Trends > Black’s the new color for Christmas trees

The British may trail their neighbors in fine cuisine, superb wines and clocklike efficiency. But when it comes to Christmas trees, the United Kingdom is peerless. After all, their own beloved Queen Victoria elevated the humble evergreen to a holiday tradition.

Now look what the Brits have done. Last year, when the trendiest Americans were hanging their trees upside down, style-setters in Great Britain dumped dreams of a white Christmas and embraced the dark side black trees with black trunks and black branches, like Scotch pines scorched in a wildfire.

“Black and white has been a strong interiors trend for a couple of years now,” Susan Rose, editor of Britain’s Ideal Home magazine, said last fall. “If you want to do an elegant, sophisticated Christmas, black is the way to do it.”

Now edgy Americans chase that look, too. They began calling Christmas tree dealers as soon as they heard the news. This year, black joins our holiday palette.

“With the black Christmas tree, we made a bet based on what we saw in Europe last year and the number of people who called this year and said to put them on the list,” said Bill Quinn of the Dallas-based online store

He ordered hundreds of the sleek, chic trees, “and they’ve been selling well.” Mostly, these are trees to complement decor, or to make a strong style statement, Mr. Quinn said. “I don’t know that people buy these for their main tree,” he said. “Most of the people I’ve talked with are buying them for a party, or because they have a certain kind of ornament set that will look really good on the black.” Some, like one hostess he knows, want a tree so different that their guests will talk of little else.

Peggy Chappell of the Noel Christmas Store in Dallas has sold black trees for several years now, often to people looking for a Halloween decoration, but sometimes to families who wanted a second tree in a kitchen, where the appliances were similarly black.

“I don’t know that this is going to be a trend here,” she said. “What we’ve sold more of last year and this year are tinsel trees, made out of foil and wire, in lime green or pink, purple, blue or red. “They’re fun and trendy and not that expensive, and they make a nice secondary tree, like a pink one in a girl’s room.”

Chappell and Quinn praised the emergence of “authentic” artificial trees over the past few years and their increasing sophistication and realism. “These are the hottest trend in conventional artificial trees, and they really are spectacular-looking,” Chappell said. “At our Christmas in July sale, we sold out just based on photos in a book. And now we’re almost sold out again. It really is an incredible-looking tree.” The newest designs rely on exacting molds of real tree limbs and needles, Quinn said.

“Basically, people go out in the woods and find a real good specimen and they’ll cut off a branch, pack it in dry ice and send it to China where someone will make a mold,” he said. “That makes for a very realistic tree. “Of course, realistic trees are much more expensive to make than `bottle brush’ trees.”

So some manufacturers make hybrid trees that use realistic branch tips molded by polyethylene and more conventional inner branches to add fullness. Quinn’s personal favorite, though, is a design only beginning to be seen in the market: the “bubble tree.”

“Basically, it’s a spiral tree, which has been around forever. But instead of a metal center pole, they have a plexiglas column you fill with water,” Mr. Quinn said. “And at the bottom, there’s a bubble-maker and a light source that shines up through the water in revolving colors. “I think it’s the coolest tree we’ve found this year.”

Coolness, of course, carries a price. The bubble tree comes in three sizes, 4, 6 1/2 and 8 1/2 feet, at prices ranging from $220 to $450, Quinn said.

A 7 1/2-foot “realistic” tree at Noel costs $575, compared to about $500 for a good-quality regular artificial tree, Chappell said.

The black Christmas trees compare in price to conventional green trees. They’re just a little harder to find. Will one emerge this year as the tree with buzz? Perhaps. But in the long run, Quinn banks on the old reliable.

“Your flocked trees, your blacks, your reds, they come and go,” he said. “But the traditional never goes away. “The symmetrical dark green tree with lights – those will be around forever.”


  • Artificial Christmas trees originated in Germany in the late 1800s. Metal wire trees were covered with goose, turkey, ostrich or swan feathers. The feathers were often dyed green to imitate pine needles.
  • In the 1930s, the Addis Brush Co. created the first artificial-brush tree with the same machinery used to produce toilet brushes. The Addis “Silver Pine” tree was patented in 1950 and designed to have a revolving light source under it. Colored gels allowed the light to shine in different shades as it revolved under the tree.
  • In 2002, 21 percent of U.S. households had a real tree, 48 percent had an artificial tree and the remainder had no tree.

Source: University of Illinois


One Response to “Trends > Black’s the new color for Christmas trees”

  1. sher

    what, no picture?? we want to see the black christmas trees. i can tell from year to year what will be next. 4 years ago, i was doing everything i could think of to make “pink” trees. last year, there were so many pink trees of different types, i couldn’t afford to buy everything i wanted.

    this year? NOTHING. i have absolutely seen nothing great come from this year’s christmas. next year will obviously bring the “nice” black trees and hot-colored ornaments (i can see it with hot pink, lime green, turquoise . . .). i always “snatch” up anything pink. i never change my style 🙂