Pre-Lit Vs. Unlit Christmas Trees

When you have decided to go with an artificial Christmas tree, probably the next decision is whether to purchase a pre-lit or unlit.  Most of the decision will surround personal preference and convenience.


Especially if you are short on time or energy, a pre-lit tree is a way to go.  

You don’t have to fret with untangling the strings of lights and adjusting them on the tree, just to find you have to plug together instead of a plug and a socket.  It also means all the wires are well hidden from view.  Many have a convenient on/off switch that can be operated with a touch of your foot instead of bending over to work the wall plug.

Be sure to select a product where the lights remain on even if one goes out.  Also choose LED lights, which are longer-lasting, cooler to the touch, and will glow brighter.  Generally, the trees come lit with either all clear/white or all multi-color.  

A good rule of thumb is to select a tree with at least 100 lights per tree foot.  That means a six-foot tree would have a minimum of 600 lights.  Be sure they are UL approved 

You get to spend your time placing favorite ornaments and admiring your handiwork rather than struggling with independent lights.  

The downside is these are the lights you will be stuck with for the life of the tree.  Also, the replacement bulbs can get a little pricy.


With a Christmas tree that comes without lights, you have the ultimate in creativity.  You can use any type or color of lights, from the nostalgic large bulbs from the mid-20th century or minis.  You can mix and match as you like.  It also gives the decorator some leeway to decide just how the lights will be arranged.  It provides an opportunity to combine conventional and modern at the same time.

For those families who decorate as a tradition, stringing the lights through the tree becomes part of the event, generating laughter and memories.  Children make it an experience and it teaches them the art of cooperation and teamwork.

So, here’s hoping that these tips will help you choose your next artificial Christmas tree.  Whether pre-lit or not, the important factor is the enjoyment of the season with friends and family.

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