Thomas "Mac" Harman | CEO of Balsam Hill

Ask Mac: Which Balsam Hill Tree Should I Get?

‘Twas almost Thanksgiving
and all through the house,
none of my offspring were stirring,
not even my spouse.
And while I know I should get some rest,
I can’t help but write,
a note to all of you,
before I sign off for the night.
So many friends have asked,
“Hey Mac, what tree should I buy?”
I can barely keep up, in providing my replies.
So here are my thoughts, lucid and true;
I very much hope, they are helpful to you!

Balsam Hill Vermont White Spruce

Vermont White Spruce

(Impatient friends who want an immediate “80/20” answer: buy the Vermont White Spruce.)

For everyone else, first, thank you for your interest in welcoming Balsam Hill to your home! I’m honored. I know there are a lot of trees to choose from. In fact, I’ve personally designed all of our 50+ tree families.

I must admit this exercise is a bit like having multiple kids and the hazard of picking a favorite. Even the trees you might find on deep discount aren’t “bad” trees – they are just ones that apparently our customers didn’t like as much as I did!

3 Questions to Answer When Picking Your Tree

1. Did you grow up with a real tree?

Balsam Hill BH Noble Fir

BH Noble Fir

If so, I’d suggest buying one of our replica trees from the region where you grew up as everything about them should seem familiar to you. If you grew up on the West Coast, I’d recommend the BH Noble Fir. If you grew up in New England or the Philly-NYC corridor, I’d recommend the BH Balsam Fir. If you grew up along the Atlantic Seaboard or in Florida, then the BH Fraser Fir. Anywhere else, I’d suggest the BH Blue Spruce.

If you didn’t grow up with a real tree, then I’d recommend the Vermont White Spruce (you just can’t go wrong with this tree – it is full, gorgeous, and versatile) or the BH Noble Fir (note it is a green-gray color). The BH Blue Spruce (a blue-green color) is pretty awesome, too. All three of these trees are terrific for hanging lots of ornaments, and easy to “fluff” to be super full and lush.

2. Do you like to buy the latest trend?

Balsam Hill European Fir

European Fir

Then check out our European Fir, Mountain Fir, or Sanibel Spruce. These “organic” styles have a lot more space for ornaments and are very trendy right now, especially when coupled with a unique tree surround or base.

Frosted or flocked trees are making a comeback; although, we don’t sell flocked trees because the flocking falls off in chunks leaving you with a white tree with green spots. Instead, we sell frosted trees like the Frosted Fraser Fir where it looks like snow has fallen but there are no large chunks of flocking to fall off.

3. Do you prefer a tried-and-true approach (the good old standbys)?

Balsam Hill California Baby Redwood

California Baby Redwood

Both the California Baby Redwood and the Vermont White Spruce are trees I designed back in 2006 before I even thought of the name “Balsam Hill.” They’ve been customer favorites ever since. You just can’t go wrong with those two trees!

Quick Tips for Finding Your Favorite Tree

  • Realism – I highly recommend our most realistic trees. These are the best in the business and worth the premium.
  • Setup – If you store your tree at the same level or within half a flight of stairs from where you display it, pay the premium for the Flip Tree version. This technology is simple and awesome for quick setup and storage. If you are hauling your tree into a basement or up into an attic, then you’re better off with a traditional tree so you can carry the sections up/down stairs individually.
  • Lights – If you have kids or someone who loves gadgets, I’d get the Color+Clear lighting option as it comes with a handy remote control. You can’t go wrong with this, unless you don’t like lights. Otherwise, I’d get clear lights – classy, elegant, and always in style.
  • To LED or Not to LED – The rest of the LEDs in the market are tacky, in my opinion. We have worked hard to have our LEDs look just like incandescent lights – all the advantages of LED (lasts longer, lower energy consumption) with most of the advantages of incandescent (soft warm glow, true colors, crystal clear transparency and sparkle from actual glass bulb casings vs. cloudy plastic ones). However, I know many of our customers still love the traditional incandescent lights and they’ve been the gold standard for 40 years! I have finally switched to LED myself, but I’m a fan of both.
  • Height – Get a 7.5’, 8’, or 9’ depending on your ceiling height. If you go 10’ or bigger, make sure you have a significant other or someone who is really excited to set up the tree with you. 10’ in artificial is a big tree to set up and decorate, but oh such a spectacular sight!
Balsam Hill Alpine Balsam Fir

Alpine Balsam Fir

I often get asked what tree I have at home. It varies and I usually put up multiple trees, but my family’s favorite is the Vermont White Spruce. In years when we don’t have one, my wife wants to know why. The latest addition to our lineup at home is an Alpine Balsam Fir with LED Celestial lights. It is a really fun tree for displaying ornaments and it was a breeze to set up.

I hope this has been helpful in finding the perfect Balsam Hill tree for your home!

About the Author

Mac founded Balsam Hill in 2006 after discovering his brother-in-law was allergic to real Christmas trees. He enjoys travelling the world in search of inspiration for new tree designs, and to hand-pick the finest home décor to share with his customers. Mac was honored on the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s prestigious “40 under 40” list, and was selected as a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2015 Award.