If you love the look of a sparse Christmas tree, but unsure how to pick the perfect one, you are in luck! In this post, I will teach you how to choose the best sparse real Christmas tree for your living room this year! 

What is a Sparse Christmas Tree?

A sparse Christmas tree refers to a type of artificial Christmas tree or a real Christmas tree with a distinct appearance that has fewer branches and pine needles spaced further apart. Unlike a traditional, dense Christmas tree, a sparse tree has more visible gaps or open spaces between the branches and needles, creating a lighter and airier look.

Why Choose a Sparse Christmas Tree?

Aesthetic Appeal: Sparse Christmas trees have a unique appearance that is perfect for that minimalistic, rustic, or vintage look. The open spaces between branches and needles create an airy and understated ambiance.

Easier Decorating: Sparse trees make it easier to decorate because there is more space between branches. This allows ornaments and lights to hang with more visibility and less overcrowding. It is perfect for more delicate, cherished, or vintage ornaments that you want to showcase.

Money-Saving: Since sparse trees are more of a small tree, they require less Christmas decorations than your typical fuller, and larger tree. Less Christmas ornaments = saving money! 

Less Maintenance: Sparse trees may be easier to care for since there are fewer branches and needles to shed. This can result in less cleanup and a longer-lasting tree for the holiday season.

Lighter Weight: Artificial and real sparse trees are often lighter and more manageable, which can make them easier to transport, assemble, and store compared to larger, denser trees.

Space-Saving: In small spaces, a sparse variety is the perfect tree because their open design can make the room feel less crowded. This can be especially useful in apartments, homes with limited space.

Nostalgia and Tradition: Sparse trees are the perfect Christmas tree if you are going for that older, vintage Christmas tree styles, evoking a sense of nostalgia and tradition.

What Type of Christmas Trees Are Sparse?

Balsam Fir: While not typically sparse, some varieties of Balsam Firs can be pruned or shaped in a way that gives them a more open and airy appearance. However, Balsam Firs are known as a full tree, so you may need to search specifically for pruned or sparse varieties. The Balsam fir is the most popular Christmas tree amongst families.

Fraser Fir: Similar to Balsam Firs, Fraser Firs’ tree branches are generally dense and full, but some may be pruned or have a more open design to achieve a sparse look.

Sparse Pine Trees: Various species of pine trees, such as Scotch Pine, may be pruned or have a natural growth pattern that results in a sparse appearance. You should call your local tree farm or nursery to find pine trees with this style.

White Pine: White pines naturally have long, soft needles which appear more open or sparse compared to other evergreen species. They are an option for those who prefer a sparser tree with a softer appearance.

1.Visit a Tree Farm

The first thing you should do to find the best Christmas tree is to visit your local Christmas tree farm where you can inspect the trees in person. This allows you to see and touch the trees to assess their sparse appearance. 

Avoid choosing your reel tree from a Christmas tree lot, or in front of a store. These trees are generally wrapped and you are unable to determine the shape of your tree until you get home and unwrap it. Pre-wrapped trees are also more likely to dry out quicker and they have been pre-cut and transported. 

Tip: Did you know a lot of tree farms allow you to choose and tag your tree before the season? We visit our local tree farm in October to find the perfect sparse Christmas tree. y going early you have the advantage of choosing your tree before the masses. The weather is still warmer, so you can spend more time comparing and ensuring you are happy with your choice!  he best part is when you go back to pick up your tagged tree during the Christmas season, you will have more time to enjoy the activities on the farm without the worry of finding the perfect tree! 

2. Inspect the Density

Look at the tree’s real branches and needles to assess how sparse it is. A sparse tree will have more space between the branches starting at the lower branches. Next look for the center of the tree. You want to be able to see the trunk of the tree in a few spots. 

3. Check the Overall Health

Make sure the tree you choose is healthy. Look for vibrant, green needles that are not dry, brittle, or falling off. A sparse tree is still a healthy tree! Avoid trees that have a large amount of brown or missing needles

4. Consider the Shape

While looking for a sparse tree, pay attention to the shape of the tree. Ensure it has the general shape and size you desire, even if it is sparse. If you have limited floor space look for a smaller tree. A slim tree fits well in areas such as a smaller living room, dining room, and even a bedroom. A slim Christmas tree should still have a balanced look for easy decorating. 

5. Smell the Fragrance

 If you choose a real Christmas tree over an artificial trees because of their lovely festive smell, opt for a species known for its scent, such as a Balsam Fir, Blue Spruce or Fraser Fir. These trees typically have a sparse, open appearance.

6. Bring Measuring Tape

 Measure the available space in your home to ensure the tree you choose fits comfortably without overcrowding the area. You will want to be sure what size tree you are looking for before you head to the tree farm. Nothing is worse than finding the perfect tree and then coming home to find out it is too big for the space!

An easy way to figure out the perfect size Christmas tree for your space is to measure the area the tree will go, and then add in the height and width of your tree topper and tree stand. Some tree stands can add up to 5 inches onto the actual Christmas tree! 

7. Ask for Assistance

 If you are unsure about the appearance or condition of a specific tree, don’t hesitate to ask for assistance from the tree farm staff. They can help you find the perfect sparse tree for your family!

How to Choose The Best Tree Stand for a Real Christmas Tree

There are many tree stands on the market, it may be difficult to choose the right one! We went through 2 tree stands before we purchased the one that we have now, so we have an idea of what to look for and what to avoid.

Many budget-friendly tree stands that you get from the big box stores are mainly made from plastic. While these stands may seem like the better option due to their price tag, you will most likely be spending more money in the long run. Most plastic stands loose their durability and you may come home to a fallen Christmas tree. Opt for a stand that is sturdy and made with metal. Metal tree stands are a bigger investment, but they will outlast any plastic option.

The Best Quality Tree Stand

No only does this tree stand have no plastic in sight, it is aesthetically pleasing so you don’t even have to cover it with a base!

Tips on Decorating a Sparse Christmas Tree

I will be writing a full post on how we decorate our sparse Christmas tree, but until then I will leave you with a few tips to help you prepare for the holiday season. 

Less is more: When it comes to decorating a sparse tree vs a fuller Christmas tree, focus on decorating it with ornaments and decor that you love! Since a sparse tree has fewer branches you don’t want your tree to be crowded and overwhelming.  

Choosing the right Christmas lights: Depending on the look you are going for, many sparse Christmas trees looks wonderful with thin fairy lights and twinkle lights. Many traditional string lights have a thick green cord, and depending on how sparse your Christmas tree is, it can create a messy and bulky look. We still use our traditional clear lights to save money, but we choose our Christmas tree with that in mind. 

Add natural elements: Since Sparse Christmas trees show off more of the branches and trunk of the tree, I suggest playing with that theme of natural and add in elements such as dried oranges, pinecones, clay, wood, and even cranberries!

Avoid heavy ornaments: Sparse trees have thinner branches, which means you need to be mindful of how heavy your ornaments are. Opt for light-weight ornaments that don’t drag down the branches when decorating your own Christmas tree.

The bottom of the tree: The bottom branches on most sparse tree are generally thin so your base will be more visible compared to a traditional tree. The great thing about a sparse tree though is that the trunk should be relatively thin, so finding an aesthetically pleasing base should be budget-friendly. We use a wicker collar, but you can wrap the base with a nice blanket or tree skirt, use a large pot, or a large basket. 

Should You Choose a Real Tree or a Fake Tree?

We are team real tree through and through, but that is based on our Christmas traditions. Below are some reasons why you should get a real tree, but also the advantages of getting a faux tree as well!

The Advantages of Live Christmas Trees

  1. Aromatic Fragrance: Real Christmas trees, especially species like Balsam Firs, Fraser Firs, and Douglas Firs, have a delightful, natural fragrance that fills your home with a scent that reminds you of the holiday season.
  2. Tradition and Experience: Going to a tree farm to choose and cut down a real Christmas tree is a cherished family tradition. It is a memory a lot of us have from when we were young children.
  3. Unique Appearance: Each real tree is unique, and they come in various shapes and sizes. Choosing a real tree allows you to find one that perfect beautiful Christmas tree that suits your style and space.
  4. Environmental Benefits: Many Christmas tree farms use sustainable farming practices. When a tree is cut down, it’s typically replaced with a new seedling, ensuring a constant supply of trees and contributing to a healthy ecosystem.
  5. Biodegradable: Real trees are biodegradable, which means they can be recycled into mulch or compost after the holiday season. This helps reduce waste and supports recycling efforts.
  6. Supporting Local Agriculture: Purchasing a real tree supports local tree farmers and the agricultural community. It’s a wonderful way to contribute to your local community!
  7. Reduced Carbon Footprint: Some studies suggest that real trees have a lower overall carbon footprint compared to artificial trees, especially if they are grown locally and recycled after use.
  8. Fresher Appearance: Real trees often have a fresher, more vibrant appearance than artificial trees. They are less likely to fade or lose their color over time.
  9. Low Maintenance: Real trees require minimal maintenance, aside from watering to keep them fresh throughout the holiday season.
  10. Nostalgia and Sentiment: Natural trees can evoke feelings of nostalgia and sentimentality, as they are a classic symbol of Christmas celebrations.
  11. Supporting Sustainable Practices: Many tree farms use sustainable agriculture practices, and some even offer organic or pesticide-free options, making real trees an environmentally friendly choice.
  12. Local Varieties: Depending on your region, you can choose from various tree species, each with its unique characteristics, fragrance, and needle retention, allowing you to select the perfect tree for your preferences.

What Are Some Reasons to Choose an Artificial Christmas Tree?

  1. Reusability: One of the most significant advantages of artificial trees is their reusability. You can use the same tree year after year, reducing the need to buy a new tree and helping to minimize waste.
  2. Cost-Efficiency: While the initial cost of purchasing an artificial tree may be higher than a real tree, the investment pays off over time as you can reuse it for many years, saving money in the long run if you buy from a quality brand.
  3. Low Maintenance: Artificial trees require minimal maintenance. You don’t need to water them, and they don’t shed needles, reducing the mess in your home.
  4. Consistent Appearance: Artificial trees maintain their appearance throughout the holiday season. They won’t dry out or lose their needles, ensuring they look the same from the day you set them up until you take them down.
  5. Convenience: You can set up an artificial tree at your convenience, as they are not as time-sensitive as real trees. You don’t need to worry about the tree drying out before Christmas.
  6. Allergen-Free: For individuals with allergies to tree pollen or mold, artificial trees can be a hypoallergenic choice since they don’t produce allergens like real trees.
  7. Customizable: Artificial trees come in various shapes, sizes, and colors. You can choose the perfect tree to fit your space and decorating style.
  8. Safety: Artificial trees are often less of a fire hazard compared to real trees, especially if they are designed with flame-resistant materials.
  9. No Tree Disposal: You don’t need to worry about disposing of a real tree after the holidays, which can be challenging for some people.
  10. Easy to Store: Artificial trees can be disassembled and stored compactly in a box or bag, making them easy to store in the off-season.
  11. Reduced Carbon Footprint: While the production of artificial trees involves manufacturing processes, their longevity and reusability can offset some of the environmental impact, potentially reducing the overall carbon footprint.
  12. Custom Lighting: Some artificial trees come unlit, but if you purchase a pre-lit tree with customized lighting you can choose from various lighting options and even change the color scheme each year.
  13. Durability: High-quality artificial trees can last for many years, making them a long-term investment.

Ultimately, whether you choose a real or artificial sparse Christmas tree depends on your personal preferences, budget, and environmental considerations. Both options have their advantages, and the decision should align with what works best for your family and holiday traditions.

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