A Guide to All the Different Types of Christmas Trees

christmas trees in front of brown building
Photo: John Kernick

While there are a handful of traditions people look forward to during the holidays, buying a Christmas tree is probably one of the most anticipated events of the season. The giant tannenbaums signify what's to come: Decorating, presents, time spent with loved ones, and delicious food.

Despite it being an exciting family out, there is typically an annual spirited debate over which tree to buy. Do you want the sturdy branches of a Noble Fir to hold your precious ornaments, or maybe you prefer the sweet-scent of a Concolor Fir to fill your home?

In this guide, we cover the various shapes, textures, colors, and scents you might come across when choosing your Christmas tree this year, so you can buy the perfect one for you and yours.

01 of 10

Noble Fir

Noble Fir christmas tree
John Kernick

Sturdy branches make this Pacific Northwest native a good choice if you have a lot of weighty ornaments. The tree has thick, silvery-green needles and limbs that stick straight out from the trunk, giving this fir a full, rounded appearance.

02 of 10

Eastern White Pine

Eastern White Pine christmas tree
John Kernick

This large blue-green tree grows along the American-Canadian border. It's often sheared to have a more narrow silhouette and it retains its long, soft, bluish needles well (always in bunches of five).

Caveat: The flexible branches can make decorating difficult, as its dense look can obscure ornaments, and the springy branches aren't good with bulky garlands or lights.

03 of 10

Concolor Fir

Concolor Fir christmas tree
John Kernick

Indigenous to the West, Great Lakes, and the Northeast, this sweet-scented tree has a tall, narrow silhouette. Its flat, silvery-blue and bluish-green needles smell faintly of citrus. Full, bushy branches support heavier ornaments and have excellent needle retention. It's also called a white fir.

04 of 10

"Carolina Sapphire" Cypress

‘Carolina Sapphire’ Cypress christmas trees
John Kernick

This southern dweller is naturally broad and has a strong scent of lemon and mint. It's very similar to the "Blue Ice" cypress.

05 of 10

Nordmann Fir

Nordmann Fir christmas tree
John Kernick

As the preferred Christmas tree in Europe, this evergreen is becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. It's grown primarily in the Pacific Northwest and is prized for its fat pyramid shape and lush, dark-green foliage.

06 of 10

Leyland Cypress

Leyland Cypress christmas tree
John Kernick

Feathery, dark-green to gray foliage sets apart this Christmas tree. Its longevity and delicate branches make it a highly sought after Christmas tree in the South. The silhouette varies from tree to tree and can be tall and slender or squat and rounded. The species absorbs an unusually large amount of water; its stand needs to be refilled several times per day.

07 of 10

Balsam Fir

Balsam Fir christmas tree
John Kernick

This classic northeastern Christmas tree is a near twin of the Fraser fir. Its needles are a deep green, and the tree has a pyramid shape that culminates in a slender top.

08 of 10

Douglas Fir

Douglas Fir christmas tree
John Kernick

One of the most common holiday trees in the Pacific Northwest, this species has firm branches and soft, blue-green or dark-green needles that emit a fragrance when crushed. Its foliage is fuller and thicker than a Fraser.

One downside? Its needles won't last as long on the branch. It grows rapidly in a pyramidal shape. Light in weight, it can be easier to transport than other trees.

09 of 10

"Blue Ice" Cypress

'Blue Ice' Cypress christmas tree
John Kernick

A cultivar of the Arizona cypress, this silvery-blue tree has a citrus aroma and a narrow steeple shape. It's found in the Gulf states, Georgia, and South Carolina. The branches support small lights, tinsel, and a few ornaments, but nothing heavy.

10 of 10

Fraser Fir

Fraser Fir christmas tree
John Kernick

A pair of silvery stripes on the underside of each needle distinguishes this aromatic tree from the nearly identical balsam fir. Found in high-elevation regions of the South as well as in the Northeast and Great Lakes states, it has strong, upturned branches that are ideal for dangling ornaments.

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