Is a Sparse Christmas Tree Right for You?

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There are so many types of artificial trees on the market these days. Choosing the right one for your home can be overwhelming. I’m here to take the stress out of the decision-making process by comparing the different styles I’ve had over the years – from a sparse Christmas tree to a traditional full look and everything in between.

sparse Christmas tree in dining room next to cane cabinet styled with Pottery barn brass reindeer, vintage artwork, and a trinket dish top of coffee table books, wall molding, linen drapes, hardwood floors

Artificial vs. Real Christmas trees

Add this to the long list of age-old battles. Similar to the over or under toilet paper controversy, most of us have strong feelings on this topic one way or the other. Some look forward to the yearly trip to the Christmas tree farm to hunt for the perfect tree. Then there are the rest of us.

Sparse artificial tree in corner of living room with agreeable gray walls and interior window shutters, console table styled with Norfolk pine stems in a vase

I get it…real trees smell amazing! But I prefer the low maintenance of an artificial Christmas tree. I want to enjoy the busy holiday season – not spend it vacuuming up needles.

Artificial trees can be used year after year, easy to set up, take down, and store. If you want tips on how to store your Christmas decorations, check out my list of essentials!

The sparse Christmas tree

My favorite characteristic of a sparse Christmas tree is its vintage style. Top designers have a knack for mixing decor styles, and vintage pieces are always in the mix.

One of the main benefits of a sparse tree is that it has fewer branches. We are all busy this time of year, right? So, the less time you spend setting up and fluffing your tree, the more time you’ll have to do other things, like decorate your mantel with garland.

Sparse fir Christmas tree with velvet ornaments, living room with agreeable gray walls, interior window shutters, woodland theme tree skirt with moss, mushrooms, pinecones

Add a few ornaments or go crazy and it will still have a light and airy feel. This minimalist tree looks stunning with any style home. Perfect for smaller rooms where you want a stunning tree, but don’t want it to take up too much space.

sparse Christmas tree decorated with a few velvet ornaments and gold stars, basket tree collar with wrapped gifts

I’d probably stay away from a tree so sparse it resembles the famous Charlie Brown tree. But there is a wide range of sparse Christmas trees to choose from so you’ll have no trouble finding the right one!

The traditional full Christmas tree

Now let’s go in the opposite direction to a traditional full tree. These trees are dense with branches and when properly fluffed, don’t let any light through. With this type of tree, a visible tree trunk is considered a sin and requires you to do some extra work.

Full artificial blue spruce in living room decorated with neutral ornaments, wood bead garland and a gold star topper, frame tv over fireplace mantel decorated for Christmas with garland and wooden trees, shelf decor in background with woven elements and vintage art

For small or darker spaces, I recommend going with a slimmer version if you want a full tree but don’t have the room. Scale is an important factor when choosing a Christmas tree. I have used flocked slim trees in my kids’ rooms and they were the perfect fit.

boy's bedroom decorated for Christmas with flocked prince tree and red and white ornaments, fabric and leather headboard, Christmas sheets, brown leather lumbar pillow, five green bedding, Serena & lily sconce, vertical shiplap, interior window shutters

Make sure you have plenty of ornaments for his type of artificial tree because it looks best when fully decorated. Unlike a sparse Christmas tree, a full tree doesn’t look as nice without accessories.

Full artificial tree in living room decorated with neutral ornaments, wood bead garland and a gold star topper, shelf decor in background with woven elements,  vintage art, and Pottery Barn brass reindeer

Some brands include a pair of gloves that you can wear while you set up your tree. Trust me, they save your hands from the rough edges of the needles – especially when you have so many branches to work with.

The in-between trees

For those of you a little hesitant to jump right to a sparse Christmas tree, there are some beautiful options that fall in between. The tree in my basement has more branches than my sparse tree, but not as many as my full tree.

The trunk has artificial bark making it look real. Last year, I added a few vintage-looking toile and velvet ornaments. This year, I set it up in the arched niche and decided it was perfect just as it was. It didn’t need any decorations and all I did was add a couple smaller versions on either side.

Artificial Christmas tree display in arched niche. Tall one in center and small ones on either side. All are in baskets and pre-lit but have no ornaments

The tree in my home office is similar, just not as wide. In the past, I decorated it with vintage candles, but last year I went back in time and only added tinsel – lots of it!

Where to get the best sparse Christmas trees

More retailers are catching on to the trend of sparse trees. They certainly aren’t new, but now you can find them in so many sizes and shapes.

My sparse tree is from King of Christmas and it was exactly what I was looking for – just the right amount of branches and scale for my home. Here are a couple of trees I was considering when hunting for the perfect sparse tree:

This tree comes unlit but has a realistic shape and size. It has been one of the most popular budget-friendly artificial trees for the past couple of years. I would seriously consider this one if you have a small space.

A true sparse Christmas tree! Coming in at 7′ tall, this option would be a great addition to any home. The small flat base makes it easy to drop right into a basket or any other cover.

Here is the tree in-between tree I have in my office. I love how it starts off thinner on top and slopes outward at the bottom.

This is the flocked version of the tree above. The “snow-covered” branches will contrast nicely with darker walls and brighten up any space.

Want to stick with something on the fuller side? This beauty has branches all the way down making it easier to hide the stand.

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