Christmas is just weeks away, and no festive setting is complete without the ultimate decoration - the tree.
Dressed up to the nines with much-loved baubles, glittering tinsel and other merry flourishes, it’s the centrepiece for households all over the UK, made to stir seasonal joy with ever glance.
Real Christmas Trees vs Realistic Christmas Trees
Real fir trees can be difficult to lug home (even with a car) and require repurchasing every December. Then there’s the quandry of how to get rid of them once the day has been and gone; nothing kills a post-Christmas high quite like the sight of tree carcasses abandoned in the street.
Investing in an artificial one will spare you the annual expense, while ensuring you have one ready to go, year after year. It’s the ultimate fesitve invesment. The lack of shedding sharp needles also makes them a far more appealing option for allergy sufferers, pet-owners and new parents.
If you’re worried about them looking cheap, you needn’t. Long gone are the plastic pretenders of the past; our edit of modern artificial trees are oh-so faux and fabulous.
Before we delve into our list of the best faux trees and pre-lit trees, a quick history lesson - because what is Christmas without learning about traditions?
The origins of the Christmas tree
The idea of a decorated tree can be traced back to 16th century Germany with Martin Luther who pioneered styling his tannenbaum, or fir tree, with lit candles. With health and safety regulations still centuries off, its prettiness far outweighed the dangers of fire, and soon copycat versions started springing up all over western Europe.
Then there’s an older origin story that pre-dates Christianity; it’s thought the Pagans brought them in to decorate their homes before the winter solstice - long before the arrival of Jesus H. Today it’s practically impossible to imagine placing your gifts under anything but a festively festooned tree.
Pre-lit artificial trees
As well as plain artificial trees, you can get ones with lights embedded within the realistic-looking branches and needles. Pre-lit trees are even more economical because you can skip buying extra fairy lights. Plus, when it comes to storage, everything can be bundled away in a single compact package - no untangling endless wires.
Available in a range of styles and shapes and to suit all budgets, you can get everything from a ceiling-scraper, to a contemporary tree made to turn heads.
From rave-worthy neon trees to lifelike giants plucked straight from Lapland, prepare to browse the best artificial and pre-lit Christmas trees to get this December.
See our favourites below
John Lewis & Partners Galloway Fir Pre-Lit & Decorated Christmas Tree, Gold / Multi, 7ft
Bringing to mind the Christmas trees of the 80s and 90s, this pre-lit tree not only comes fitted with 380 tiny lights but classic red, gold and green styling too. The result? This is sparking all kinds of retro joy in our soul. Standing tall at 7ft, there are also 125 decorations, cultimating in a glitter red star topper. Aside from setting it up, there’s nothing more to do - think of it as Christmas spirit in a box.
However, for those who love ornament arrangement, there’s no need to feel bereft. John Lewis also has a range of artificial and pre-lit trees to pick from, including this battery-operated twin set (£149) which you can set outside in a sheltered spot.
The White Company Pre-Lit Grand Spruce Christmas Tree - 9ft
This luxury retailer is selling a selection of artificial trees and pre-lit faux trees, up to 9ft tall. They come with tree skirts in rustic, contemporary and multi-purpose styles to suit all tastes.
If you’re lucky enough to have particularly high ceilings, this Grand Spruce Christmas tree would look amazing either set by a window or further into the room so it can be admired from all angles. The hyper-realistic branches come with 1,000 warm fairy lights embedded so you can skip the ordeal of tangled wires this year. Just add a few choice ornaments and you’re ready to go.
If you’re looking for a smaller but as impressive look, shop all trees at The White Company here.
Habitat 6ft Berry & Cone Pre-Lit Christmas Tree - Green
If you’re one of the thousands of people who have moved home this year, you may have gotten rid of your tired old decorations. Habitat's option has the perfectly styled tree ready to go: this one comes with 180 warm lights as well as red berries and pinecones for the cosy rustic vibes of a traditional Christmas.
This 6ft high fire-retardant tree stays steady with the help of a tree stand, but it's not the prettiest to look at. Still, it will at least encourage you to get cracking on your Christmas shopping list - the perfect way to hide those naked legs.
Find more styles, including a rainbow coloured tree, at Argos.
The Pre-lit Ultra Devonshire Half Tree Warm White Lights
If you only have room for a corner to install a tree display, it can feel pointless to buy a tree where one side of it will be blocked out of sight. Half trees may look odd straight out of the box but are an ingenious solution when backed against a wall or corner. This one from specialist Christmas Tree World comes with warm white lights embedded within so no awkward stringing for you. You can get it from 4ft to 7ft, so it should fit a range of spaces. A great investment in Christmases to come.
There’s an entire forest of trees to be found at Christmas Tree World, from slim and snow-covered designs to pleasingly realistic bushy ones in a range of heights. And in a show of sustainability to the environment, they pledge to plant a tree for every one sold, in partnership with Borneo Nature Foundation.
7ft Snowy Dorchester Pine Feel-Read Artificial Christmas Tree
It’s anyone’s guess if it will snow this year, but if you want to guarantee yourself a frosted fir, Hayes Garden World has just the thing. This majestic creation is made to look just like the real thing, with pinecones peeking out amongst the branches. As a bonus, it comes with free delivery and a lifetime guarantee
AMARA CHRISTMAS Imperial Tree/Wreath/Garland - Set of 4
For those who wish to nail Christmas in one swoop, head to Amara where this four set of Yuletide foliage is ready to give your home a festive makeover. Ideal for decorating the porch, the pack consists of twin pre-lit trees that stand 90cm high as well as a door wreath and a garland which can light up independently too thanks to individual battery packs. It comes with a six hour timer, so you needn't fret about burning through batteries by having it on all night long. Leave plain or add a layer of extra merriment with some baubles.
VEYLIN 6ft Christmas Tree 700 Tips Artificial Tree
You don’t need to dig deep to find a Christmas tree on a budget. Inspired by the mighty pine, this tree measures 6ft tall and comes with a stand to keep everything steady. A pink coloured tree is also available, should you fancy a contemporary look over the traditional.
Behold: the tree of Chrismas futures has arrived. Nanoleaf, a leader in smart lighting, has modular panels in various shapes - including triangles - which allow you to create your own tree design right on your wall. You can control the light with the Nanoleaf app or use your smart home tech like Alexa or Google Home. There are 16 million possible colour combinations to choose from, so there’s no longer any need to choose between traditional red and green or Japandi neutrals - you can change the colours every night if you wish.
Natural Wood Company Alternative Oak Christmas Tree
Part tree, part sculpture, all kinds of wonderful. This is the tree for those who do things differently. Lovingly crafted, the design is made from strong and sustainable FSC English Oak, and each branch can be moved independently around the trunk.
This means you can arrange them in a spiral formation, flat against the wall or in a random order to mimic a real tree. Perfect for those with storage issues, it can be broken down and stored in a custom-made jute drawstring bag, or left upright but flat against the back of a cupboard or bookcase.
Four sizes available.
Wooden Scandi Tree
Interiors fans know Japandi is the hottest craze in the decor world right now, with clean elegant shapes framing polished natural materials. If you’re looking to adopt the look for Yuletide 2020, this tree is textbook. Made from blonde wood and with a sturdy base, it’s the perfect setting to let your ornaments take the festive spotlight.