The best tabletop Christmas trees

The best tabletop Christmas trees
  • Whether it's your one touch of holiday decor in a tiny studio apartment, part of an extensive collection of Christmas decorations, or even a shot of holiday spirit for your office cubicle, a tabletop Christmas tree lets you celebrate the season without the space commitment required by a full-size tree.
  • When it comes to picking a tabletop tree, the best choice mostly depends on your own personal preferences as to style and convenience.
  • There is no one "best" Christmas tree; there's just the one that's perfect for you, whether it be a live tree, like L.L.Bean's Reindeer Live Tree, or a nontraditional tree, like this fiber optic beauty.

Think of a tabletop Christmas tree as a big touch of holiday cheer in a compact size. These trees easily fit into even the smallest home and are a lot easier to store than larger artificial Christmas trees once January comes. While there's no official defining height for a tabletop Christmas tree, as a general rule, these are trees (real or faux) that top out at 3 feet tall, although many are less than 2 feet in height.

For the most balanced appearance, your tree should match the table in scale: Go up to 3 feet for a large coffee table, cabinet top, or side table, but size down accordingly if you're decorating a smaller space. Of course, tabletop trees aren't limited to tables; you might tuck one underneath a staircase, on a kitchen counter, or even on the bathroom counter if you have enough space and holiday spirit.

When it comes to decorating your small-in-stature-but-not-in-spirit tree, the sky is the limit. You might choose to stick with a color scheme, such as silver and white, traditional red and green, or hot pink and purple. Or decorate with one of your favorite movies in mind, such as "Star Wars," "Harry Potter," or "The Nightmare Before Christmas." Celebrate your favorite sport, hobby, or profession with ornaments to match. Show off a collection of ornaments picked up while traveling, or trim the tree all in one theme, such as country, vintage, boho, or Old World. Of course, simply trimming the tree with a beloved mishmash of ornaments collected over the years is always an option.


Before trimming your mini tree, however, you need to buy that tree. And that's where we come in. We've gathered up five of the best tabletop trees that suit just about every preference. You'll also want to check out our guide to our favorite places to buy Christmas tree ornaments. After all, without ornaments, it's just a houseplant.

Here are the best tabletop Christmas trees you can buy:

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The best live tabletop Christmas tree

The best live tabletop Christmas tree
The Christmas Reindeer Live Tree With Lights from L.L.Bean will fill your home with the wonderful aroma of fresh Alberta spruce.

While faux Christmas trees have many benefits, they also have one huge deficit: They lack the potent conifer fragrance that adds so much impact to a real tree. And no, spraying pine-scented air freshener on an artificial tree just isn't the same.

With the Christmas Reindeer Live Tree With Lights from L.L.Bean, that's not a problem. This beautiful little tree is a dwarf Alberta spruce, so it smells just as fresh from the forest as it looks. Even better, it arrives ready to display — already decorated with white LED lights, a wooden reindeer ornament, tiny pinecones, and clusters of faux red berries. You can add more ornaments if you'd like, or simply set the tree wherever you want a touch of holiday spirit.

The tree is in a rustic silver-tone galvanized pot, so there's no need to worry about a stand or a mess on your table. You don't even need to look for an electrical outlet; the LED lights run off three AA batteries (not included) and a built-in timer that keeps the lights shining for up to six hours at a time.

As this is a living tree, measurements can vary, but your tree will be between 22 and 26 inches tall, with an 8- to 9-inch diameter. Once the holidays are over, if you live in a cold-weather area (USDA gardening zones 3 to 6 are best), you can plant your tree right in your garden, where it potentially will slowly grow to a full height of 8 to 10 feet tall.

L.L.Bean starts shipping their live Christmas trees the week of Thanksgiving, so you'll have plenty of time to enjoy your tabletop tree.

Pros: Nothing beats the fragrance of a real Christmas tree

Cons: Expensive, will drop needles if the air is too dry or hot

The best artificial tabletop Christmas tree

The best artificial tabletop Christmas tree
If you're looking for a faux tree that looks like it came from the forest, not a Christmas tree farm, you'll love the Pre-Lit Faux Tree With Gold Berries and Pinecones.

Most Christmas trees, whether large or small, artificial or real, have a traditional inverted triangle shape, thick needles, and a bushy appearance. World Market's Pre-Lit Faux Tree With Gold Berries and Pinecones, on the other hand, has more of a natural forest-grown shape and appearance that's perfect for those who prefer a more rustic look.

The tree comes pre-strung with 50 white lights that can be set to blink or hold steady, faux gold berries, and real albeit tiny pinecones. A burlap-covered base wrapped with a green velvet ribbon finishes the display. You can gently bend the branches to your desired position, but this is not the extremely full Douglas fir style Christmas tree that's most commonly seen this time of year.

Go ahead and add more ornaments if you'd like, or just show off the tree as is. Either way, it's sure to add lots of festive flair to your buffet, coffee or side table, dresser, or even that hard-to-decorate alcove under the staircase.

The tree is approximately 36 inches tall with a 7-inch diameter base and runs off AA batteries.

Pros: Rustic, realistic appearance; pre-decorated and ready to display

Cons: If you prefer the traditional Douglas fir Christmas tree, this isn't your style


The best traditional tabletop Christmas tree

The best traditional tabletop Christmas tree
The 3-foot Kincaid Spruce from National Tree looks just like a real traditional Christmas tree from the tree lot.

If you love the convenience of a faux tree — no precarious trip home from the tree lot with it strapped to the top of your car, no shed needles, no need to water — but also love the look of those traditional tree-lot offerings, you'll find the best of both worlds in the 3-foot Kincaid Spruce from National Tree.

The artificial conifer is 36 inches tall, 22 inches in diameter, and thickly packed with 113 branch tips. That means you can load it with lights, garland, and ornaments without fear of drooping branches or bare spots. It has a sturdy stand, so you won't need to worry about it wobbling or tipping over, but it's still a good idea to keep pets away from temptation.

Assembly is a breeze. Just snap the two pieces of the tree together, attach the stand, unfold the branches, and then fluff and bend the branches until they're perfect. Within minutes, your tree is ready for trimming. Set it on a sturdy table or cabinet, tuck it into a corner, or use it to decorate the office breakroom. It's the perfect size and shape for any fairly small space.

Once the holidays are over, the tree easily comes apart and folds down for storage in its reusable box.

Pros: Reasonable price, realistic appearance, traditional shape

Cons: You'll need to take time to bend and fluff the branches, but that's true of most faux Christmas trees

The best fiber optic tabletop Christmas tree

The best fiber optic tabletop Christmas tree
If you're looking for a colorful and nontraditional tree, the Holiday Time Fiber Optic Christmas Tree is the perfect addition to your holiday decor.

The Holiday Time Fiber Optic Christmas Tree is definitely not a realistic tree, so if you want something that looks like it came from the tree farm, this isn't for you. But if you prefer an eye-catching tree that is so colorful you won't even need to add ornaments, you'll love this riot-of-color tree. And if you have children, this is likely going to be their very favorite holiday decoration. In fact, since it's such a compact size, you might even want to go ahead and set it up in their bedroom.

When the tree is unplugged, it's a white, 32-inch tree in a silvery base. It's when the tree is plugged in — either to an electrical outlet or a USB plug — that the magic starts. Each of the 83 branches has fiber optic lights that slowly dance through a rainbow of colors. While you can certainly add ornaments, a tree this colorful can easily stand on its own.

At 32 inches high, the tree is small enough to fit on a counter, table, or hutch, or even liven up your work cubicle. It does need to be close to a power source, however.

Pros: Very colorful and fun with ever-changing pre-strung fiber optic lights

Cons: Not at all realistic, not as full as some faux trees


The best decorated tabletop Christmas tree

The best decorated tabletop Christmas tree
The Green Fir Artificial Christmas Tree might only be 12 inches tall, but it sure packs in a whole lot of holiday cheer.

If you want a tiny tree for your desk, window, or to serve as the centerpiece on your holiday table, the Holiday Aisle Green Fir Artificial Christmas Tree is your answer. It might only be a foot high, but it comes loaded with 20 clear LED lights, ornaments, and bows, and sits in a pretty red basket. Add a little topper of your own, if you'd like, or display the tree as is.

The tree arrives with lights and decorations already in place, so setup is as easy as removing the tree from its box and fluffing up the branches. VoilÀ, you have holiday cheer! You can even use this mini tree to decorate the bathroom or a guest room dresser — what a treat for your holiday guests.

The lights require three AA batteries (not included), and there's a small on/off switch on the base. Once the holidays are over, it's easy to store the tree in its box. At such a great price, you might want to buy a few extras for the office gift exchange or to use as hostess gifts.

Pros: Decorations and lights are included, small size is very versatile

Cons: Doesn't include a tree topper

Check out our other great Christmas decorating guides

Check out our other great Christmas decorating guides
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