How to Fluff a Christmas Tree So It Passes For a Real One

Front view of an artificial Christmas tree

The Spruce / Ana Cadena

When you pull your new artificial Christmas tree out of the box, it's not unusual for it to look flat and phony. You might be tempted to moan to the manufacturer, but it usually just needs a good ruffling to have it look its best.

Full-on fluffing may seem like a tedious task, but it takes less than an hour and means you'll have a much more realistic-looking tree to appreciate for the festive season. Add some Christmas spirit by popping on some festive tunes and involving the whole family. You might just turn this task into a fun holiday tradition.

So, what are the secrets to giving your fake tree a more natural, fuller figure? Learn how to fluff a Christmas tree so it's sure to fool visiting friends and family.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 1 Long-sleeved top
  • 1 Pair of gloves
  • 1 Dustpan
  • 1 Brush
  • 1 Step-stool


Overhead view of materials needed to fluff a Christmas tree

The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  1. Gather Your Gear

    You don't need a high-tech kit to fluff a Christmas tree. Just some tools to clean up any rogue fake needles that come off during the process, gloves, and a long-sleeved top to protect you from scratchy wire branches.

    Do the fluffing in the room where you're displaying the tree but in a spot where it's going to be easy to sweep or vacuum up any shed needles.

    Person putting on gloves

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  2. Start With the Bottom Branches

    Work your way up methodically from the bottom, fluffing the widest branches first. It makes it easier to see what you're working with and saves you from missing any as you go.

    Person starting by fluffing the bottom branches

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  3. Spread the Branch Fronds

    Loosen the branches by giving them a gentle shake before you start full-on fluffing.

    Fan out the branches on each section fully. Often artificial trees have three branches per main stem. Repeat this step for all the pieces, and you'll already notice your tree looking fuller.

    For tall trees with a separate top section, fan out the branches before you place it on the central pole. It's easier to work with it unattached.

    Overhead view of a person separating branch fronds

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  4. Fluff From the Inside

    The fronds may still look a bit flat at this stage. Don't worry, though, as this is when the major fluffing commences.

    Get your hands right in amongst the branches of the tree and ruffle them from the inside, moving your way gradually outwards. Again, work from the bottom branches upwards so you don't miss any.

    Fluffing branches from the inside

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  5. Bend the Branches

    Add a kink to the tip of every branch to give your tree an even more authentic appearance. Rather than all the branches being upswept, vary the direction they bend to fill any gaps. Have some facing up and others curving downward slightly.

    Displaying any heavy Christmas tree decorations on the upward-turning branches means there's no risk of them sliding off and getting damaged.


    At this point, you'll want to add the top branch sections to a tall tree — you might need a step stool or ladder to reach it. Putting it on earlier only makes your fluffing job more tricky.

    Bending artificial tree branches

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  6. Assess for Evenness

    Take a step back and give your tree a good once over. Does it look full and even from every angle? If there are any gaps, uneven sections, or patchiness, reposition the branches and give them an extra fluff-up.

    Assessing the tree for eveness

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  7. Camouflage Flaws

    If your trusty tree has been in the family for decades, there might be some thinning, holes, or patches that no amount of fluffing will fill in.

    Don't despair, though. You might not have to ditch that treasured family heirloom just yet.

    Some strategically placed larger decorations and ribbons can cover up any problematic patches.

    Adding decor on the Christmas tree

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  8. Store Sensibly to Reduce Fluffing the Following Year

    Don't try to stuff your Christmas tree back in its original box. Use a tree-storage bag instead. It will protect your tree from dust and sun damage, and you won't have to squash it down so flat that you lose all that hard-earned plumping. You'll still need to fluff your Christmas tree come the next holiday, but hopefully less than when it came fresh out of the box.


    Remember to clean your artificial Christmas tree before you put it back into storage. A build-up of dust and debris means your tree won't fluff up as effectively.

    Christmas tree in a storage bag

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena