Wednesday, October 17
How to choose an artificial Christmas tree
Have you decided to switch from real to an artificial tree for Christmas this year, or does your old artificial tree need replacing? If you plan to buy an artificial Christmas tree, there are a wider variety of options than ever before. Trees are available in a number of styles, a wide array of colors; perhaps you're interested in a flocked tree, a rotating tree, or want to save time in decorating (and taking down) the tree every year by buying a prelit Christmas tree. There are also a numb of factors to consider in order to assure you get the tree that will suit your home and give you the best value for your dollar.
The first thing you need to know is the exact size of the tree you want to buy. Decide where you'll put the Christmas tree, and measure the height of the ceiling. If your ceilings slope, remember to measure the height of the ceiling where the center of the tree will be placed. You'll need to make sure that the height of the tree you purchase plus the stand and the additional height of whatever tree topper you plan to use will clear the ceiling with enough clearance. Consider how full you want the tree to be in that spot. How far out from the wall would you like to place it, and how much space will you have? If your room holds a lot of furniture and you need to shift it to make room for the tree, a very full tree is likely to look cramped and get in the way. If the room is too small, or too crowded, you may even want to consider a tabletop tree. On the other hand, if you have a spacious room, you wouldn't want too narrow a tree or it will look out of place. Be sure the planned fullness of your tree will suit your space.
The next consideration is probably color. If you have a modern decor scheme, you may want to opt for one of the more avant-garde colors such as red, orange, violet, or metallic. If your room is ultra-feminine you might enjoy a pink or white tree. If you prefer traditional decor, you'll probably want a green tree. Now is the time to decide if you would like the green tree to be flocked with artificial snow.
Style is best determined by how many ornaments you have and the style of your decor. Fuller tree styles can appear well-decorated with a minimum of ornaments, while more open finger-like branches are capable of displaying a multitude of decorations. Make sure the style you prefer will look at home with your chosen decor as well.
Cost is going to enter into the equation at some point, but try to compare cost with the quality of the tree. A cheaply made artificial tree is going to appear shoddy and will likely have broken branches and open "holes" within a few years, while a better quality tree might cost more initially, but can actually be a wiser investment if it remains full and is in use for ten or twelve years or more. The best way to assess whether the tree you are considering is of good quality is to compare the number of tips and branches from one tree to the next. The higher the number of tips and branches, the better the tree will look and the longer it is likely to last. Of course, it is also likely to be more expensive. If it makes you feel any better, find out what a cut tree in the size and style you like would cost this year. Expect it to probably increase in price (most things do) over the next ten or twelve years. Figure out how much you'd spend buying cut trees every year, and you may find that purchasing an artificial tree instead can be a tremendous bargain.
Convenience factors are a part of your decision as well. Pre lit Christmas trees are available that save you the hassle of twining the lights yourself -- as well as untwining them and storing them when it's time to take the tree down. Prelit trees usually cost more, but save on buying lights and save a lot of time and aggravation.
Another convenience issue is ease of set-up. Artificial Christmas trees have traditionally been set up by erecting a central pole, then fastening in the branches one by one. Sometimes it can be time-consuming just to figure out which branches go in which layer. If you do buy this kind, make sure the branches are well-marked, or take the time to re-mark them yourself when you disassemble it after Christmas. However, a simpler option are the trees which fold out and are already assembled. You usually have to attach 2 or 3 poles together to form the height of the tree, but these are much easier to put together. Again, there is likely to be a slight increase in cost with these more convenient models.
Some trees automatically rotate, play music, change colors, and have other specialty features built in. If you are interested in any of these and have room in your budget for them, consider those options as well.
Armed with your measurements and a knowledge of your preferences, you should be able to sift through the wide variety of available artificial Christmas trees and find the one that is perfect for you and your home.
at 5:42 PM