Our Guide to Buying an Artificial Christmas Tree

In most homes and Christmas displays, your tree is the focal point so it’s important to get it right.  If you have decided to invest in an artificial Christmas tree then always try to buy the best possible tree for your money. 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.

Find the right 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 centre piece 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.

One of the joys of artificial Christmas trees is that they are available in a huge range of shapes and sizes so you should be able to find the perfect Christmas tree to fit your space.

For example, slimline trees allow you to still go for a tall tree but without the width of the tree taking over your room.  Or if space is particularly tight then there is the option of going for a half tree, this stands flush against a wall leaving you plenty of floor space for lots of presents!
closeup of real and fake pine needles side by side for comparison

Tips, tips, tips!

When it comes to buying an artificial tree, the tip count will often determine the cost. Tip count refers to the number of needles… – meaning the higher the count, the higher the price. In most cases, having more branch “tips” is preferred because an abundance of needles creates a full look for the tree.

…but not all needles are equal!

Most artificial Christmas trees are made from compressed sheets of PVC which are then cut into strips to have the appearance of needles. PVC trees can look fantastic but if you want to have the most real looking artificial Christmas tree then PE tips are what you need to go for. This type of plastic needle is moulded to replicate a real needle and looks amazingly realistic even from close up.

Take a look at the picture – can you tell which is real and which is artificial?

Be warned, however, PE trees do not come cheap, so look out for trees that are a mix of PVC and PE needles – they are easier on the pocket while still looking incredibly realistic.

Design & Build

Something else to look out for when you are shopping around is how to actually set the tree up. You may see trees being described as hinged or hook-on. Hinged trees are the easy and quick type to set up. The branches are attached to the tree with a hinge so they can fold in for storage and can easily fold down and be fluffed when the festive season begins.  A hook-on design is a little bit more fiddly and is usually only found on a 10ft or bigger Christmas tree. These trees come with the branches separate from the tree and are hooked into place.  They would normally have a colour coded system to make this as easy as possible. It takes a lot more time to set up a hook on tree than a hinged design Christmas tree, however both trees require time being spent fluffing the branches to their maximum. For carriage all trees will have been compressed to their maximum and so don’t be disheartened if they look a bit sad and flat when they first come out of the box – they just need a little care and attention.

Price vs Quality

It’s very tempting at Christmas time when your bank account is being attacked from all angles to opt for a bargain when you can get one. Be warned! When it comes to artificial Christmas trees a cheap price normally means a cheap looking Christmas tree, so this is something to not scrimp on.  Spend as much as you can afford on your Christmas tree and remember it is an investment that you can enjoy every Christmas for years to come.


No matter what size of tree you choose, the right stand is essential or you’ll have no stability and risk an accident with your tree. All of our trees come supplied with a sturdy metal stand, so you can be sure that it will stand tall.

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Welcome to Christmas Direct

Christmas Direct has been supplying high quality Christmas lights, garlands and baubles for nearly 20 years.

Today, we believe our top of the range Pro Series lights are the best in the UK, while our new range of luxury Christmas garlands stands apart in terms of quality and originality.

We also offer our Home Range lights for both indoor and outdoor use, combining Christmas Direct quality with High Street prices.

Add to that our extensive ranges of festive wreaths, garlands and glass style baubles, and we firmly believe we have something to offer everyone at Christmas – or any other time of year.