Best real Christmas trees to buy for your home this year

Here’s all you need to know to buy your best-ever tree this Christmas.

Best real Christmas tree

by Jill Morgan |
Updated on

Whether you buy your festive tree from a local farm, market or nearest DIY shed, it’s worth knowing your Serbian spruce from your Fraser fir if you want to get the best real Christmas tree for you, and more for your money. As well as the traditional old favourites, there are some fabulous bristly new gems to choose from, each with their own distinct good looks and charming characteristics. So whatever is at the top of your priority list, shape or scent, soft needles or supportive branches, there’s a tree to suit…

We'll admit that if you're after a tree that's the easiest to care for and stands the test of time, year in, year out, you can't go wrong with an artificial Christmas tree. But if you want the authenticity of Christmas with the smell of fresh pine in your home greeting you each morning of the festive season, opting for a real Christmas tree is simply the best.

Best real Christmas trees at a glance:

Best for hanging lots of decorations: Norway Spruce - view on Christmas Trees Direct
Best for keeping all its needles: Nordmann Fir - view on Christmas Trees Direct
Best for Insta style: Blue Spruce - view on Christmas Trees Direct
Best for pets and children: Fraser Fir - view on Christmas Trees Direct

Before you buy, however, we'd recommend carrying out a few health checks. Inspect the base for a neat fresh cut and get a feel for your tree's weight - a freshly harvested tree will be much heavier than one that's been cut for some time. You can also stand the tree up, gently tap the base on the ground, and watch for falling needles. Only a few brown ones should fall off.

But, if you're in need of a real Christmas tree and don't have the means to pick one up, you can get one sent to your house from one of these reputable Christmas tree sellers. We've shared the best Christmas tree varieties and where to buy them. If you'd like to find a seller near you, visit the British Christmas Tree Growers Association.

Best real Christmas trees

Best for hanging lots of decorations

A classic choice, this trad tree has the typical tapered shape and Christmassy scent that we know and love. With plenty of bushy branches growing evenly out from the main trunk, you can display plenty of decs, lights and tinsel all set against a backdrop of fine, glossy, deep green needles. The needles are pretty spiky though and can provoke a skin reaction in some people. It’s also prone to shedding its needles if not regularly watered or positioned in a cool spot.

Best for keeping all its needles

Currently the UK’s most popular Christmas tree, this variety has a full and luxurious look. Taking two or three years longer to grow than most other options, it can be pretty pricey, but for its symmetrical shape, horizontal lush green branches all in an icy blue-green shade, it’s a worthy investment. The soft and waxy flat-tipped needles won’t prickle or drop, but the branch tips can be rather flexi so often bend with heavier ornaments.

Best for Insta style

Distinctive in colour with an evocative spicy scent, this is a great option if you fancy something a little different. Conical with blue-silver, almost metallic-looking needles covering strong rigid branches, it holds plenty of decorations. These elegant trees are slow to mature, which is reflected in the price tag, but as they keep their needles intact for weeks on end, we think they’re worth the outlay.

Best for pets and children

Slimmer than other trees, you can immediately recognise the Fraser fir for its upswept angled branches and rich scent. The super-fine needles are long and flat and won’t prickle or drop, saving on stress and mess and, with a dark green upper and silvery underside, they look good. The stiff branches are great for holding decorations too.

Best for family-proof fun

Noble pine
Price: £59.99+

This majestic tree has a brilliant silvery-blue colouring and its strong generously spaced branches will happily support the biggest decorations and cheerfully retain its broad, flat and soft-to-the-touch needles. If you’ve got kids ‘helping’ you decorate the tree, this pine will put up with anything! It also has a fresh woodsy fragrance that’ll last to the day you decide Christmas is over. Slow and tricky to grow, they are pricey though.

Best for trendsetters

Need a perfectly petite tree? Then snap up the hottest festive newcomer, the Korean fir. Almost triangular in shape, it has evenly spaced branches, each evenly covered with beautiful dark green soft needles with silvery undersides. These remain on the tree so it’s a good choice if you have children or pets. They often have tiny purplish cones still attached, adding to the festive charm.

Best for a natural vibe

A relatively new tree on the block, this shapely tapered tree has a slightly wild open look with upswept branches well-covered in long needles. These often come with tiny pinecones attached, adding to its fresh-out-of-the-woods appeal. A great tree to decorate, the long, flexible needles hold finely strung and heavy decorations in place, while its compact form makes it the perfect choice for smaller rooms and tight corners.

Best for small spaces

A small and slender spruce, this variety has all the charm of a trad Christmas tree in compact form. Though naturally cone-shaped, its branches are bushy and full but aren’t the strongest, so are better suited to lighter baubles. The dark
glossy needles have an attractive blue-grey underside, giving this tree a silvery luxe appearance that looks stunning against a dark wall or in a shady corner.

Best for fragrance

Smothered with flat, soft and flexi dark green needles, this tree has a neat elegant look and retains its foliage well. But it’s the scent that’s the real draw – a sweet and spicy citrus fragrance that shouts ‘It’s Christmas!’. The branches tend to be slimmer and more bendy than other varieties, creating a dense mass of foliage perfect for showcasing smaller, delicate trimmings – think ribbons and bows rather than big baubles.

How to keep your tree looking fresh

✽ Just like a cut flower, for best results condition your Christmas tree before you bring it indoors. When you get home, saw 3cm from its trunk, stand it in a bucket of cold water and remove its net. Leave it somewhere cool outside for 24 hours to rehydrate.

✽ Place the tree in a cool spot away from direct heat sources such as a stove, open fire or radiator.

✽ Use a stand that can hold water, and top it up regularly. Some cut trees can drink 1.5L a day.

✽ Using a humidifier nearby can help slow evaporation and keep the needles green and fresh.

How long will a real Christmas tree last indoors?

With proper care, a real tree can last anywhere from three to six weeks. However, this will also depend on the tree species with true firs, like the Nordmann and Fraser, lasting longer than others.

What should I do with my tree after Christmas?

We're all too familiar with the sight of Christmas trees being strewn outside people's homes come January. Here are some options for what you can do with your tree in the New Year:

1. Arrange a local council collection: Depending on your local council, many take Christmas trees away to be shredded and reused. However, if this isn't an option, your local recycling centre may have something similar.

2. Mulch it: You can also use your tree as mulch in your own garden. Remove all the branches and cut the trunk into small sections. These can be spread around your plants to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.

3. Donate to charity: JustHelping have a Christmas Tree-cycling Event where they collect your tree for charity. The collection "engages thousands of people to donate to good causes while providing a valuable community service."

4. Compost it: If you have a composting system, you can chop up your tree into smaller pieces and add it to your compost pile. The tree will eventually break down and enrich your compost, which you can use in your garden.

5. Plant it: If you bought your Christmas tree in a container, it'll still have its roots so you can replant and reuse next year. For more insight, read this guide from Carbon Gold the world's leading biochar company.

6. Repurpose it: Get creative and repurpose your tree by cutting branches and using them for various craft projects. You can make wreaths, decorative pieces, or even natural potpourri. Alternatively, use the trunk piece to create a wildlife habitat in your garden - the options are endless!

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Jill Morgan writes regularly for Modern Gardens, and loves everything to do with gardens, plants and outdoor living. Her long thin, town garden is the setting for many family and creative projects from bird feeding and veggie growing to den building and mini-pond dipping.

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