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Appeal of the Artificial Christmas Tree

Updated on November 11, 2011

The artificial Christmas tree first appeared in the United States in 1913 when it was advertised in the Sears Roebuck catalog for the first time. They were known then as feather trees because they were made from goose feathers that had been dyed green. The idea seems to have first come from Germany and has its roots in the desire to stop the destruction of their forests. They used sticks and put the feathers around them to make them appear like the branches of a tree. A bigger stick was used as the trunk and the smaller ones were attached to it. Today those original little trees are considered collectibles. In 1930 these trees changed in appearance when a toilet brush company began to produce them. They were made of twisted wire or animal hair that was dyed green. They were easy to assemble due to the company’s efforts to color code the pieces.

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Feather treeFlocked Alaskan TreeVickerman A107456 treePink spruce slim treePewter Tinsel tree
Feather tree
Feather tree | Source
Flocked Alaskan Tree
Flocked Alaskan Tree | Source
Vickerman A107456 tree
Vickerman A107456 tree | Source
Pink spruce slim tree
Pink spruce slim tree | Source
Pewter Tinsel tree
Pewter Tinsel tree | Source

Reasons for Popularity

Saving our forests is often a common reason for buying artificial trees, but allergies in the family, cleanliness, fire dangers and ease of care are also reasons. Sometimes people who rent their homes are prohibited from putting up a real tree because the owner of the home is concerned about potential fire hazards. In this case an artificial Christmas tree is the perfect answer. Those people who have allergies to conifers and cannot have a tree in their home find these trees are the answer to their problem.

Artificial Christmas trees are also very convenient. When it is time to put the tree up you do not need to go out in the cold, snow blowing in your face with a cold wind at your back, you simply go to your attic, garage or closet and bring out the tree. In minutes you are assembling it and shortly thereafter, the decorations are going up. You would still be in the cold picking out your tree by the time the artificial one is sitting in the corner of your living room, decorations in place, lights flashing on and off.

Construction and Materials

Artificial trees are made of different materials, which are constantly changing to give the trees a more realistic appearance. The branches are made of different sizes to copy the way a real conifer looks. Some models have brown needles mixed in with the green ones to make them look more realistic, and others have faux pine cones attached. They come in different sizes and from full to slim, pre-lit and without lights, so that they fit the needs of all families from those with large living rooms in their houses to the person with a small studio apartment.

There is never a shortage of new ideas for these artificial trees. A few years ago the upside-down tree was the new thing. It hangs from your ceiling and is designed to take up less space while giving more room for gifts underneath. There have also been singing Christmas trees and trees that blow fake snow on themselves. The snow is made from beads of Styrofoam and is blown onto the tree. The beads that fall are caught by a tray at the bottom and then blown back up on the tree. It makes you wonder what they will do next to make the artificial Christmas tree more appealing!


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  • Gerber Ink profile image

    Charlotte Gerber 6 years ago from upstate New York

    Hi Islandnurse - we did the same thing with our kids! They each picked out a small tree - my daughter has a purple one and my son has a blue one. I buy little ornaments each year to add to their collections (they pick out their favorites to buy). They enjoy falling asleep looking at the ornaments - a holiday night light!

  • islandnurse profile image

    islandnurse 6 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

    We have always had "real" trees in our house (except for one year our house was up for sale and I didn't want it to look "messy"), but when my son was little I bought him a little LED-lighted tree for his room, an now my daughter has a little pink one. One of my favourite things is tucking them into bed by the glow of their little Christmas trees:)