Ever since Queen Charlotte set up our first recorded Christmas tree in Windsor back in 1800, we Brits have been a little bit obsessed with the noble Tannenbaum, and rightly so. There’s nothing guaranteed to get you in the holiday mood faster than draping, bedazzling, stringing and hanging the tree with tinsel, baubles and whatever else floats your festive decorating boat.
That said, things have changed considerably in terms of what you can deck your halls with nowadays. First, there was the advent of the artificial tree. While they can be more expensive in the first instance — although oftentimes not — you can use them time and time again, so they’re much more cost-effective than a real tree, you don’t have to worry about lashing them to the roof of the car, praying they don’t fall off, and you don’t have to watch them droop in the garden after Boxing Day has passed.
In even more recent years, the sheer variety of artificial Christmas trees has exploded, offering a tree for every need. There are snow-effect trees and trees with berries to bring the outdoor look in, great value trees for tight budgets and pre-lit trees to make decorating a breeze, tall trees to make a statement and compact trees to suit small spaces — and we’ve rounded up the best of each kind to help make your living room (or hallway, or kitchen-diner, or even bedroom) sparkle this Christmas.
Cutting back on costs in the run-up to Christmas needn’t mean foregoing a great-looking tree, as this 7ft artificial fir tree from Tesco shows. While many taller trees can look a little bare, this budget version is full and dense throughout, and its hinged branches come adorned with red berries and pinecones for an extra festive touch. It’s also super easy to set up and disassemble, with its three parts slotting easily into place, and its sturdy metal base keeping things in check. All in all, it’s a lot of luxury for a little price, and that’s ultimately what earns it top spot on our list.
If you liked the look of our first-choice Christmas tree with its cheerful berries and cute pinecones, but don’t have space for a whopping seven feet of tree, then think a little smaller and go for this classic artificial tree from John Lewis. It packs the same amount of style into a smaller package, with angled branches and needles that are more realistic-looking than the average offering, but its biggest seller is its convenience. Its concertina construction means it can be packed flatter than a regular artificial tree, which is good news for those of us with little loft space to spare, and set up more quickly too. That said, it is rather expensive, so if your ceiling’s high enough and you’re on a tighter budget, consider Tesco’s Regency fir.
Green is a classic for a reason, but a snow-effect Christmas tree is a great way to add a touch of elegance and magic to the living room with the tiniest amount of effort. To people who really love Christmas and want a more authentic-looking snowy tree, we say: go for this one. Underneath the realistic-looking matte-finish snow (no blingy branches here) the needles are dark green and realistically splayed, making them look less like an eerily perfect triangle and more like the real thing. Reviewers also loved how it just fell into place, which always gets a thumbs-up from us.
If a traditional Christmas look isn’t your thing, rest assured that you don’t need to plump for the classic evergreen to give your room an impressive festive centerpiece. This artificial birch tree is perfect for minimalists and Scandi design lovers. Not only is it sure to garner admiring glances at your next Christmas ‘do, it’s pre-lit with warm white lights for maximum ease and a cosy effect, and its sparser look opens up space, rather than feeling closed-in as a denser tree might. If you’re after a tree that’ll stand out from the droves of fir and pine, or have a smaller space to work with, give this a try. If you have a small room but prefer the traditional look, why not try the Argos Pencil Christmas tree, below?
This extra-bushy Christmas tree is easily the fullest on our list, and at 7.5 feet tall it’s loftier than most, too, making it one for larger spaces. If you want a tree that’ll really make a statement (and guard an abundance of gifts) this is it: unbelievably dense from top to bottom, with a classic fir tree design that’ll look at home in living rooms both interior and modern. It’s also far easier to set up than it looks, with foolproof hinged branches and a stable metal base — the only thing you might have trouble with is getting lights around its bulk, so if you’re short on time or pairs of hands, consider going for a pre-lit tree such as Marks & Spencer’s 9-foot tree, below, or if that’s too much tree to handle, John Lewis’ 6-footer.
This is definitely one reserved for those lucky enough to have tall ceilings, but if you do, it may well be all the decoration you need. A 9ft Christmas tree is a real statement-maker, and it’s our pick of the bunch when it comes to extra-tall trees thanks to its easy set-up and quality build. First, it’s pre-lit with a whopping 600 white lights, so there’s no need to worry about getting the stepladder out until it comes to putting on the star. Second, the push-fit stand and hinged branches mean getting it up and running takes mere moments, which means you’re free to focus on more important things, like which box those baubles are in...
There are small living rooms, and then there are really small living rooms — this clever little compact Christmas tree is for the latter, and unlike many slimline trees on the market, it doesn’t skimp on branches. Standing at 6 feet, this pencil tree is about as tall as the average Christmas tree, so it still looks impressive, but plays with proportions for a smaller footprint. The up-shot? It’ll take up less space on the floor, leaving more room for presents, but still looks full and festive, and all for a teeny tiny price. A really fab budget Christmas tree, and one that’s perfect for small lounges.
Need a more compact Christmas tree for smaller spaces? Check out our guide to the best compact Christmas trees.