Download Video Links
Every time I move into a new apartment, one of the first questions my partner will ask is, “Where are we going to put the tree?”
I’ve lived in multi-bedroom houses and apartments under 500 square feet–when you live in small spaces, the question of where your tree is going to go isn’t always easy to answer.
What’s the right size Christmas tree for my space?
The best thing to do is block it out. Get some masking tape and a measuring tape and start blocking out the size of the trees you’re looking at to see how they fit into your space. Height is important, but it’s the width of the tree that makes life difficult.
Christmas trees always take up more space than you expect. With a standard ceiling height of eight feet, most guides suggest a 7.5 foot tree for the room to look balanced. With standard trees, a 7.5 foot tree has a diameter of around 64 inches. That’s 5.5 feet. I’m five feet tall. I don’t have a convenient space in my apartment for something me-sized to just lie down, spread out, and stay there for a month and a half.
Pencil trees cut that width in half, at least. You can still get all the height you want, but instead of finding room for a circle with a 64 inch diameter for a 7.5 foot tree, you’re looking at 34 inches or smaller. That’s closer to the diameter of a four foot traditionally shaped tree.
It’s important to note, tree sizes aren’t standardized. The term “pencil tree” doesn’t denote a certain size, so be sure to check each tree’s individual size. Another thing to keep in mind is that all heights do include the stand.
Which style Christmas tree is right for me?
Artificial Christmas tree selection has changed a lot since I was small. You have almost endless options, which can get a little overwhelming.
Unique-style trees with non-traditional colors and purposefully sparse trees often require less decoration. They’re designed to look great on their own so if you’re looking for something minimal, these are good options. They’re also perfect if you’re looking to make a big impression on guests with an unexpected tree.
But there’s plenty to be said for a traditional tree. The natural-looking trees provide lots of room for dense decoration. It’s a blank palette to fill with your family’s traditions and aesthetic.
Real trees are better than fake ones.
I get you. Real trees are awesome in the way they look, feel, and smell. But they aren’t great for small spaces and the clean up is a headache.
Here’s the good news: artificial trees are more realistic now than ever. Instead of the flat, plasticy fringe we grew up with, artificial trees today have branches that have been molded from actual pine trees. The branches are rounded, soft, and just plain realistic. The advantage here is that these modern trees can fool the eye and appear like a real tree, which is great if you’ve always had real trees in the past. The only disadvantage is that because they have a more realistic look, you often can’t hang ornaments on the very end of branches, just like a real tree. And while they’re still strengthened with wire and pliable, the thickness of the branches limits the range of motion.
If you’ve grown up with artificial trees and just need a pencil tree to fit your space this year, then while novelty of an ultra-realistic is attractive, you might find yourself disappointed if you’re used to hanging your ornament on stiff, metal branches.
It all really depends on where your priorities are in terms of tree appearance and ornaments.
Now let’s take a look at the best pencil Christmas trees of 2017.
1. National Tree 7.5 Foot ‘Feel Real’ Prescott Pencil Slim Tree
This is one of the modern, ultra-realistic trees. The branches have been molded from real pine trees and have a beautiful rounded needle look to them. Just like real trees, it has some floppier branches that stick out apart from the main tree that interrupt the cone-shape silhouette and give it that realistic imperfect feel. For some that’s a plus, and for others’s it’s not a traditional shape. Like with all realistic trees, you won’t want to hang ornaments right on the tip of branches.
At 7.5 feet all, this is a perfect height for eight to 10 foot ceilings. It has a width of a slim 35 inches, so make sure you block that out before you buy. It has a very nice fullness with 973 branch tips and, like most realistic trees, has traditional needle branches at the center of the tree since they give better coverage to hide the pole. This tree comes pre-lit with 350 clear lights. In my opinion, pre-lit is the best thing to happen to Christmas trees since ornaments.
If you’re nostalgic for a real tree, this one is for you.
Buy the National Tree 7.5 Foot ‘Feel Real’ Prescott Pencil Slim Tree here.
2. Treetopia No. 2 Pencil Artificial Christmas Tree
If you’re looking for something a little more nontraditional, something more modern, try the Treetopia No. 2 Pencil Christmas Tree. At only 18 inches in diameter, this is skinny tree can fit into some truly tight spaces. The PVC needles have a molded realistic tree look and are bunched in tightly for a full appearance. The unique topiary style is eye-catching and keeps the space around your tree from looking overcrowded. The branches are strong for realistic trees which is good because this tree looks stunning covered in ornaments. This tree is unlit so you can skip the lights or choose your own. The photos make it look like the foliage goes all the way down to the floor, but it doesn’t. So don’t worry, there’s plenty of room for gifts. The Treetopia comes in this six foot tree as well as a nine foot tree.
Price: From $98.99
Buy the Treetopia No. 2 Pencil Artificial Christmas Tree here.
3. Vickerman Spruce Sparkle White Christmas Pencil Tree
This season, try something really dramatic with an all white tree. This Spruce Sparkle White Christmas Pencil Tree from Vickerman is six feet tall and 29 inches wide. It’s a good size to fit in tight spaces but still has that natural widening at the base that you’re used to seeing. The branches are made with the traditional flat needles so they’re strong enough to hold lots of ornaments. The white needles have a slight sparkle to them that makes it look like the whole tree is covered in snow. This tree comes pre-lit with 250 clear lights to enhance the twinkle effect.
Price: $110.8 (26 percent off MSRP)
Buy the Vickerman Spruce Sparkle White Christmas Pencil Tree here.
4. Best Choice 7.5 Premium Traditional Pencil Christmas Tree
If all you want is a traditional artificial tree but in pencil shape, this is the one. It’s 7.5 feet tall, 26 inches wide, and made with traditional flat needles with fully posable branches. This is a very full tree with 1075 branch tips that, with the proper fluffing, provide very good coverage. The needles are a classic pine green with some short brown needles up against the branches which give the tree a more realistic look. This tree is unlit, so you can have some fun picking out your perfect lights. It’s easy to assemble, won’t take up much space, and has a truly nostalgic look to it.
Price: From $89.99
Buy the Best Choice 7.5 Premium Traditional Pencil Christmas Tree here.
5. Vickerman Champagne Tinsel Artificial Christmas Pencil Tree
For something non-traditional and a lot more rustic, this alpine pencil tree will turn heads. Skipping the classic, dense triangle shape of groomed Christmas trees, this one gets its inspiration directly from pine trees growing in the wilderness, brought down to a scale that can fit in your living room. The real wood trunk is a huge upgrade from the metal poles you’re used to trying to hide. The branches are sparse and flat, like you’d see in the forest, and they’re pre-lit so you’re good to go. This eight foot tree is 25 inches across at its widest, but most of the tree is much skinnier than that. This is a perfect tree for a cozy cabin or rustic aesthetic.