(This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Wayfair; thoughts and opinions are my own)
Every family has their own holiday traditions, and my favorite is putting up the Christmas tree while A Christmas Story plays in the background. It’s something I’ve done for as long as I can remember and something I hope to continue doing. I can’t count how many times I’ve watched the movie, but I swear, it never gets old. Between the lamp, the tongue on pole situation, and the constant repetition of “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!“, what’s not to love.
One thing that has changed with our holiday traditions is the Christmas tree. Growing up, we usually had real trees. After my first Christmas on my own, I quickly got over that. The constant hassle of cleaning up pine needles was enough to make me swear off of putting up a real Christmas tree forever. Nowadays I prefer a nice artificial Christmas tree that I can put up and take down with limited cleanup. I want to spend family time decorating the tree, not cleaning up around it. A little later I’ll share my top tips for choosing the right artificial Christmas tree for your home.
Because I believe every Christmas tree should hold sentimental meaning, I like to make some DIY Christmas ornaments to decorate with. My favorite this year are these easy DIY Pinecone Christmas Tree Decorations. They only take a few minutes to make but they really bring any Christmas tree to life.
If you don’t have pine cone-bearing trees around, you can pick some up from a craft store. A little Mod Podge, acrylic paints, some glitter, and twine is all you’ll need to create your own DIY Pinecone Christmas Tree Ornaments.
I like to mix it up a bit with my DIY Pinecone ornaments so some I cover with glitter and some I paint white and only use a little glitter. Each one is unique and there’s absolutely no wrong way to do it!
If you want to keep a more natural look, paint a pine cone with Mod Podge and sprinkle (or douse) with glitter. The Mod Podge dries clear so don’t worry about the globs of white.
If you want a more rustic chic look, stipple on some white acrylic paint for a nice flocked pine cone effect.
Once you’ve decorated your pine cones you just need to cut some ribbon (I love curling ribbon for this!) and tie a knot around the top part of the cone. Tie the ends together and use the ornaments to trim your tree.
How to Choose the Perfect Artificial Christmas Tree
There is an endless array of artificial Christmas trees on the market, so you need to narrow it down based on your wants, needs, and available space. Having a clear idea of what kind of artificial Christmas tree to buy will save time and make the decision process go smoothly.
Find the Right Size Christmas Tree
Artificial trees range in size, from teeny Charlie Brown-ish Christmas trees to the huge ones you see in malls and town centers. The size of your Christmas tree should depend on the available space in the area you plan to put the tree up in. This is a good time to break out the tape measure so you don’t run into any problems.
Once you have the available space measurements you’ll want to choose a tree that’s shorter than the height of your ceiling, minus the height of your tree topper. So, if you have 10-foot ceilings, you’ll probably want a tree that’s no more than 8 ½ – 9 feet tall. This way you won’t have an angel, star, or other style tree topper grazing your ceiling.
Something else to consider is the time it will take to set up and decorate your Christmas tree and the time it will take to take it down. The bigger the tree, the more time you’ll be spending and the more space you’ll need for storage. Keep in mind that most artificial Christmas trees are marketed as either full, slim, or pencil. Full trees take up more space and pencil trees take up the least amount of space.
Know the Material
A lot of people aren’t aware that artificial trees can be made with different materials. Most manufacturers use either PVC or polyethylene. Choosing the material depends on what you want from your Christmas tree.
PVC trees maintain their color so no matter how long you keep it up it won’t fade. These trees are also the safer choice since PVC is fire resistant. The biggest downside to PVC trees is that they are more prone to look fake.
Polyethylene-based trees tend to look more like an authentic evergreen, giving the feel of a real Christmas tree.
There are also trees that use a blend of both materials, or other material like tinsel and feathers, so, again, it’s all dependent on what you want.
Choose Your Branches
There are two branch types to consider when choosing your artificial Christmas tree: hinged or hook-ins. Hinged branches make putting up your tree easier. You basically just unfold the tree and fluff the branches because most, if not all, of the tree, is already assembled.
Hook-in branches need to be placed on and removed from the tree’s trunk individually. Depending on the size of your tree there can be a lot of branches which means a lot of assembly. An upside to hook-ins is that they’re typically cheaper than hinged branch trees.
Do you want to save time on decorating?
A lot of hinged Christmas trees have the option of coming prelit, which is something I prefer. I hate trying to untangle knotted strings of Christmas lights. They have varying lighting styles and colors, some have lots of different settings for blinking patterns. You also have the option of going for an unlit tree and doing all of the lighting yourself.
Some artificial Christmas trees come with decorations already affixed to the branches. These can be berries, pine cones, bows, beads, or any number and combination of decorations. It comes down to whether you want to save time decorating or if you’d rather put more personal emphasis on your tree.
Another thing to consider is flocking. Some trees come flocked, or painted, to give the appearance of frosted branches. I love the lock of a flocked Christmas tree, but if it’s not a quality tree it can be quite messy and short-lived. I prefer to add temporary flocking to my tree so I can control the look and the longevity.
Here’s a Tip, Count the Tips
When you’re shopping for an artificial Christmas tree you’ll find the number of tips mentioned in the description. This may seem like a mundane inclusion, but it’s actually quite important.
In general, the more tips a tree has, the fuller it will appear. If you want to give the impression of a real Christmas tree, opt for a tree with a high number of attached tips.
I used the tips above to find our perfect artificial Christmas Tree this year. The 6′ Dunhill Green Fir Artificial Christmas Tree comes with 600 Clear Lights and a tree stand. It has 1,430 branch tips which makes it the perfect combination – a full look and not too much work to fluff it.
Our tree is pre-lit with hinged branches which make setting it up simple, leaving plenty of family togetherness time to enjoy. I absolutely love the quality of the Dunhill Green Fir Artificial Christmas Tree from Wayfair. It is heavy enough that it’s not going to tip over, but not so heavy I can’t reposition it if need be. There is no shedding which means no mess, so, yay!
As far as decorations go, this year I’m keeping it kind of simple. A few traditional pieces, my DIY pinecone ornaments, and my favorite whispy branch additions. I may put some tinsel on closer to Christmas, but right now it’s too tempting for the furry ones to risk it.