Christmas Trees 101

Christmas trees are meant to be beautiful and impressive, but they can also be confusing and overwhelming. With so many different types of Christmas trees out there, it's hard to know which one is right for you, especially if you want something other than the classic Fraser fir (which many people do).

Thankfully, this guide on Christmas trees will teach you everything you need to know about these tall evergreens. From their history to their botany, to the practical facts of putting them up and then taking them down again in December.

The History of the Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree is a decorated evergreen tree traditionally associated with the celebration of Christmas. The custom of decorating an evergreen tree at Christmas began in Germany in the 16th century.

Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, was inspired to bring a lighted evergreen tree into his home to symbolize the Christian belief in the eternal life of Jesus Christ. German Protestants brought the Christmas tree custom to America in the late 18th century.

By the 19th century, the Christmas tree had become a widespread practice in America. The Christmas tree tradition was introduced to Canada by British troops stationed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, during the winter of 1758-59.

Today, the Christmas tree is a famous symbol of the winter holidays around the world.

The Botany of Christmas Trees

Christmas trees are conifers, which means they bear cones and needles rather than leaves. The needles on a Christmas tree are specially adapted to withstand cold weather. Most conifers are evergreens, meaning they keep their needles year-round.

There are many different types of Christmas trees, but the most common varieties include the Fraser fir, Balsam fir, Douglas fir, Scotch pine, white pine, and Austrian pine. Each type of Christmas tree has its own unique characteristics and qualities.

Practical Facts About Christmas Tree

When choosing a Christmas tree, it's essential to consider the tree's height, the shape of the tree, and how easy it's to assemble and dismantle (yes, can you get artificial Christmas trees!). It's also crucial to ensure that the tree will fit in your home.

When assembling an artificial Christmas tree, it's essential to use the right tools and follow the instructions. The same goes for disassembling a Christmas tree. If you're not careful, you could damage the tree or injure yourself.

It's best to buy a fresh Christmas tree from a local farm or nursery. A fresh one will last longer and look better than a dried-out tree from a department store. When buying a Christmas tree, check the needles for signs of browning or fading.

When placing a Christmas tree in your home, leave plenty of room for presents and decorations. Keeping the tree away from heat sources, such as fireplaces and radiators, is also important.

Christmas trees should be disposed of properly after the holiday season. Many local communities offer free Christmas tree recycling programs.

Types of Christmas Tree

Now that you know a bit of the history and botany of Christmas trees, let's take a look at some of the most common varieties of Christmas trees:

Fir Trees

The fir tree is the most popular Christmas tree, and it's easy to see why. Fir trees are beautiful and impressive, and they have a strong piney scent that's perfect for the holiday season. There're many different fir trees, including the Fraser fir, Balsam fir, and Douglas fir.

Balsam Fir

A longer-lasting species with a nice smell.

Most of us enjoy putting up a Christmas tree in our homes each year. While there're various trees to choose from, the balsam fir is a popular option for its attractive scent and needles. The balsam fir is also a good choice for those who prefer a real tree over an artificial one.

Unlike other evergreens, the balsam fir typically retains its needles for several weeks, making it a durable option for holiday decoration. In addition, the balsam fir has strong branches that can support heavier ornaments. It's often considered the ideal Christmas tree for these reasons.

Fraser Fir

A common choice for the holidays in the USA.

The Fraser fir is one of the most popular trees in the United States. The Fraser fir is native to the Appalachian Mountains, and it grows at high altitudes. The tree gets its name from botanist John Fraser, who discovered it in 1764 in North Carolina.

The Fraser fir is famous as a Christmas tree due to its good needle retention, pleasant smell, and attractive appearance. It's also used in making wreaths, garlands, and other holiday decorations.

Cannan Fir

No need to be worried about getting pricked by this species.

The Cannan fir's soft needles and strong branches make it ideal for hanging heavy decorations. It also has excellent needle retention. You can enjoy your tree for many weeks without worrying about needles falling on the floor.

In addition, the Cannan fir has a pleasant scent that'll fill your home with the holiday spirit. If you are looking for a Christmas tree that's both beautiful and practical, the Cannan fir is an excellent choice.

Douglas Fir

Strong branches will support just about any decoration.

From October to December, the fragrant smell of Douglas fir infuses the air in many parts of North America. This coniferous tree, also known as Pseudotsuga menziesii, is famous for Christmas trees. Douglas fir trees are cherished for their strong branches, which can support heavy decorations, and soft needles, which are less likely to drop than other evergreen species.

They also have excellent needle retention, meaning they will stay green and vibrant throughout the holiday season. In addition to being used as Christmas trees, Douglas firs are also widely planted as ornamental trees and used in forestry.

Grand Fir

Better for people with allergies.

Grand Fir trees are tall and majestic with dense, lush needles that are perfect for holding decorations. They also have a pleasant, fresh fragrance that fills the room and gets you into the holiday spirit. Grand firs are also relatively easy to care for. You will need to water them regularly, but they don't require as much upkeep as some other types of Christmas trees.

Grand firs are also a good choice if you have allergies since they're less likely to trigger reactions than other types of trees. With all of these advantages, it's no wonder that grand firs are such popular Christmas trees. So if you're looking for a beautiful and hassle-free tree this holiday season, consider a grand fir.

Noble Fir

Noble in more ways than one.

Thanks to its beautiful pyramid-shaped silhouette and needle-like leaves, the noble fir has long been famous for Christmas trees. Native to the Pacific Northwest, this evergreen tree can grow up to 100 feet (30 meters) tall in the wild. But don't worry - most noble firs sold as Christmas trees are only about 10 feet (3 meters) tall.

The noble fir needles are soft to the touch, have a pleasant blue-green color, and don't fall off quickly. It's a perfect choice if you're looking for a Christmas tree that will look beautiful throughout the holiday season,

Concolor Fir

A new fan favorite.

Concolor fir trees have been gaining popularity as Christmas trees in recent years. These trees have some attractive features that make them ideal for the holiday season:

  1. Their needles are soft to the touch, making them gentle on decorations and safe for small children.
  2. Their branches are strong and evenly spaced, providing ample room for hanging lights and other decorations.
  3. Their scent is incredibly fresh and piney, filling homes with the holiday spirit.

In addition to their aesthetic appeal, concolor fir trees are relatively easy to care for. They're drought-tolerant and prefer cooler temperatures, making them well-suited to indoor conditions. With a little bit of TLC (Tender Loving Care), a concolor fir can bring the holiday spirit to your home for many years to come.

Pine Trees

There're many different pine trees, but most of them share some common characteristics. They're all cone-bearing evergreens with needles attached to the branches in two or three bundles. Pine trees are fashionable Christmas trees because they're easy to care for and come in various shapes and colors. The most popular pine trees are Scotch pine, white pine, and red pine for Christmas.

Austrian Pine

This species won't need a lot of maintenance.

There're seemingly endless options to choose from when it comes to Christmas trees. Whether you prefer the traditional evergreen or something a little more unique, there's sure to be a tree that suits your taste. If you're looking for a tree with a distinctive appearance, an Austrian pine may be a perfect choice.

Their prickly needles and compact cones characterize these trees, and they tend to have a more compact shape than other types of Christmas trees. Austrian pines are also relatively low-maintenance, making them ideal for busy families. When it comes time to decorate your Christmas tree, consider an Austrian pine for a unique and beautiful addition to your holiday decor.

Scotch Pine

Known for its vibrant coloring.

This evergreen has dense, deep green needles resistant to shedding, and its strong branches can support heavy decorations. The Scotch pine also has good needle retention, meaning that your tree will stay looking fresh throughout the holiday season.

In addition, this tree has a pleasing conical shape that makes it ideal for use in small spaces. If you're looking for a classic Christmas tree with all the right features, the Scotch pine is a great option.

Red Pine

Much like a rose, this plant also has thorns!

The red pine is a popular Christmas tree species due to its well-shaped form, dense needles, and lovely reddish hue. The red pine's strong stems can support heavier ornaments, often used in artificial trees. It's a good choice for those who want a beautiful Christmas tree without the hassle of constantly watering it; the red pine is highly drought tolerant.

One downside of the red pine is that its needles are pretty sharp, so be careful when handling this tree. Another downside is that the red pine is one of the most flammable Christmas tree species, so keep it away from heat sources. Overall, the red pine makes a beautiful and lively Christmas tree that will please everyone in your family.

Virginia Pine

This tree will definitely survive the whole holiday season.

This native American tree is known for its unusual pyramid shape and strong, resilient branches. The Virginia pine is also one of the longest-lived Christmas trees - it can thrive for up to 30 years with proper care.

This tree is relatively low-maintenance; it doesn't need to be watered as often as other trees and is resistant to pests and diseases. If you're looking for a beautiful and long-lasting Christmas tree, the Virginia pine is a great option.

White Pine

This species definitely needs some space.

If you're looking for a classic evergreen with a traditional shape, the white pine Christmas tree is a great option. White pines can grow quite tall, so this's the tree for you if you have high ceilings. You'll also need to give it plenty of space - white pines can spread up to 20 feet (6 meters) wide!

When it comes to decorating, the possibilities are endless with white pine. You can keep it simple with some string lights and garland or go all out with festive ornaments and decorations. No matter how you choose to decorate it, a white pine Christmas tree will please everyone.

Spruce Trees

If you're looking for a Christmas tree with a traditional look, the spruce is a good choice. There are three different spruce trees, but most share some common traits.

Blue Spruce

Often chosen for its color.

The Blue Spruce tree is a popular choice for many homes during the holiday season. The blue spruce Christmas tree comes with blue-green needles that cover its branches. The needles are sharp, so be careful when handling the tree. The tree can grow up to 60 feet (18 meters) tall, but most trees used for Christmas are between 6 and 8 feet tall.

The blue spruce tree is native to North America. It's found in the mountains from Colorado to New Mexico. The tree prefers cool, moist conditions and can tolerate cold winters. When choosing a blue spruce Christmas tree, look for a tree with healthy needles that are not falling off. Also, make sure the tree is not too dry - if the needles break when you bend them, the tree is too dry and will not last long.

Norway Spruce

This is a good choice if you are looking for an aromatic tree.

These evergreens are known for their noble shape and dense, dark-green needles. They also have a pleasant scent that fills the home with the smell of the holidays.

Norway spruce trees can be found in many sizes, making them a good option for small apartments or large homes. And since they're relatively easy to care for, they're a low-maintenance option for busy families. Whether you're looking for a traditional tree or something slightly different, the Norway spruce is a great choice.

White Spruce

Make sure to water this tree regularly.

The White spruce tree is a beautiful, classic choice for the holiday season. Native to North America, the white spruce is notorious for its dense, green needles and strong branches. It's also a relatively fast-growing tree, making it a good option for those who want a large tree in a short amount of time.

While the white spruce does require some upkeep - such as regular watering and pruning - it's a relatively low-maintenance tree that will bring years of holiday cheer. So if you're looking for a traditional Christmas tree with all the bells and whistles, the white spruce is the tree for you.

Cypress Trees

Cypress trees are a unique option for your Christmas tree. These trees are native to the swamps of the southeastern United States, and they have an exciting look that'll add a touch of the unusual to your holiday decor. Cypress trees have dark-green needles and branches that droop downwards. They also have a strong scent that some people find pleasant and others overpowering.

If you're looking for a different tree from the rest, the cypress tree is a good option. Just be sure you have enough space for it - these trees can grow up to 60 feet (18 meters)tall!

Arizona Cypress

Low maintenance, with some strong branches to boot.

The Arizona cypress tree is a popular choice for many holiday shoppers. Grown in the American Southwest, this tree is known for its beautiful blue-green needles and compact shape. Unlike other Christmas trees, the Arizona cypress has a minimal scent.

However, its strong branches are perfect for hanging heavier ornaments. In addition, this tree is relatively easy to care for and does not require much watering. Overall, the Arizona cypress is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a beautiful, low-maintenance Christmas tree.

Leyland Cypress

A definite attention-grabber.

The Leyland cypress tree is an evergreen tree native to the United Kingdom. It grows to a height of up to 60 feet (18 meters) and has a diameter of 1-2 feet (30 to 60cm). The tree has a conical shape and is covered with dark green, needle-like leaves.

The Leyland cypress tree is a popular choice for Christmas trees due to its dense foliage and fast growth. The tree can be planted in full sun or partial shade and prefers well-drained soil. Leyland cypress trees are available for purchase at most nurseries.

Cedar Trees

The Cedar Tree is a popular choice for Christmas trees due to its lovely scent and attractive dark green needles. These trees are native to the Pacific Northwest, and they prefer moist, well-drained soil.

Red Cedar

Not a common choice for a Christmas tree, but a valid one.

The beautiful red cedar tree is perfect for adding a touch of holiday cheer to any home. Standing at six feet tall, the red cedar Christmas tree is sure to make a statement. The tree is adorned with realistic-looking branches that are perfect for hanging lights and decorations.

The red cedar tree is easy to assemble and disassemble, making it a breeze to take down after the holidays. Whether you are looking for a beautiful focal point for your holiday decor or a convenient and easy-to-use Christmas tree, the red cedar tree is a perfect choice.

Decoration Styles of Christmas Trees

When it comes to decorating your Christmas tree, the choices are numerous! However, there're a few popular styles that you may want to consider. Here are the most popular Christmas tree decoration styles:

Blue Christmas Tree

This choice is a fun deviation from the usual colors of gold and red.

For many people, the Christmas season is a time of joy and celebration. But for some, the holidays can be a difficult time. If you're looking for a way to help spread holiday cheer, consider decorating your Christmas tree with blue lights.

The calming color can help to create a peaceful atmosphere, and the twinkling lights will add a touch of magic to any room. Plus, blue is the traditional color of Christmas in many cultures, so you can be sure that your tree will be a conversation starter.

Whether you are hoping to add a little extra something to your holiday décor or looking for a way to show your support for those who may be struggling this season, a blue Christmas tree is a beautiful and unique way to spread cheer.

Candy Christmas Tree

Pretty and delicious.

The candy Christmas tree is a unique and festive way to decorate your home for the holidays. Using candy canes, lollipops, and other small sweets, you can create a beautiful and tasty tree that will wow your guests. Best of all, this decoration style is relatively simple to make. Simply start with a bare tree and begin attaching the candy. For a more uniform look, use only one type of candy or stick to a single color scheme.

You can also get creative and mix and match different types of candy to create a unique design. Once you've attached all of the candy, stand back and enjoy your sweet creation. The candy Christmas tree is an attractive option to add holiday cheer to your home.

Christmas Card Tree

If you're in a rush.

A Christmas card tree is a beautiful and unique way to display your holiday cards. To create a card tree, start by finding bare branches that you can use as the base of your tree. You can find branches at a local park, nature reserve, or backyard.

Once you have your branches, arrange them in a triangular shape and secure them together with wire or string. Then, start attaching your holiday cards to the branches using clothespins or ribbons. You can either hang the cards from the front or back of the branches or create layers of cards by attaching them to both sides.

Once you have attached all of your cards, you can add additional decorations like lights, garland, and bows. A Christmas card tree is a beautiful way to display your holiday greetings and commemorate the season.

Classic Christmas Tree

Why fix what isn't broke?

One classic style of decorating a Christmas tree is with all-white lights. This creates a soft, ethereal look that's especially beautiful at night. Another timeless option is to use all red lights, creating a festive and cheerful atmosphere.

If you want something a little more unique, try using a combination of colored lights. This can add interest and depth to your tree, and it can also be used to highlight specific areas. For example, you could use blue lights to accentuate the blue in your ornaments or green lights to bring out the green in your garland.

Whatever style you choose, decorating your Christmas tree with all-white or all-red lights will create a timeless look.

Ribbon Garland Christmas Tree

Ribbon garland is a perfect choice for those who prefer a more traditional look for their Christmas tree. This decoration style is elegant and straightforward, and it can be easily customized to match any décor. Ribbon garland is also relatively inexpensive, making it an excellent option for those on a budget.

To create a ribbon garland Christmas tree, simply choose a color scheme and purchase ribbons in coordinating colors. Once you have your ribbons, measure out appropriate lengths for your tree size and tie them onto the branches.

Add a few bows or other decorations to the ribbon garland for an added touch of holiday cheer. With just a little effort, you can create a beautiful and festive Christmas tree that will be the centerpiece of your holiday decor.

Tinsel Christmas Tree

Highly reflective.

A tinsel Christmas tree may be perfect for those who enjoy a more glittering and glamorous Christmas. Tinsel is a type of decorative material that's made from thin strips of metal foil. It's typically used to add sparkle and shimmer to various holiday decorations.

When decorating a tinsel Christmas tree, the sky is the limit. Tinsel can be used to create a range of looks, from classic and elegant to fun and festive. And since it comes in such a wide variety of colors, it's easy to find tinsel that coordinates with any holiday color scheme.

Whether you are looking for a traditional tree or something more unique, consider decorating with tinsel this holiday season. The tinsel Christmas tree is a fun and festive way to add some sparkle to your holiday decor.

White Light Tree

Symbolizing purity.

A white light Christmas tree is the perfect way to create a tranquil and elegant holiday setting. Whether you opt for a traditional evergreen or a more modern artificial tree, stringing it with clear or white lights will give your home a warm and inviting glow.

If you want to take your decoration one step further, consider draping your tree with gauzy fabric or hanging delicate ornaments from its branches. Try placing your white light Christmas tree in front of a mirror or large window for a truly show-stopping display. The reflected light will amplify the sparkling effect of the lights, making your holiday decor even more stunning.

No matter how you choose to style it, a white light Christmas tree will add beauty and serenity to your holiday décor.

Winter Wonderland Christmas Tree

You'll need a few things if you're looking for a winter wonderland Christmas tree decoration style. First, choose a color scheme. Traditional Christmas colors like red and green always look great but consider blue and silver or white and gold if you want something different.

Once you've decided on your colors, it's time to start decorating! Hang sparkling icicles from the branches of your tree, and add a few snowflake ornaments for a hint of magic. You could also string white lights around the tree for a soft twinkling effect.

Finally, top off your winter wonderland masterpiece with a star or angel topper. You can create a stunning Christmas tree perfect for the holidays with just a few simple touches.

The Real vs. Artificial Christmas Tree Debate

The scent is hard to beat.

There are two main options when choosing a Christmas tree: the real tree or the artificial tree. Both have their pros and cons, so it can be hard to decide which is best for your family. Here is a breakdown of the pros and cons of each option:

Real Christmas Tree


  • A real Christmas tree is a tradition for many families and is a great way to get into the holiday spirit.
  • Real trees are environmentally friendly, as they can be recycled after Christmas.
  • Real trees smell like pine and create a festive atmosphere.


  • Real trees require time and effort to maintain, including watering, trimming and cleaning up fallen needles.
  • Real trees can be messy and may not be suitable for families with small children or pets.
  • Real trees can be expensive, depending on where you live.

Artificial Christmas Tree

Sometimes convenience wins.


  • Artificial trees are easy to set up and require no maintenance.
  • They come in various shapes and sizes so that you can find the perfect one for your home.
  • Artificial trees are reusable and can be used year after year.


  • Artificial trees may not create the same festive atmosphere as a real tree.
  • They can be more expensive than real trees in the long run.
  • Some people find them much less appealing than a real tree.

So, Which is Better?

The answer to that question depends on your individual preferences and needs. If you want the ease and convenience of an artificial tree, go for it! A real tree is a way to go if you're looking for a traditional experience or want to be more environmentally friendly. Whichever option you choose, enjoy the Christmas season and create lasting memories with your loved ones.

Tips For Cutting Your Own Christmas Tree

If you're looking to save some money this holiday season, why not try cutting your own Christmas tree? It's a fun family activity that people of all ages can enjoy. Here are a few tips for getting started:

  • Find a place to cut trees. You can check with your local forestry department or go online to find a list of tree farms in your area.
  • Choose the right tree. Make sure to choose a tree that's the right size for your home.
  • Prepare for the journey. Make sure you have a saw, gloves, rope, and other supplies ready before you start cutting.
  • Cut the tree safely. Be careful when using the saw, and keep yourself and others safe while cutting.
  • Bring the tree home. Make sure to tie the tree securely to the car and take it home.
  • Enjoy your tree! Once you've got the tree in your home, decorate it however you like and enjoy spending time together as a family.

You're ready to start cutting your own Christmas tree with these tips! Have fun and be safe while you're doing it.

How To Keep Your Christmas Tree Fresh Over The Holidays

Watering a real Christmas tree is essential.

One of the best parts of having a real Christmas tree is the smell of pine in your home. But what do you do if your tree loses its needles and stops smelling fresh? Here are a few tips for keeping your tree looking and smelling great:

  • Water your tree daily. Ensure you keep your tree well-watered, especially in the early stages after you've cut it down. It should be out for water for no longer than 1-2 hours.
  • Add a Christmas tree preservative. Many different Christmas tree preservatives are available on the market. Add this to your water to help keep the tree healthy.
  • Avoid overloading the branches. If you overload the branches with ornaments, it can cause the tree to lose its needles. Try not to put too many decorations on the tree at one time.
  • Keep the tree in a cool, dry place. Try to keep your tree away from direct sunlight and heat sources. This will help keep it healthy and looking good for longer.

Follow these tips, and your Christmas tree will stay fresh and beautiful throughout the holidays!

And if you notice that your tree isn't taking up water like it should be, you might need to recut its bottom. A tree without water for an extended period can excrete sap that will stop water from being absorbed up through the bottom. So, if you notice this, take off around 1/3" (1cm) from the bottom, and hopefully, your tree will recover.

Closing Notes

When choosing a Christmas tree, it's important to consider your home and personal preferences. Since you spend so much time around your tree, don't be afraid to splurge on something nice; after all, it will last longer than many presents under its branches.

While you may consider an artificial Christmas tree initially, keep in mind that they often start losing their needles within days. Real trees are available year-round, so there's no rush when selecting one – unless you want that fresh fir or pine scent permeating your house as soon as possible.

By considering a few things before buying your Christmas tree, you can ensure that it brings cheer and happiness to everyone who sees it.

Posted by Harry Winston

Harry is an expert when it comes to decorating the interior of your dream home - as well as the tabletop with all sorts of delicious dishes. Whether you need culinary tips or interior design guides, you can rely on his expertise. When not writing about food or furnishing, Harry looking into these topics to stay on the top of current trends and new innovations.