It doesn’t get much better than a freshly cut Christmas tree around the holidays. Until you get it home: needles everywhere. The sap (which can cling to your hands for hours!), the battle that is getting it onto the stand, water sloshing over the side of said stand (will you even remember to water it?)…. All this is to say, we don’t blame you for opting for an artificial tree this year. If you’re used to the tradition of a live tree, embracing faux
fur fir can be a big step. We’re here to help with our guide to the best fake trees on the market and tricks to help you make them look real. Once you go faux, you’re probably not going back.
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For the artificial Christmas tree itself, see the best options below. And don’t forget to take your tree out of storage a few days before you plan to decorate it—this allows smooshed branches to breathe a bit and for the tree to return to its normal shape.
1. Dunhill Fir
This tree isn’t called “The World’s Best” for nothing. Its branches are molded to “replicate the exact growth patterns, cascading branches, and fine, soft green needles of a freshly cut Fraser Fir,” it apparently has more tips than any other faux tree, and the white lights will last a whopping 25,000 hours in total.
SHOP NOW: National Tree Dunhill Fir Tree with Dual LED Lights, $436.42, amazon.com
2. Noble Fir
Terrain’s design team modeled this guy after a real specimen in the woods, so you know it’s going to look natural.
SHOP NOW: Pre-Lit LED Faux Noble Fir by Terrain, $336, shopterrain.com
3. Alpine Balsam Fir
A visible trunk and lean profile make this tree a minimalist’s dream.
SHOP NOW: Alpine Balsam Fir by Balsam Hill, from $199 for 4.5′ tree, balsamhill.com
4. Flocked Utica Fir
Flocking—that artificial snow on the tips of the tree branches—gives this Utica Fir a little extra something.
SHOP NOW: 4.5′ Flocked Utica Fir Tree by Vickerman Company, $198.59, amazon.com
5. White Tiffany Tinsel
Or you could just embrace the fact that your tree is fake and go all out with a tinsel design.
SHOP NOW: 7.5′ White Tiffany Tinsel Pre-Lit Christmas Tree by Sterling Tree Company, $200.44, amazon.com
The easiest way to make your artificial tree look like a real one is to, well, cover it up. Go heavier on the decorations this year: garland, lights, ornaments (the lighter the ornaments, the better).
1. Wide ribbon to the rescue.
It’s affordable in bulk, doubles as a garland, and covers quite a bit of real estate.
SHOP NOW: 2″ Wide Vintage Velvet Ribbon, from $8.95, amazon.com
2. A tree skirt is a must.
A dead giveaway—no pun intended—that your tree’s a fake is the base: that plastic, mechanical-esque stand. Cover that up with a festive tree skirt (or basket!) as you would a live tree.
SHOP NOW: Wicker Basket Tree Skirt by Terrain, $88, shopterrain.com
3. Wrap the trunk of the tree in lights…seriously!
The result? It draws the eye to the center of the tree and takes the attention off the branches.
SHOP NOW: Long Mod LED String Lights by Ehome, $9.99, amazon.com
4. Add in the live stuff.
Bolster the plastic branches with small sprigs of real evergreen before you decorate. Green floral wire is your friend here. Starting closer to the trunk of your artificial tree, adjoin a small, real sprig to a fake branch with a few twists of wire. Repeat as often as you’d like, scattering the pieces consistently around your tree. You’ll get that amazing Smell of the Season with a fraction of the needles. Visit your local nursery for scrap evergreen, or find options on Etsy like these.
SHOP NOW: Fresh Evergreen Cuttings from Wet-n-Wild Gardens, from $13, etsy.com
5. Flowers are a growing trend too.
Choose big, sturdy blooms and tuck them into the gaps in your tree once it’s fully decorated. Keep them looking fresher longer by housing stems in water tubes, as florists do.
: Artificial Silk Fake Flowers from Luyue, from $9.99, amazon.com
For the risk-takers: a different approach
Our favorite faux Christmas trees are actually the more modest specimens that have emerged to satiate smaller-space dwellers as well as those with contemporary tastes. What they all have in common is that they aren’t made to look like real evergreens. Call them spindly, twiggy, or even occasionally scraggly—the best artificial Christmas trees are Charlie Brown Christmas trees, in our humble opinions. We’ve rounded up our top five:
1. Wooden Christmas Tree
The O.G. Scandi-style dowel-tree, available in a range of heights.
SHOP NOW: Branch Contemporary Wooden Christmas Tree by Demelzahill, from $296., etsy.com
2. LED Birch Tree
With a birchlike finish for daytime and tiny LEDs that glow when the lights go down, this one is a two-for-one winner.
SHOP NOW: LED 8′ Birch Tree by Lightshare, $75.99, amazon.com
3. Trio of Alpine Trees
More like cartoon versions than precise replicas of the real thing—and we mean that in the best way.
SHOP NOW: Pre-Lit Alpine Artificial Christmas Trees with Clear Lights( 2′, 3′, and 4′) by Sterling, from $82.03, amazon.com
4. Feather Tree
With vintage-inspired feather branches and two different shades of green, this one’s a winner for anyone who isn’t too sure about holiday decorations—but wants to dabble.
SHOP NOW: 436″ Two Tone Green Feather Christmas Tree by Bethany Lowe, $160, amazon.com
5. Artificial Christmas Twig Tree
Yes, there’s some fake snow at play here—but it doesn’t bug us too much because of how great it would look with some sparkly ornaments.
SHOP NOW: Snowy Potted 5.7′ Artificial Christmas Twig Tree by the Holiday Aisle, $193.99, wayfair.com