Fake it this Christmas

Faking it: How to make your artificial Christmas tree look like the real deal

Sparse, screamingly obvious fake trees be gone! Hayes Garden World’s resident Christmas tree expert, Angela Slater, has released tips and tricks on how to recreate that perfect pine effect. 

Choose a tree made from PE

“Artificial trees which have the PE (polyethylene) branches are the most realistic. Their branches are modelled on real forest trees, so are extremely life-like. The PE material also actually feels like the real thing. The majority of PE trees have the PE component around the outside of the tree with cheaper PVC on the inside. The most expensive trees are 100% PE but if you are planning on loading your tree with baubles and ornaments, then you won’t see the inside, so for a cheap choice you can try a less expensive PE/PVC mix tree and then invest in some more good quality glass baubles.”

Best for realistic branches:

6.5ft Pre-lit Lakewood Spruce Feel-Real Christmas Tree (see here) - £249.99
7.5ft Pre-lit Bedminster Spruce Slim Feel-Real Christmas Tree (see here) - £279.99
8ft Frasier Grande Fir Feel-Real Christmas Tree (see here) - £429.99

Pick a natural shape

“Real trees rarely conform to a precise cone shape, they have longer branches protruding over shorter ones and have shorter branches inside the tree. So, go for a tree which has an irregular outline rather than the traditional rigid cone shape. The Weeping Spruce from The National Tree Company is a great example of a tree designed to replicate a real forest tree.” 

Best for natural shape:
7ft Weeping Spruce Feel-Real Artificial Christmas Tree (see here) - £239.99
6.5ft Pre-lit Kensington Fir Slim Christmas Tree (see here) - £204.99
7ft Pre-lit Northern Fir Christmas Tree (see here) - £379.99 

Use natural decorations

“Snowy trees are extremely popular at the moment as once decorated and lit they give a real sense of a winter wonderland. The colour palette you can use on these trees is limited as they don’t suit the rich opulent dark colours, however they look fantastic with a Scandi colour scheme. Natural decorations sit very well on these trees; cones, berries, florals, twiggy decorations, animal heads and wood.” 

“Some snowy trees also come pre-lit with LED lights and pre-decorated with cones and berries. These are excellent if you don’t have the confidence to choose a stylish coordinating palette of colours, as they look fantastic without any additional decorations.”

Great for a natural snowy look:
6.5t Pre-lit Snowy Cone Pine Slim Christmas Tree (see here) - £209.99
7ft Yukon Snowy Pine Life Like Christmas Tree (see here) - £264.99
7.5ft Pre-lit Snowy Dorchester Pine Feel-Real Christmas Tree (see here) - £329.99 

Illuminate the inside of your tree to create a natural, see-through effect

“Illuminate the inside of your tree to give the illusion that you can see straight through the tree, just as you can with a real conifer. You will need more lights to create this wonderful effect than you think. Normally, Hayes Garden World recommends a minimum of 100 lights per foot of tree. So with this in mind, a 7’ tree will need at least 700 lights; but you could use 2,000 lights on a tree this size to create this see-through effect. Using a pre-lit tree will also help create this look, as your tree will already have a good number of lights built in.”

Great for an illuminated look:

7ft Pre-lit Ontario Fir Christmas Tree (see here) - £319.99
6ft Pre-lit Ulverston Green Spruce Christmas Tree (see here) - £289.99 

Go heavy on the decorations

“Decorate with plenty of baubles and ornaments. This is especially important if you have a tree with PVC branches. It doesn’t have to be expensive to load a tree with decorations, place all your good quality glass baubles around the outside of the tree and place cheaper shatterproof baubles inside the tree to hide the PVC branches.”

Hide the base

“Remember to cover the tree stand to make it look as though the tree is standing in a tub; a metal stand is a dead give away if you are trying to convince your family and friends that you have a real tree. You don’t need a dedicated cover for your tree base - outdoor plant containers are a good choice, as they can be used on the patio after Christmas. Or boxes wrapped in wrapping paper can create a nice effect.”

Get that must-have pine smell

“There is nothing to beat the fresh pine scent of a real tree but hanging Scentsicles in the branches will give you the same aroma all over the Christmas period. Some of the aerosol sprays that are supposed to mimic the lovely pine scent can smell a bit like lavatory cleaner, so be careful which brands and type you opt for.”

Best to recreate the pine-smell:

Christmas Tree ScentSicles (see here) - £9.99

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