How to Pick the Right Christmas Tree for Your Space

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, how annoying are thy needles.


So you went a little overboard with your Christmas tree last year, huh? You were feeling extra festive, and you bought the tallest, most cumbersome pine that your local dealer had to offer. Somehow, one of the employees managed to strap it to the top of your Prius, so you figured it would fit in your apartment no problem. But while you crammed the tree through your front door, pine needles scattered everywhere, and when you finally managed to stand it up, you came to the realization that your ceiling is significantly lower than you thought it was. 

To keep that from happening this time around, we sought out some expert advice to ensure that, no matter how big or small your space, you can pick the perfect Christmas tree for it (and keep it alive until Christmas). 

Fraser Fir
“The Fraser is the most popular,” says Paul Schroeder, president of the National Christmas Tree Association. While it’s slightly more expensive than other trees, they’re widely popular because they retain their needles the longest. Schroeder says to water them daily for the first three days, then twice a week after that, which is standard for all Christmas trees. If you do that, it could last up to six weeks, making them perfect for those Christmas fanatics who begin decorating for the holiday before dessert is served on Thanksgiving.

Balsam Fir
Schroeder says he’s “partial to the Balsam because they’re more fragrant and give you that beautiful Christmas tree scent.” They’re fairly good at holding their needles, though their branches are a little softer, so they may not hold the heaviest of those overpriced ornaments.

Douglas Fir
A common-sounding name for a common tree, the Douglas fir is more conical and therefore better for tight spaces. It has a sweet aroma and will hold its needles for about four weeks, much like the Balsam. They’re very popular and moderately priced — all around it’s pretty reliable, just like most of the Dougs in your life.

“These were popular 30 years ago,” says Schroeder, adding that they’ve declined in popularity recently because they shed their spiky little needles like crazy. Unless you want to be vacuuming every day, avoid the Spruce.

White Pine
These are unique trees with long, soft needles. They won’t hold any heavy ornaments, but they’re great for allergy sufferers as they’re much less fragrant than other trees. Unless you feel like you’re allergic to Christmas cheer altogether, in which case, just buy an aluminum pole.