Tag Archives: Christmas trees

Jessica | Balsam Hill Designer

Christmas Tree Trends

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Christmas 2012 saw the emergence of bold new trends in decorating the classic Christmas tree. Playful colors blended well with the most extraordinary of ornaments: starfishes, feathers, and family photos. These five creative Christmas tree trends shaped the past season and are bound to inspire you yet again.

Inspiration #1: The Rainbow

Highlight your white Christmas tree with loud colors. Break the rules by selecting not only two complementing hues for your overall look but an entire rainbow of it. Layer your ornaments by putting Christmas balls of the same color together to reflect a spectrum of hues. This creates a cascading of colors that is harmonious and not heavy on the eyes.

Eclectic Family Room design by Chicago Martha Layton Smith

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Jessica | Balsam Hill Designer

Top Five Most Expensive Christmas Trees

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Christmas trees are now a fixture in holiday celebrations all over the world. The Christmas tree has come a long way from its roots in early modern Germany. Acquiring popularity in the 19th century, the Christmas tree tradition has spread to almost every part of the world, thus leading to the production of a variety of Christmas trees—some traditional, unusual, spectacular, and with our list, downright expensive. Take a look at some of the most expensive Christmas trees ever made, proving that the fruit-and-candle decorated trees of times passed have come a long way.

1. Christmas Tree at Emirates Palace Hotel, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Image by Lars Plougmann via flickr. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The United Arab Emirates is known to have a taste for luxury with its 7-star hotels, ultramodern architecture, and numerous high-end establishments. It is no surprise that one of the most expensive Christmas trees can be found in this part of the world. The Christmas tree at the Emirates Palace Hotel in the capital of Abu Dhabi is worth millions, worthy of the UAE’s reputation for luxury. The tree itself is natural but the precious gold, diamond, emerald, and other expensive decorations make this 13-foot tree a true gem, worth well over $11.4M.
2. Christmas Tree by Soo Kee Jewellery Shop, Singapore

Singapore is fast becoming a true diamond of Asia and in a timely fashion, it has produced a spectacular 20-foot tree that is an enchanting piece on its own. Soo Kee Jewellery created a dazzling Christmas tree that looks at most delicate and otherworldly with its sparkling silver tone and intricate details. Around 21,798 precious diamonds make up the tree mixed with approximately 3,000 or so crystals to enhance the dazzle factor. This enchanting piece, worth $1M, can be found at the upscale Bugis Junction in the island state.

3. Christmas Tree by Ginza Tanaka Jewelry, Tokyo, Japan

Ever fancied a Christmas tree made of 24-carat gold? Japan jeweler Ginza Tanaka, who specializes in gold jewelry, made such an item three times! The first luxury Christmas tree they made stood at around 2 meters high and cost a staggering $850,000. Trumping that, they made another Christmas tree for a different year costing $1.9M. More recently, in line with the commemoration of Walt Disney’s 110th anniversary, another golden Christmas tree was commissioned, this time worth approximately $4.2M and featuring well-loved Disney characters as points of interest.

4. Christmas Tree by Steve Quick, Chicago, IL, USA

What started off as a bid against cancer became one of the most expensive Christmas trees in history. Steve Quick, a company based in Chicago, IL, created a tree from solid 18-karat gold. A 4.52- carat stone set in a star made of platinum sits atop the golden tree, while200 carats worth of diamonds and diamond-briolette ornaments were added to complete the über de luxe piece worth around $500,000. The Christmas tree was eventually auctioned off and the proceeds went to the American Cancer Society—a luxury for a cause.

5. Christmas Tree at Sofitel London St. James Hotel, London

At first glance, one might think the black tree at the Sofitel London St. James to be an unassuming piece. It is visually appealing, yes, but upon closer inspection, a guest would get to see why the tree is able to command such a price. Hanging on the tree “branches” are bottles upon bottles of 24-carat containers filled with small amounts of the high-end Grand-Champagne Cognac Louis XIII. This creative addition explains the hefty $55,000 price tag.

Jessica | Balsam Hill Designer

Balsam Hill’s 2012 Christmas Tree Shopping Guide

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Selecting a Christmas tree for your home may sometimes feel like a difficult task, especially with the wide range of choices available in the market. We here at Balsam Hill aim to create a pleasant tree-buying experience for you with our helpful Christmas Tree Buying Guide that offers valuable information that will hopefully aid you in your decision.

Artificial Christmas Tree Varieties
Balsam Hill provides customers with quality trees that mimic the look and feel of freshly cut trees from a Christmas tree farm. Our collections are often named after the actual trees that served as inspirations. So when browsing through our site, you’re bound to come across three of our more popular varieties: Fir, Spruce, and Pine. What do these terms mean? Basically, they describe the overall look of the tree with regards to its needles’ build and placement. Choosing the right variety is important because the needles of a tree should complement the ornaments you plan to use. If your ornaments are on the heavier side, you should ideally pick a variety that’s apt to handle the extra weight, such as the Spruce tree.

For a more detailed review, read our post on The Differences between Fir, Spruce and Pine.

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Thomas Harman | CEO of Balsam Hill

Our Delightful Castle Peak Pine

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Our Balsam Hill Castle Peak Pine Tree

It’s our busy time of year, and as we prepare for our peak season, it can be easy to forget why we do what we do.  In the midst of all the busy-ness, I had a truly refreshing experience yesterday.

A media publication contacted us and asked if they could run a story about Balsam Hill, to which we happily obliged.  They asked to do a photo shoot with me and one of our trees in a home setting, and since we are so busy, I asked a friend to set up and decorate a tree for the photo shoot.  I arrived after all the decorating was done, and found a gorgeously decorated Castle Peak Pine awaiting.

My friend and her daughter were beaming, they were so thrilled with how great the tree looked.  It was the first time they’d set up a Balsam Hill tree, and they bashfully admitted to me that they had always had fresh Christmas trees, but after setting up the Castle Peak Pine, they were pretty much convinced to buy a Balsam Hill tree.

Yet the real surprise for me was just remembering how beautiful the Castle Peak Pine really is.  In all honesty, I don’t think I had ever fully appreciated its beauty.  It’s not like I hadn’t seen it before, I designed it and in fact had been working on it for over two years.  But most of the time, I have seen it in our R&D facility, without decorations, and without the charm and comfort of seeing it in a warm, inviting home.

The Castle Peak Pine is one that took a long time to develop: I wanted to introduce a tree similar to our Aspen Silver Fir, one that was all True Needle, and that had quite a bit of space in between each branch.  This allows for an open look and also for ornaments (especially larger ones) to be beautifully displayed.  However, in contrast to the Aspen Silver Fir, I wanted to have a tree that had a warmer color palette as well as spruce needle tips instead of fir.

While my favorite trees are ones that exactly mimic nature (such as our BH Noble Fir or BH Fraser Fir), there are only so many natural tree species that make great Christmas trees, so we also design trees that are guided by nature, such as this one.

Inspired by the Engelmann Spruce and other beautiful conifers around Colorado Springs, Castle Pines, and other communities in the Eastern foothills of the Colorado Rockies, our team set out to develop this beautiful tree.  For the first year of development, we code named it the Nebraska Pine.  (I’m not sure why, but it was memorable…in part because we kept coming back to make minor tweaks this tree.)  Call me picky, but it took a long time until we had the tree just right.

The challenge with an open tree like the Castle Peak Pine is that it needs to have enough branch density so that the light strings are concealed, but not too much density that all the nooks and crannies that are so naturally great for ornaments get filled in.  And of course, the tree needs a realistic faux trunk since there is not a dense inner thicket of branches to cover up the tree’s center pole like many of our trees.

After many iterations, our team perfected the Castle Peak Pine and we achieved what I think is the perfect balance of needle tips; needle shape; needle, stem, and bark color; a gorgeous tree shape; and the right amount of lights.   Ultimately we decided to introduce the Castle Peak Pine with our Candlelight TM LEDs – their warm glow accentuates the gentle, warm colors of this tree beautifully.

Back to the present – walking into this photo shoot I was just astounded with the beauty of the Castle Peak Pine.  It looked so real, so natural…the handmade branches had been fluffed perfectly so that it looked just like a farm grown Christmas tree with natural variances in how each branch tip fell.  It was so stunning that I surprised myself!