How long does a real Christmas tree last?

Experts share how long a real Christmas tree lasts -- and how to keep it looking lush throughout the holidays.

rustic Christmas tree in green living room
(Image credit: Dobbies)

Whether you’re ready or not—Christmastime is practically here! And that means starting to plan out your home’s holiday decorations and make a Christmas tree game plan. Sure, live Christmas trees are already popping up in farmer’s markets across the country—but how soon is too soon to select your tree and bring it home? We’ve reached out to a handful of outdoors and landscaping experts to get their insights on exactly how long a Christmas tree will last in your home—and how to make your tree stay looking good for as long as possible.

It can be tempting to transform your space into a winter wonderland as soon as the radio stations switch to holiday tunes but you’ll want to make sure your decorations (particularly your Christmas tree ideas) will still remain fresh and lovely by the time Christmas morning rolls around.

How long will a real Christmas tree last in the house?

'Although the average ‘life expectancy’ of a Christmas tree after it’s been cut is about four to five weeks, the specifics really depend on the type of tree you bring home,' explains Ravi Parikh, CEO and Outdoors Expert at RoverPass.

Decorated Christmas tree next to white festive mantel with garland and silver signage

(Image credit: @weepingwillow.farmhouse)

So what is the best type of Christmas tree for maximizing freshness?

Fraser Firs are often considered to be the perfect holiday tree, says Parikh. They have soft green needles—which makes it ideal for those who tend to handle their own tree or have household members that might be touching it throughout the season. The spaces between their branches allow room for ornaments and Christmas fairy lights. If cared for properly—kept in water, away from heaters, etc.—your Fraser Fir can last up to six weeks. 

Can a Christmas tree last two months?

christmas tree

(Image credit: @thewhitewoodcottage)

Unfortunately, a real Christmas tree cannot last for two months—even with the best care to keep your Christmas tree alive longer. It can be tempting to run out and purchase a Christmas tree as soon as they begin to pop up in parking lots and farmer’s markets—but if you want your tree to look fresh and healthy come Christmas Day or into New Year’s Eve it might be best to hold off for a couple more weeks.

That said, you don’t have to forego decorating your home entirely if you’ve been bitten by the Christmas Spirit! The holiday season is short and should be enjoyed to its fullest—especially as the cool autumn days have become so short and the world has become increasingly frantic.

'If properly cared for, a healthy, fresh-cut Christmas tree will last four to five weeks but if you want to start putting up your holiday decorations sooner, start with non-living decorations and work your way up to fresh greenery and your Christmas tree around December 1st,' suggests Ted Mosby, Founder of CamperAdvise.

Instead of pushing your holiday cheer just to ensure your tree will last the entire season, you can always pick up an artificial pencil tree to decorate a hallway or entryway in your home. Pencil trees are designed to take up minimal space and look exceptionally chic in any space.

Other options include purchasing a potted tabletop pine that you can decorate and use as your dining room table Christmas centerpiece—or if it’s just the scent of spruce that you’re after you can purchase a pre-made wreath to hang on your front door. The festive scent should last for at least two to three months.

Which Christmas tree varieties last the longest?

'You’ll want to note that while most of them will last approximately a month, Fraser Fir, Concolor Fir, Canaan Fir, and White Pine are a few Christmas tree varieties that stand out for their remarkable needle retention,' explains Mosby.

Mosby also suggests that you wait to decorate your tree until you're certain it's effectively absorbing water. 'If the water reservoir is still somewhat full the next day, make a new cut or return the tree for a different one,' he suggests.

Your Christmas tree will also last longer in your home if you go out, cut one down (or have someone cut one down) and immediately bring it home, versus if you get one from a tree lot.

“When you buy a tree at a tree lot, you are getting one that has already been cut for a while, and since their lifespan is so short after they have been cut, it may only last 1-3 weeks depending on when it was cut down,' adds Jeremy Yamaguchi, CEO of Lawn Love.

Kaitlyn McInnis

Kaitlyn is an experienced travel and lifestyle writer with a keen interest in interior decorating and home optimization. An avid traveler, she's currently splitting her time between her apartment in a century-old châteauesque building in Montreal and her cozy chalet in the woods (that she built with her own two hands... and many YouTube tutorials!). Her work has been published in Travel + Leisure, Tatler Asia, Forbes, Robb Report Singapore, and various other international publications.