November 29, 2018

I was really unhappy with our old tree and decided to completely scrap it (and most of its decorations). This is a rebuilding year and I am creating a new christmas decor design. The main things I was unhappy with about our old tree were size and color. The size was WAY TOO WIDE. I think this happens a lot actually. Unless you have a large floorplan or vaulted ceilings I think many homes would feel more comfortable with a “slim” or “narrow” style tree.

Once I put my finger on this difference being a big part of what I didn’t like about our tree it focused my search.

For color and quality, our old tree was just the very dark plastic-y green. I wanted something a bit lighter green that didn’t feel so heavy.

(There’s a peek at island progress in that photo!) The amount of options in store I found didn’t have much variety so we undertook a mega christmas tree adventure and ordered six trees online. Trees are just so hard to tell online from the picture what it is going to be like. And seeing them in person completely affirmed that going by the photo would have been useless!

All of these are around $100 too. In the picture above they are straight out of box, not fluffed.

Doing this exercise confirmed to me that a tree pretty much has to be seen in person to fully understand what it looks like. Most of the ones I ordered and what they actually were like was utterly different compared to their online photos, sometimes laughably so!

seven foot slim virginia pine

This was one of our top three. It has good pine needles, not the kind that look just like sliced paper. We didn’t go with it because it was too tall. I think a six and a half foot tree is the sweet spot for eight foot ceilings. Also the needles had a slightly flocked feel because they were texturized. I love flocked christmas trees, but it wasn’t what we were doing in here. And this application kind of looked like the type of faux garland I don’t like where they’d put in little fake pine cones and red birds.

six and a half foot pennsylvania pine

This tree had INCREDIBLE needles. I loved the height and quality, but it wasn’t a slim and I wished it was a lighter green. (The sun is really brightening it in this picture.) My hope was to find a narrow option by this brand (which I have the details on below.)

six and a half foot camdon fir

Not much to love. Too wide, and the bad, dark green slices of paper needles.

six and a half foot tiffany fir slim

Still had the bad slice needles, but a slim profile I wanted. Maybe a touch too slim.

six and a half foot tiffany fir slim

Another six and a half foot tiffany fir slim, by the same company, but wider and definitely not the same as the previous one. Just another example of how not precise online tree listings are!

seven foot north valley spruce

Too tall, too wide, and bad needles.

I was deciding between option no. 2 – with great needles, but too wide, or option no. 4 – the one with bad needles but a slim profile I wanted (maybe too slim). Both had too dark green color. A too wide tree in our living room was going to bother me so much, I am keeping no. 4. Also the not great needles are minimized once decor is on. And a slimmer tree can be used as an additional tree in another part of the house more easily than a wide one, once I find my perfect living room tree.

So with these findings, I just had to look into the company of tree no. 2 that had the incredible needles and great price. The tree was from walmart, by a brand called “christmas time.” WHICH IS A VERY ANNOYING BRAND NAME TO GOOGLE. Because when I search “christmas time tree” it thinks I’m just being overly descriptive and not that it was a brand name.

After a lot of digging, we learned “Christmas Time” brand is a subsidiary of Fraser Hill Farm. Hanover Products is their parent company and all their trees can be seen here. A lot of them are sold out because it’s late in the season, but I will check it out earlier next year for myself. But all of the trees on this site do not look the same as the no. 2 tree I ordered, so shop carefully!

As for the most options being either too wide or too slim problem, I’ve found I think the ideal width for a floor plan like ours is about 40″ wide (and six and a half feet tall), but it is a tricky one to find because a lot of regular trees are 45 inch wide and lots of slim ones are 35 inch.

Side note: during my shopping I came across upside down trees. Who? What? Where? When? And why?

Now I need to think about my decor. I love decorating for holidays, but for christmas stuff to feel relaxing and pleasant, I think I’ve realized I like a more understated, minimal color palette. I’m thinking for our tree I will do whites and olive. I use red sparingly and when I do it has to be that great, bright 1960’s red, not burgundy. And navy and green plaid pretty much never does me wrong.

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  • Heidi Benton

    Rachel, where did you buy that tree skirt?

    • Rachel Schultz

      It’s actually just a blanket from target last year!

  • Chris W.

    This was a very nice choice – looks really good in the space. Ours is a pre-lit 9 footer because we have tall ceilings in our family room. I think that if a tree has tons of lights, you can get away with almost anything decoration-wise. Olive and white would be very striking – go for it!

    • Rachel Schultz

      Thanks Chris! Simple lights are so pretty so I feel like my state of mind is just take it slow and don’t add anything unless it improves upon it.

  • Katy

    Your quest for the perfect tree makes me think of my rampage last year to find VERY specific Christmas/winter household decor – I wanted all winter white, preferably ceramic, modern-ish and NOT GLITTER decor – this was really tough! I ended up finding some things but I searched high and low. My fake tree has the bad needles :( But at least I have all white decorations, haha

    • Rachel Schultz

      YES this is so true. I feel like with all decor when you know your style you have to just ride the wave of what is available in retail and keep an eye out for when stuff you like comes around.

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