights already attached, offering an enchanting glow at the flip of a switch. Ideal for those who want to save time on decorating or struggle with the tangle of fairy lights. Suitable for a cosy, warm setting, these trees evoke a festive atmosphere instantly, making your home feel like a magical Christmas wonderland.
  3. Pop-Up Artificial Christmas Trees
    The ultimate choice for convenience and space-saving. These trees literally pop-up, fully decorated, saving you the effort of assembly and decorating. They're a great fit for compact spaces or as additional festive accents in different rooms. Ideal for a modern setting or a busy household that still wants to enjoy the Christmas spirit without fuss.
  4. Frosted Artificial Christmas Trees
    These trees, dusted with a gentle 'frost', bring the charm of a white Christmas indoors. The subtle icy touch adds a unique twist to the classic green tree, making it a beautiful centrepiece for a winter wonderland theme. Pair it with silver and blue decorations for a cool, crisp festive aesthetic.
  5. Snowy Artificial Christmas Trees
    With a generous dusting of 'snow', these trees make a captivating statement. They transport you straight into a Christmas card scene, perfect for creating a joyful, wintry ambiance. These trees are ideal if you're looking to create a dreamy, magical setting, complemented by glittery decorations and soft, warm lights.

Now you may be thinking, aren't frosted and snowy the same? Yes and no. Frosted has a gentle dusting, with the majority of the green needles still showing through, giving the tree a slight icy glisten. Whereas our snowy trees are covered with a generous helping of faux snow, and do tend to cover the majority of the tree branches and needles, for the fresh and full 'just snowed' effect.

Multiple artificial Christmas trees stood next to each other showing their differing features.

Artificial Christmas trees that look the most realistic

Artificial Christmas trees didn't always look good. Well - back in the day when they were new and novel, they did. But if we looked back at them today, we'd say that they were scrawny, skinny and not very pleasing. However, technological advances and changes in fashion have meant that these once-sparse and skinny tinsel trees have now been replaced by a modern era of tree, and these ones are incredibly realistic and truly a joy to have on display.

The most convincing artificial trees with great shape, size and colour, use PE (polyethylene plastic) to replicate the prickly feel of real branches. They can be virtually indistinguishable from the real thing but won't scratch your skin or give you a rash. The tiny artificial needles and leaves don't just come in one plain green colour anymore, but a mix of green, beige, and brown tones to truly replicate nature and the real thing.

Some artificial trees have a dusting of frost or are weighed down with snow, mimicking trees found in the highland parts of Scotland during the winter months, while others feign realism with lifelike berries, cones and ferns.

The trouble with buying a Christmas tree online, especially when looking for one that's realistic is having to go by the product pictures, without actually seeing the tree in person. So when shopping for a one, ensure that you get to see close-up shots of the branches and the needles, and not just a zoomed out view of the tree all dressed up in a corner of a room.

At the World of Christmas shop, we do our best to portray each artificial Christmas tree that we sell in the best possible manner. Offering plenty of imagery to really show what each model looks like in real life, from our standard and cost-effective cheap Christmas trees, to our most premium, most realistic varieties.

A close-up view of a snow effect artificial Christmas tree.

Are artificial Christmas trees safe for cats?

In short - the answer is yes. Compared to real Christmas trees whereby some varieties are known to be mildly toxic to cats, as well as any dropped pine needles on the floor that they ingest could risk scratching the inside of their stomachs, artificial Christmas trees are generally safer.

However, safety largely depends on your cat’s curiosity and behaviour. Some cats might be tempted to climb the tree or play with the ornaments, potentially causing the tree to topple. To avoid this, ensure the tree is sturdy, preferably with a wide base, and securely anchored. Placing larger, heavier ornaments at the top and lighter, less breakable ones at the bottom can help deter your cat from climbing.

Light strings and tinsel can be particularly enticing to cats but pose a risk if chewed or swallowed. Opting for a pre-lit tree reduces loose wiring, and it's best to avoid tinsel altogether.

Most artificial trees are made from non-toxic PVC. However, if your cat is a keen chewer, it's worth considering trees made from PE (polyethylene) which is less harmful if ingested in small quantities.

Remember, it’s essential to create a safe environment around the tree. Avoid edible decorations, as the smells might encourage nibbling. Regularly check the tree for any loose parts that a cat might swallow.

Some of our facts here have been sourced from the article 'Keeping your cat safe at Christmas' by the amazing people over at bluecross.org.uk.

A ginger-hair cat laying underneath a Christmas tree.

Are artificial Christmas trees safe for dogs?

At the outset, just like with cats, artificial Christmas trees pose less of a health risk to dogs than real ones. They don't shed potentially harmful needles, and they lack the natural tree oils that may upset a dog's stomach.

However, to ensure an entirely dog-friendly festive environment, some considerations should be made. Dogs, especially puppies, are often curious and might be tempted to explore the tree, potentially causing it to topple. Ensure your tree is stable and secure to avoid any accidents.

Decorations should be chosen with your pet's safety in mind. Avoid ornaments that could shatter and cause harm if chewed or knocked down. Edible decorations are also not recommended as they could encourage your dog to investigate the tree.

If you have a dog that's prone to chewing, it's worth noting that most artificial trees are made from PVC, which could potentially cause digestive upset if ingested. It's not harmful in small amounts, but persistent chewing could lead to larger pieces being swallowed. Therefore, if your dog is a chewer, consider a tree made from PE (polyethylene), or place a pet gate around the tree.

Pre-lit trees can minimise loose wiring, reducing the risk of your dog getting tangled or deciding to give them a chew! Always check for any small, loose parts that could be accidentally swallowed.

So in conclusion, with a few sensible precautions, artificial Christmas trees can be a safe and joyous addition to a dog-friendly home, allowing everyone to partake in the festive cheer.

Some of our facts here have been sourced from the article 'Christmas dangers for dogs' by the amazing people over at bluecross.org.uk.

A pair of dogs laying in front of a Christmas tree.  

No substitute for quality

At World of Christmas we've been around online since 1999 so you can bet we know our Christmas trees! We only offer for sale the best quality trees, from the best brands, at prices to suit everyone's budget.

As well as being online since 1999, we've been selling trees in our psychical store for over 50 years and so we hope that our guides, help and advice on everything Christmas will offer all the advice you need, including the best way to decorate your tree and how to install lights. Happy holidays!

~ The World of Christmas Team