What is a Pencil Christmas Tree?

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  • Written By: Angie Bates
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 03 October 2019
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A pencil Christmas tree is a type of artificial tree that, although tall, is extremely narrow. These trees are designed to simulate full sized trees while minimizing space usage. Ideal for small apartments, pencil Christmas trees come in a variety of heights and colors and can be purchased either pre-lit or unlit.

Though artificial trees do not have the same authenticity as live trees, they are often consumer favorites because of their easy clean up, ability to store and reuse, and durability. The fragrant pine scent of a live tree is sacrificed for the lack of falling pine needles, and the tradition and excitement of picking out a new tree each year is replaced by the security and ease of having a durable tree stored for yearly use. Artificial trees come in many varieties, but one issue with most full sized trees is they simply take up too much space in apartments and small houses. Full sized trees can be was wide as 82 inches (208.3 cm), but a pencil Christmas tree, the slimmest of the slim tree options, may be as narrow as 18 inches (45.7 cm), vastly reducing the space needed.


Pencil trees are usually 6–10 feet (1.8–2.4 m) tall, with short, fairly uniform, branches that give the trees a sculpted look and taper to a point at the top. The branches are most often made with a type of plastic called polyvinyl chloride (PVC), the most common artificial tree material, and trees usually have between 400 and 800 branch tips. Often found in shades of traditional green, these trees also may be sold in white or occasionally black. Though pre-lit pencil trees with clear lights are more common, trees with multi-colored lights can also be found.

The branches of a pencil Christmas tree usually attach, often by hinges, to the center pole, which comes in several parts. The pole, then, is the only part of the tree which requires any assembly, so these trees are extremely easy and quick to put up. Pencil trees normally come with their own tree stand and a warranty of one to ten years, depending on the manufacturer. If the tree is pre-lit, the lights may come with a separate warranty.

One consideration when deciding to purchase a pencil Christmas tree is that larger ornaments may look over-sized or not rest properly on this type of tree. Also, as with any shipped pre—lit tree, a pre—lit pencil tree may not have a complete set of fully functional lights out of the box. Often retailers provide replacement strands, however, with the original shipment to ensure that the costumer has some lights in working order. Many pre-lit options offer strands that will continue to work even if a single bulb does not light.


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Post 3

@Logicfest -- Good idea. Here's something else to think about. Pencil trees are usually quite inexpensive, so picking up a couple and seeing how they work in your home might not be a bad idea. Keeping enough ornaments around for a couple of extra trees can be a problem, but that usually takes care of itself as people tend to pick up some ornaments around Christmas or receive them as gifts, anyway.

I can't help but think of decorating trees with my parents and having too many ornaments to fit on our big tree. Those ornaments could have been brought out and displayed with pride on a pencil tree or two.

Post 2

These are great for more than small houses. In our rather large living room, we traditionally have a big, artificial tree and two pencil ones at Christmas. Each one has a separate theme and really brightens up the place during the holidays.

My wife and I have two children, so we usually decorate the big tree and let the kids take care of the pencil ones. They get a sense of ownership, then, and can decorate their trees with their ornaments which have come to represent their individual styles over the years.

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