10 Best Types of Christmas Trees to Choose for Your Real Tree

Christmas Trees

The Spruce

If you think Christmas isn't complete without a fresh tree, then you probably gravitate towards the same variety of Christmas tree each year. Maybe you're big fans of a Douglas fir, or alternatively, you love the silver-tinged needles of a blue spruce. On the other hand, perhaps you don't know where to start at the tree lot. Picking the perfect fir can be a lot of fun, as long as you know what you're looking for. To help, we're breaking down all the characteristics of some of the most popular Christmas trees to help you suss out which suits your seasonal decor best.


Watch Now: Tips for Selecting the Best Christmas Tree

Here are 10 perfect types of Christmas trees for your ultimate holiday decorations.

  • 01 of 10

    Fraser Fir

    Fraser fir green foliage or Abies fraseri
    ANGHI / Getty Images

    The Fraser fir is considered by many to be the perfect holiday tree. It boasts attractive one-inch needles that are silvery-green and soft to the touch, making it the ideal varietal for families with pets or young children who tend to handle their tree. Fraser fir trees also have a bit of space between their layers of firm, hearty branches, which is helpful for allowing all your favorite ornaments to stand proud and catch the eye. When hunting for the perfect Fraser fir tree, you probably won't have to look long—the varietal tends to grow in near-perfect triangles, so your pick is sure to stun from any angle. When you bring home your tree, cut a fresh slice off the trunk to allow it to absorb optimal water, and continue to feed it every day—if properly cared for, your Fraser fir tree will retain its scent and needles all season long.

  • 02 of 10

    Noble Fir

    New young shoots of Abies procera or Noble fir
    Meindert van der Haven / Getty Images

    Noble fir trees are another beloved holiday tree species, featuring deep blue-green needles and cones that showcase trademark spikey bracts. In nature, noble fir trees are the largest varietals (sometimes reaching 260 feet tall), making them a great option if you're looking for an especially tall tree for an office building or two-story entryway. Boughs of the noble fir are often made into fresh wreaths due to its sturdy but flexible branches. Like with other firs, it's recommended that you cut a fresh slice off the trunk once you arrive home with your tree to allow it to absorb optimal water, and continue to feed it every day.

  • 03 of 10

    Colorado Blue Spruce

    Branches of the Colorado blue spruce
    rootstocks / Getty Images

    A Colorado blue spruce tree (which is the state tree of Colorado) is characterized by a nice pyramidal shape and strong limbs able to hold heavy ornaments. The blue spruce is known for its lovely blue foliage (which can also appear silvery) and thin, pointy needles. Be warned: its needles are a bit sharp, so if you have grand plans to decorate a Colorado blue spruce, you may want to wear gloves.

  • 04 of 10

    Grand Fir

    Grand Fir Close-up
    Gerardo Martinez Cons / Getty Images

    The grand fir tree has a glossy dark green color with needles that are one to two inches long. Its needles and branches are soft to the touch and not particularly firm, making it a better decorative tree than one draped with heavier ornaments. Grand fir trees are also known for their delicious fragrance, which is a combination of the traditional "Christmas tree scent" and an orange-like scent. In fact, American Indians used to utilize grand fir trees for their aromatic properties, often bringing boughs inside to use as an air freshener or burning them to ward off illness. These days, many people turn to the Grand fir to scent their home throughout their holidays.

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  • 05 of 10

    Balsam Fir

    A close-up of a Balsam fir
    GeoStock/Getty Images

    Alongside the Fraser fir, the balsam fir is probably one of the most well-known and popular holiday tree varieties. Characterized by its beautiful soft dark-green needles, it's native to the northern-most part of the United States but is often trucked in from Canada around the holidays, where it grows plentifully. Because of its flatter needles and branches, it's also a popular varietal to use in wreaths and holiday garland. It's a good idea to keep your balsam fir (and other varieties) away from high heat in your home (like near a radiator), as that can cause the branches to dry out prematurely.

  • 06 of 10

    White Fir (Concolor Fir)

    Foliage of White fir Abies concolor. Abies concolor is a fir with long, silvery needles. They are soft to touch.
    Meindert van der Haven / Getty Images

    Known for its white (or sometimes blue-green) needles, the white fir tree (also called the concolor fir tree) is one of the hardiest varietals of holiday tree. It's inch-long needles curve outward and upward on the branch, giving the tree a distinct cone-like shape. It's also one of the more pleasantly-scented varieties, emitting a lemon smell when its branches or needles are crushed. Because the white fir can withstand a bit more neglect than other varietals, it's a great option for those who may be traveling frequently during the holiday season and therefore may be unable to water their tree on a regular schedule.

  • 07 of 10

    Eastern White Pine

    A close-up of an eastern white pine
    S. Rae/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    The eastern white pine tree is the most unique looking of the bunch, with whisper-thin needles that grow in bunches and can reach up to five inches in length. Branches from the eastern white pine are often used in garlands, wreaths, and centerpieces due to their long, feathery appearance. Though it's a beautiful tree, the branches of the eastern white pine can be a bit too flexible to support heavier decorations, favoring instead lightweight garlands, paper chains, or felt ornaments.

  • 08 of 10

    Douglas Fir

    Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga Menziesii)
    dentdelion / Getty Images

    The Douglas fir is another quintessential Christmas tree with soft, shiny green needles. It's one of the densest of the bunch, and if it has been trimmed to form a perfect cone shape, it can be almost too tight to decorate properly. Still, it's a popular varietal for holiday revelers, especially due to its widespread availability and budget-friendly price point. Douglas fir trees don't last as long as other types of Christmas trees, so choose a freshly-cut tree only a few weeks out from the main event.

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  • 09 of 10

    Norway Spruce

    New foliage on Picea abies spruce tree
    HHelene / Getty Images

    The Norway spruce has earned itself the nickname the holiday spruce and, while widely available in much of the United States, is actually a varietal that's native to Europe. While it boasts beautiful, firm branches, it's considered very difficult to keep alive and should only be purchased a week or so before the Christmas holiday if you want to guarantee it's looking fresh as you're opening presents and singing carols. Most importantly, the Norway spruce needs to be watered very consistently, at least daily, in order to survive once cut.

  • 10 of 10

    Scotch Pine

    Scots pine tree
    BPHOTO / Getty Images

    Also known as the Scots pine, this varietal initially gained popularity in Great Britain. You'll definitely want to wear gloves when cutting down and decorating your Scotch pine tree—its needles can be sharp as pins! Still, it has hearty branches and is very resistant to dropping needles, making it a great variety for shipping across the country if necessary.