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5 Types of Christmas Trees (With Pictures)

It can be challenging to find the best and most sustainable choice when it comes to Christmas trees. With over 15 million Christmas trees getting cut every year to go into people’s homes, many have made the switch to plastic. Whether you opt for a real or fake tree, there are pros and cons to consider. This article will cover the five main types of Christmas trees you can buy this Christmas to help you narrow down which is right for you.

5 common types of Christmas Trees

1. Fir Trees

balsam firs | image by GWD Forestry Canada

These are common species to find at a Christmas tree farm because they have solid branches and are generally pretty fragrant. If you opt for a fir tree, you’ll get the refreshing aroma of your Christmas tree throughout the season and won’t have to deal with ornaments falling every day.

Common Christmas fir trees include the following species:

  • Balsam fir
  • Fraser fir
  • Canaan fir
  • Douglas fir
  • Grand fir
  • Noble fir

The most common fir trees to find in tree lots are usually nobles, Douglas, and balsams. If you like to use a lot of decorations on your trees or have heavy ornaments, a fir tree is by far your best option. The rounded branches with needles sticking out at all angles allow decorations to grab onto the tree more easily, reducing the risk of broken décor or broken tree limbs.

Keep in mind that since these trees are dense, your decorations may not stand out much if you do not have large ornaments.

2. Pine Trees

pine tree | image by ledanseuse via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Pine trees are used for a variety of purposes and are some of the most common trees worldwide, earning them a spot in some of the most common Christmas trees. Depending on the pine species you opt for, one of the problems you may run into is varying branch strength.

The scotch pine will likely have the most substantial branches for those looking to decorate a pine tree extensively. These have a fair amount of fragrance to make your home feel even more like Christmas.

Other pine trees that are commonly used around Christmas include the white pine and the Virginia pine. These are great options for those who go easy on decorations since their branches are prone to being flimsier.

3. Spruce Trees

spruce branch | Photo by Dids from Pexels

The spruce tree family includes over 35 species to choose from for your Christmas tree. Spruce trees can have a more silver to blue tone, making them stand out from other types of trees. One of the best spruce trees for the holidays is a blue spruce because of its strong branches.

These have a powerful scent compared to other common spruce trees like the white or Norway spruce. Those three spruce tree variants are the most common within the large spruce family because of their overall shape and fullness.

Spruce trees are considered the perfect Christmas tree shape due to their height and girth. If you have the space for one of these thick spruces in your home, you’ll be pleased by the aesthetic it brings to your holiday celebrations.

4. Artificial Trees

National Tree Company 'Feel Real' Pre-lit Artificial Christmas Tree | Includes Pre-strung Multi-Color Lights and Stand | Jersey Fraser Fir - 7.5 ft

The fake Christmas tree has gotten more and more common because of its low cleanup and convenience. This ultimately eliminates the need to clean up messy needles on the floor, tree shopping, and upkeep of a living tree.

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Another benefit to fake trees is that you can choose the exact color and shape you desire. This is great for people with a specific location in the house that they want the tree to fit into, as you can buy a tree with the measurements you desire.

You can even get fake trees that have lights strung on them already so that you don’t have to buy lights separately. This takes a lot of the work out of Christmas tree decorating.

Many of the large trees you can purchase are expensive; however, they’ll last you several years, making the price comparable to buying a real tree yearly. By choosing what tree species you want to mimic, you can also get more substantial branches to accommodate heavy or oversized ornaments.

The biggest downfall to fake trees is the lack of tree smell in the home. A great way to remedy this is by using essential oils to mimic the scent of a real tree. You can put oils directly onto your tree or diffuse them near the tree to make the smell more potent.

Here’s a popular artificial Douglas fir on Amazon.

5. Unique types of Christmas Trees

If you’re looking for something a bit different in shape or size, you may want to look into a cedar or cypress tree. These are common landscaping trees but can survive well as a Christmas tree.

These two tree variants are tall and a bit more slender than the previously mentioned trees and could fit in a smaller space or room with large ceilings better than standard Christmas tree options. If you’re opting for a cypress tree, consider buying either an Arizona cypress or a Leyland cypress.

leyland cypress branch | image by Helen Cook via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

The Leyland is an excellent option for someone who wants a scentless tree, making it ideal for those with tree allergies! Whereas the Arizona is suitable for someone looking for a blue-gray tree without being exceptionally full-bodied.

If you want to explore cedar trees a bit further, look for a red cedar. These trees have a lot of fragrance, and their dark green color will fit in nicely with the rest of your Christmas décor.

These unique trees may be more challenging to decorate since their branches are shorter and closer together. If you usually go light on décor, these trees are great options. Your lights will hang well resulting in a simple and understated Christmas tree.