Originating from the Pagan festival of Yule, Christmas trees have long been a part of our festive traditions. From decorating your tree with Christmas music playing, to coming downstairs on Christmas morning and finding your presents under the tree, without one Christmas just isn’t the same. Buying a Christmas tree can be a complex minefield with a lot of options. However, our handy Christmas tree buying guide will walk you through the process to help you pick the right one.
Artificial or Real?
The tradition for yuletide used to be buying a real pine tree which is then adorned with fairy lights and other decorations. However, in recent times there has been a shift towards buying artificial trees, with people believing they are better for the environment (and less hassle). Different things work for different people, so here are the benefits of each:
Real Christmas Trees
- The authentic texture and scent of a real Christmas tree can be difficult to replicate and adds to the festive feel
- Help provide jobs and sustain the rural economy
- No need to store for the rest of the year
- Plenty of beautiful trees to choose from
Artificial Christmas Trees
- You can save money in the long run by using them year after year
- Low maintenance- no need to water or take care of them
- Easy to assemble and store away
- No need to sweep up pine needles from the floor
- Flame resistant; real Christmas trees can be flammable when they dry out
- There are a variety of great options to choose from: you could go for something realistic, such as our Fraser Grande model, or a more contemporary style such as our Starburst Gold Tree design
What About the Environment?
It is typically believed that artificial Christmas trees are the environmentally-friendly option. However, this is not always the case. Most artificial trees are made of plastic, which comes from oil, and industrial emissions are produced when the tree is manufactured. The Carbon Trust states that a 2m artificial tree has a carbon footprint that is twice that of a real tree that ends up in landfill, and 10 times that of one which is burnt. So you will need to reuse your artificial tree for at least 10 Christmases on average to keep the environmental impact lower.
Species of Christmas Tree
The most common species of Christmas tree in the UK is the Nordmann Fir, which accounts for an estimated 80% of trees sold each year. The second most common is the Norway Spruce, and there is a selection of others to choose from. Here is a quick overview of the trees we sell at Primrose:
The distinctive stately pyramid shape of the Nordmann Fir comes with defined layers. The glossy dark needles have a thick, waxy coating which makes them softer to the touch; perfect for households with children or pets. These trees don’t shed needles as often as other varieties, making them a great lower-maintenance option.
Primrose has a selection of Nordmann Fir trees, including this versatile classic 5ft Nordmann Fir Field Mix.
The traditional Norway Spruce used to be the most popular Christmas tree. It has an attractive broad triangular shape with a pointed top, which is incredibly strong and sturdy. The short green needles of the Norway Spruce are very fine and spiky, so it may not be the best option for families with young children or pets. They also tend to shed more often than the Nordmann fir.
Primrose has a great selection of Norway Spruce trees, including this adorable 4ft Premium Norway Spruce.
The classic pyramid shape of the Fraser Fir is less layered than the Nordmann Fir. Their tall, slim profiles make them great for homes with limited space. These trees are notable for the dark green needles with silvery undersides and wonderful citrus fragrance. The soft needles are great for homes with children and pets, and their excellent needle retention keeps vacuuming to a minimum.
Primrose stock a range of Fraser Fir trees, including this majestic 6ft Premium Fraser Fir.
Before buying a Christmas tree, there are other things you should consider:
- Allergens: according to Haymax, one-third of the UK population suffers from an increase in itchy skin and cold-like symptoms, known as “Christmas Tree Syndrome”. If someone in your household is allergic to Christmas trees, an artificial tree could be a better option.
- Timing: Christmas trees are typically cut at the same time, so if you are buying a real tree, there’s no benefit in leaving it until later in the season to buy. Most places start selling them from late November; it’s best to buy yours by mid-December.
- Seller: plenty of retailers sell Christmas treesbut think twice before buying from a pop-up tree seller, so there’s no way of getting advice or a refund if there are any issues with the tree.
- Size: make sure to measure the height of the room of the tree is going to be based in before you buy, and factor in the size of the tree stand to make sure it fits!
- Fire safety: If you are opting for a real Christmas tree, make sure it will not be placed near a heat source, such as a fireplace or heat vent. Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near the tree. If you are using fairy lights, make sure to switch them off when not in use and avoid placing anything near them that burns easily, such as paper.
Alice works in the Primrose copywriting team. She spends her days here writing gardening product descriptions and cracking blog posts.
Outside work, Alice is writing a fiction novel and runs her own blog. She also enjoys travel, good food, and tarot reading.