Artificial Christmas trees used to be derided as slightly grinch-y. But now, with the quality and realism of fake trees growing in leaps in bounds - not to mention a natural frustration with real trees' propensity to drop needles through the house (we have hoovered up pine needles in October the year after; no exaggeration), the popularity of an artificial Christmas tree has sky-rocketed
They'll also last for years. A real Christmas tree can often come at a whopping price and last only three weeks, before having to be sadly discarded at a Christmas tree grave (all those orange, bare branches - so pitiful to see) while a fake one can be stored in the attic or cupboard for years of celebratory good times.
You won't get a pine-fresh smell, true, but speaking as one for whom pine needles cause an instantaneous rash on contact and a horrible bout of hayfever sneezing, that's a concession many will be willing to make.
Bare or decorated?
Consider what kind of effort you want to put in once you have the tree home. Fake Christmas trees come bare, pre-lit, covered in 'snow', or fully decorated.
Our advice: make sure the branches are 'hinged' rather than hooked - this means they're permanently attached and you don't have to fasten them to the tree individually (a time-consuming and slightly joyless task). Mind you, if storage space is an issue, hooked is your best bet.
Price wise, be advised that as with many things - the more you spend, the better the tree is likely to look. There will be more 'tips' (i.e. needles) that make for that verdant, bushy look. You can spend as little as £7, while the deluxe versions head towards £10,000.
We can't advocate for that kind of spending, but if you have the wherewithal, buy 'PE' tips, rather than 'PVE', as they're moulded to replicate the look of real needles. These may be advertised as 'true needles,' or having a 'real feel.'
Fake trees vary in size, as do the real ones. You can chose from a 1 footer, all the way up to a 12 foot beauty. The most commonly purchased is a 7 footer, which looks resplendent in most living rooms - i.e. big enough to fill the room without dominating. However, if you have small children, consider the 4 foot option: it will be much easier, and more fun, for wee ones to decorate.
Anything around the 7 feet mark will require a stand to keep if upright.
Here are our favourite artificial Christmas trees on the market.
Pre-Lit Grand Spruce Christmas Tree - 9ft, £595
That is quite a price tag, yes, but the White Company artificial Christmas trees are our favourite on the market, and, lamentably, the more affordable 6ft version is already sold out. Nevertheless, we love this one - rich, realistically green, and a feathery look to the fir. It spreads and sits beautifully, and looks resolutely like the real thing. An investment piece. Buy now
Wayfair Pine Artificial Christmas Tree with Stand - 7ft, £79.99
Altogether more affordable for most, this Wayfair option presents a great, mid-range choice. Unadorned, the emerald green is realistic (you'll want to cover the stand at the bottom, though, which isn't very festive), though not as densely bushy as the White Company version. The branches are hinged, so it is ready to go - the perfect canvas if you have plenty of decorations to hand. Buy now
Christmas Tree World: Iridescent Bianca pine tree 4ft to 10ft, from £159
White Christmas trees have gathered apace in popularity over the past few years, and it is easy to see why: they provide quite the statement in any room. This Christmas Tree World white tree, available in a range of heights, looks lusciously bushy - and more than a little glam. Buy here
Wilko Flocked Fir Artificial Christmas Tree, 7ft £50
We have a real soft spot for this 7 foot Wilko option, bedecked as it is in white, to replicate the look of a snow covered tree. Once it is garlanded with lights and decorations, is has an utterly magic effect. With hinged branches and a built-in base, this is a great budget option. Buy now
Not on the High Street Driftwood Tree, 4ft £225
A winning tactic for a fake tree is to lean into the obvious artifice of it, rather than attempt to recreate the real thing. This Driftwood Tree is resolutely not the real deal, which is precisely why it looks so good. The kiln-dried driftwood is both stylish and designed to last in perpetuity. Buy here
The White Company Sparkle Pre-Lit Christmas Tree, 6ft, £150
A different spin on the artificial Christmas tree, but oh, this is lovely - a proper statement piece, pre-lit, snow white, and delightfully Scandinavian in feel. Equally as chic inside the house as out, it will bring some minimalist cool to your Christmas decorations. Buy now
Marks and Spencer Lit Slim Pine Christmas Tree, 6ft £59
This isn't the most realistic looking artificial Christmas tree on the market - the tips are the altogether less convincing PVC - but it is a great budget option if you've limited space. The slim line nature of it makes it easy to wrangle into corners. It's pre lit, as well, for ease of decorating. Great for a teeny flat. Buy here
Paperchase Rainbow Christmas Tree, 3ft £25.00
Giddy, silly, petite, joyous. Spruce up the joint with a disco-flavoured rainbow Christmas tree. We love this one if you've a child whose room wants a spot of instant cheer. Buy here
Selfridges Dunhill Pre-Lit Prelit Tree figurine, 8ft £800
Want to invest in something endlessly gorgeous (or rather blow the budget on a Christmas tree for the ages?) This 8 foot pre-lit Dunhill tree is the platonic ideal of a Christmas tree: bushy, bright, sparkly, classic. Buy here, if you can