This Fraser Fir Christmas Tree Isn’t What I Expected

Update, December 3, 2019:  I’m adding an update to this post today, two years after I first published this post. I just looked at the 1-star reviews at the Balsam Hill website, and two years later they’ve still never posted my 1-star review. If you look at the 1-star reviews there, you’ll see a big gap between the years/dates of the negative reviews. Since they’ve never published my review, I am highly suspicious that they don’t publish the majority of the negative reviews they receive.

Before you spend hundreds of dollars on a tree from this company, Google “Balsam Hill Christmas Tree Complaints” and read the reviews you’ll find online at other websites. Also, check out the reviews I found HERE and HERE and HERE. The reviews on those sites are very eye-opening and are right in line with what I experienced.

End Update

After reading so many great reviews over the years about Balsam Hill Christmas trees, I decided this year to splurge and spend the $700+ to get my very own. After it arrived earlier in the week, I got it out of the box to check it over to make sure the lights worked and all was okay.

The tree I purchased for $719.74 was the Balsam Hill BH Fraser Fir. It is from Balsam Hill’s “Most Realistic” Collection. For reference, this is a photo from their website of how the tree is supposed to look when assembled.

Balsam Hill BH Fraser Fir

In many of the videos I watched on YouTube before purchasing my tree, they show close-ups of the “realistic” branches of the Balsam Hill Fraser Fir. Though my tree is from their “Most Realistic” line, it has very few of those “realistic” needles that they show in the videos. The realistic needles/branches are only clustered together along the very outer edges of each branch as shown below. The rest of the tree is the typical artificial tree needles you find on much less expensive Christmas trees.

Balsam Hill Tree Doesn't Look Real At All


Here’s another photo showing how the “realistic” branches are only along the outer edges of the tree. I don’t know if this is how all their trees look or if it’s just their BH Fraser Fir.

Very Realistic Balsam Hill Tree, How it really looks isn't very realistic


For $700+, I thought the lighting would be wound around each branch with lights all along the branches, but it’s not. The majority of the lighting is right along the tips of the branches.

Bad Balsam Hill Tree Lighting only at very edges of branches


Here’s a closer view showing how the lighting is mostly just on the outer tips of the branches.

Balsam Hill Tree Lighting, Can't separate branches


Large Sections With No Lighting at All: My tree had large sections/areas where there was no lighting at all. In the photo below, I gathered one of those big sections together so you could see the areas I’m talking about and how large they are. When I let go of the branches, they spread out even further, so the sections that had no lights were quite large.

Balsam Hill Fraser Fir Large Sections with No Lights


Here’s another section with no lights. There are quite a few places like this on my Balsam Hill Fraser Fir tree.

Large Section of Balsam Hill Tree With No Lights


On the very outer edges of the branches where there are lights, the lighting was strung so tightly together it prevented me from being able to pull the branches outward to fill in the many gaps and holes all over the tree. No matter how hard I pulled, to the point of thinking I might even damage the wiring, I found myself unable to spread out the branches very far at all.

Can't Separate Branches of Balsam Hill Tree


Bare Branches with no Limbs or Needles: Another thing that bothered me about this tree that I’ve never seen on any other tree I’ve owned is how there are areas of the branches that are missing needles and are completely bare.

Balsam Hill Tree With Large Bald Sections


This area wasn’t that far back in the tree, either. It’s only a few inches past where the “realistic” branches end and is very noticeable because of all the big gaps in the tree.

Balsam Hill Fraser Fir Has Noticeable Bald areas


Another one of the bald spots that’s bare. (Note arrow)

Horrible Color of Supposedly Realistic Looking Balsam Hill Tree


Big Gaps: I was so saddened and discouraged after I got this tree out of the box the day it arrived that after placing the first section in the stand and attempting to fluff out the branches (which was impossible due to the spider web of wires on the outer edges of the branches) I gave up and went to bed. The next day I tried to work on it some more and placed the next section on top. No matter how much I worked on fluffing it out, it was impossible to fill all the big empty gaps. How they ever achieved the look of the photo on the Balsam Hill website, I do not know. No matter how hard I tried to separate the branches wider to hide the large gaps in the tree, they were held fast in place by the web of wiring on the outer tips of the branches, as shown in the earlier pictures in this post.

How a Balsam Hill Fraser Fir Tree Really Looks


So many gaps. 🙁

Balsam Hill Fraser Fir Tree, How it really looks


Tonight I went ahead and placed the top section on the tree just to see if the height would have been okay. I’m not going to attempt to fluff that section out since I’ll be returning the tree. I dread having to squish everything back down to get it back into its box. Update: It wasn’t that hard to get back in the box, FedEx picked it back up today.

Balsam Hill Fraser Fir with Ugly Large Gaps


Even the lighting was a disappointment. Compared to the trees I’ve been using over the past ten years, the lights are not very bright at all.  I wanted to share these pictures with you since I had mentioned in a previous post that I would be ordering a Balsam Hill tree. I don’t know how all their trees look, but this was definitely not what I expected after watching videos on YouTube and seeing the photos online. I left a 1-star review on this tree on the Balsam Hill website several days ago, but it still hasn’t been published. I haven’t noticed any new reviews being published on this tree in the past week, so not sure how current the reviews are that you see there. I will be Christmas tree hunting again this weekend. If I can’t find anything that I like, I’ll have to use my narrow “kitchen” tree again in the living room this year.

Balsam Hill Tree with dull, not very bright lighting


Wish me luck in finding a better tree for this room, and if you know of a really beautiful tree, please let me know. I saw some interesting ones in Lowe’s today in the $300 and $400 range. Will be back on the hunt for a beautiful, quality tree this weekend. Update: I found a gorgeous tree and absolutely love it! You can see/read about it in this post: It Was Worth the Hunt, Love This Christmas Tree.

Realistic GE Canadian Just Cut Tree with Easy Light System


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  1. You are right. That is one sorry looking tree. For over $700, it should not only look better but put itself together and sing. It looks plastic’y. This is why I like to look at what I buy in person before buying. So sorry for your disappointment. BTW How many subscribers do you have getting the ‘thumbs down’ ?

    • I’m not sure I’ll ever order a tree online again without seeing it first after this experience. I just totally went on the mostly great reviews at their website. Maybe they’ve changed manufacturers recently.

      • The trees from Plow and Hearth are very nice.

      • I ordered a Balsam Hill tree a couple of years ago and experienced the same disappointment and then to top it off I had to pay $50 to return it. It was nothing like the videos they advertise.

      • I just saw this! I purchased a Balsam Hill 4.5 ft tree with all the expectations seen in pictures. Everything you have commented on in this article is absolutely true! I have spent hours to try and fluff it; there are gaps, lights on tips predominantly; I spent $300+ . While someone might say that’s not much, for this size tree it is. I am so disappointed with it.
        Also at least 5 branches that hang uneven.I wish I would have seen your article before my purchase. Thanks for posting so I don’t feel like I’m the only one.

  2. What a disappointment! That is not at all what I would expect for the price. Besides the tree being a disappointment, it sounds like their customer service is too.

    I wish I lived close to you, I would be over in a minute to help you squish that tree back in its box and put it out for UPS pick-up.

    I’m anxious to hear if they ever call you. Good luck.

    • Thanks, Denise, appreciate that! They just sent me a FedEx label. I think they expect me to get it into my suv and take it to a FedEx location. It weighs over 70lbs. I’m not sure the box will even fit in my SUV. I just emailed to ask if it will be picked up at my home, so I’ll see what they say.

  3. Terri Gonzalez says

    I saw some beautiful trees today at Lowe’s. I’m also shopping for one as I need to replace the tree in the dining room with the tree from the living room, and buy a new one for the l/r. I’m going to look at the trees at Michael’s and Hobby Lobby tomorrow. I would never buy a tree without first checking it out. At least I’ll have an idea of what I’m buying. Good luck!

    • I just bought the 7.5 foot Victorian Spruce from Michaels and I’m very happy. But I realize that not everyone is looking for the same requirements in a tree. Love that it’s LED, has white and colored lights, it’s a pole connection and very full but with lots of spaces to put ornaments.

  4. Roz Sullivan says

    I purchased the Signature Balsam from Frontgate three years ago and love it!

    • We’ve been to the Frontgate Outlet just outside Cincinnati and thought their trees were all gorgeous – and these were the Outlet trees (it is a true Outlet, that includes catalog overstocks and returns)! They were the best artificial trees we’ve seen anywhere – including all the Big Box stores.

      & I agree with Myrna – we like to see a representative tree ‘out of the box’ before buying.

  5. Dawn Gilmore says

    Wow, what a disappointment! For $700 it should be perfect with all realistic branches, no bottle brush branches.

  6. It does look a bit sad. I could not spend that much on a tree, but if I could I would be expecting more than what you got!! I have to say my Martha Stewart tree I bought at Home Depot a few years back looked pretty good and it had the lights that you wanted: all white or mixed colors; flashing or not. I also had one of those life like trees where it was just the outer limbs and that particular tree lost its lights after two years. Also, the Martha Stewart has the hookups for the lights in the trunk (three pieces–no searching for plugs). You are getting me in the spirit and thinking of getting mine out in a few weeks. I have all glass birds that I have collected over 50 years! Hope you find a beautiful tree!!

  7. Elizabeth Roderick says

    Wow, that’s really sad. Thanks for sharing pictures of this.. Before I read your comments, I actually thought they had mixed two different trees. I guess, in a way, they did. I’m sure you will find something prettier locally. Good luck!

  8. Oh, Susan, I’m so sorry this tree didn’t work out for you. I, too, have always thought this was the Cadillac of artificial trees. Your pictures certainly do show this isn’t true! And it’s also disheartening that your review isn’t being posted. We’ve always had very good luck with buying our trees from Hobby Lobby. You’ll find a beautiful one soon, I’m sure. And with all the money you save, you can buy some fabulous new ornaments!

  9. Sorry to hear of your disappointment. I got 2 small tress and only paid $30 for each! I like them and since I load them with ornaments, they work for me! Hope you find one to your liking.

  10. What a big ol’ mess! I’m so sorry. I’ve admired Balsam Hill trees for years and never imagined their quality would be so low. Perhaps Frontgate or Tree Classics will have something better. I think the latter was bought by Balsam Hill but they still have their own line. Still, it kind of makes one leery of buying a tree online.
    You’ve saved bunches of us a boat load of trouble although this is probably cold comfort right now. I know you like to have things lined up and ready in advance and this is a tedious headache. But I know you’ll work it out. You always do.

  11. Susan, Thank you for this very honest post. Over the past few years, I have tried 2 different artificial trees and both went right back. The first was from Frontgate and the second was, I think, from Balsam Hill. Both were very expensive and returning them was a challenge. I had similar problems to the ones you encountered. I hated the look and number of the less than natural branches, the bristled sections were almost identical to an inexpensive artificial tree we had over 30 years ago. The look was certainly not realistic or attractive. I wasn’t impressed with the light placement and I didn’t think the branches would support the weight of many of my treasured ornaments. Although I love having a real tree, it is so difficult to make the trip to my favorite “Cut Your Own Farm”, and we can no longer drag our tree to the checkout and then tie it on top of the car. Precut trees in our area are never fresh enough to last until New Years. I have been following your search and was hoping you might have found a tree that would also work for me. I keep thinking there must be a truly lovely artificial tree. I am sorry that you are so disappointed. MM

  12. Aw Susan…what a bummer. I would be furious with what was delivered and ranting about the customer service. I would at least request return shipping.

    • Yes, and I would send them pictures and refuse to pay the restocking charge as well! They should thank you for letting them know what their manufacturer is putting on there with their name on it! Speak to a Manager!

  13. Vicki Entze says

    Oh Sue, that is just awful! I would be more than upset. Do you have to pay for return shipping and/or a restocking fee? If so, I would demand my money back. I found my tree two years ago st Hobby Lobby. My main criteria was that it have the feature if one bulb goes out the whole section doesn’t go. Surprisingly that feature is not that easy to find. None of the trees at Home Depot had it. I had two of their associates helping me read the features on every tree and box they had. I also wanted a thinner tree but not skinny. Hobby Lobby had both features I wanted. Good look in your search.

  14. Oh, no! Susan, what a huge disappointment!

    I wish you the best in finding another.

  15. Donna Howell says

    I agree with you on that tree. One of the ugliest trees I have ever seen. I hope you find the one your find the one you are looking for.

  16. janine taylor says

    Wow, that is certainly surprising to hear. I read your posts faithfully and value your opinion. Thank you for sharing your experience and you are saving many of us from the same misfortune. Good luck in the search, I know you will find the right one and soon!!

  17. That truly is a ugly Christmas tree. I can understand your disappointment. The lady I work for recently purchased this tree
    I just fluffed it all out for her last week. I think it’s a beautiful tree and she really researched many websites, comparing features etc. I think it was a much, much better looking tree that what you got and not near as much money. Good luck.

    • I was just looking at this tree on Wayfair Toni! So it truly is beautiful? I am at odds with the tree we were sent last year. It is not my cup of tea and I am wanting a new one. Susan so very sorry for your experience!

      • Yes the tree is very realistic looking and yet has room for hanging ornaments inside the tree. The lights appear evenly spaced. This woman is VERY PARTICULAR about her Christmas tree….it is the crowning glory to her decorations so finding one that suited her that wasn’t through the roof on price was no small undertaking. But I can honestly say it was worth the price. The top of it is not heavy in branches so I’m not sure how it will lend itself to the decorative spray we usually put at the top, so that might have to change but otherwise we are both happy. Hope this helps.

    • hi Toni, I am looking at this same tree on Amazon to purchase. I’ve done extensive research online and find that most of the nice realistic Frasier Fir trees are PE style branches on the outer and PVC style branches on the inner part of the tree. Is this tree made the same way? I’m very interested in your opinion. Also, have ordered a Balsam Hill Blue Spruce tree and it was very disappointing, and sent it back. Thanks for your input!

      • I’m not exactly sure the definition of “PE style branches on the outer and PVC style branches” but I think you mean the variation in texture and material of the needles, is that right? There is variation but it isn’t AT ALL as marked at the Balsam Hill tree. The tree really was beautiful I thought. If you send me your email, I’ll send you a picture of it. I can’t figure out how to add a photo here. Overall, we were very very pleased with the tree.

  18. kim Jefferson says

    I bought a tree from Costco a couple weeks ago. I haven’t taken it out of the box yet but on my next visit to Costco, I wasn’t that impressed. I paid $400. I went to Lowes today and actually really liked a tree they had there for $350. It was the most realistic tree I have seen. I think I will take mine back and get the one at Lowes. I wish you good luck in your hunt. It is a shame that the tree you got was so disappointing.

  19. Greatly disappointed for you. QVC has some beautiful trees.

    • Hi Marge, I purchased a tree from QVC. It was so beautiful on TV with their presentation and had everything I wanted. After receiving and putting it up, it did not fluff out as shown in the presentation. I have years of experience fluffing out an artificial tree. This one left too many holes and you could see where the branches attached to the trunk. I called QVC customer service and since it was so heavy, they had the tree picked up by my mailman at my front door! They were very nice to work with in the return. Plus it was on Easy Pay! Wish it would have worked out.

  20. Try this site.
    It looks like there are a few left and they look nice.
    Good luck with your search.

  21. Dawne Anderson says

    Susan!! What a joke of a tree. How disheartening. I’m sorry this happened to you however we can all learn from it. I hope there is no restocking fee and you get all your money back including return fees. Last year I bought a small flocked tree from Walmart. That’s all I need here in FL. I seen a beautiful tree at Cracker Barrel yesterday. I don’t think they sell trees though.
    Please keep us posted on your tree hunt and tree return.

  22. Diane Botello says

    That’s truly shocking! I really think Lowes has the nicest trees. Ten years ago I bought a seven foot one there for around $400. It is still the most beautiful tree I have ever seen, even after all these years!

  23. Since you have readers that bought from Hobby Lobby, add me to that list. I have 2 flocks, a 4 1/2’ cashmere tree, and a 7.5’ tree. All on display in the store where you can touch the needles! Not purchased at the same time either so a few years later, they still look new. Good luck with your search for the best one for your home.

  24. So sorry this purchase was such a disappointment, but thank you for saving the rest of us. I’ve been contemplating ordering the very same tree for the past few weeks. I hope your next tree is a winner!

  25. I am so sorry for your disappointing experience. After years of a live tree we bit the bullet two years ago and, after a ton of research, got a Balsam Hill tree. We couldn’t be happier! We got the same light scheme as you did. Good luck in your search. Certainly glad you started the process now rather than later.

  26. Grandin Road catalog has some cute trees in. Maybe you could try them?

  27. Two years ago, we purchased a smaller tree from Lowe’s and I just love it. The former tree was ten feet tall and took me forever it seemed to decorate. The new tree is an eight footer, takes less time to decorate and looks much like the former Frazier fir. We paid about $300.00 for the tree.

  28. QVC had beautiful trees yesterday with 137 functions–go there and watch the video–it was on yesterday so go to recently aired and you will find it…

  29. Have you check QVC? I have not bought one, but on tv they look nice. I was going to buy one from Balsam Hill last year, but was afraid to. You really can’t tell what things look like on the computer I feel. On tv you are taking a chance too, but you get a better idea.

    • becky o'brien says

      Got mine from QVC 3 years ago. It has the multi/&white lights, 1 out does not shut them all down, and easy to assemble. Realistic and love it! Easy to fluff, go see it.

  30. Cheryl Page says

    I had a similar experience with Balsam Hill last year. My tree was not as bad as yours, and I kept it, because mine was easy to put together. I had a designer come in, and she was not happy with it at all, in terms of decorating it. She usually makes this beautiful tree topper, but couldn’t this time because the tree top would not support it. Now, I am on the hunt again for another tree for my dining room. I don’t know yet where I will put last year’s tree.


    Susan–I have been waiting to purchase a tree from that company and wanted to see what you thought of your tree first! Iam so sorry this did not work out for you however you have saved me one big hassle! Iam going to look at Lowe’s today! I hope it all works out for you! I really enjoy your blog! You are so helpful! Have a good day! Elizabeth

  32. We bought one 6 or 7 years ago from Hammacher Schlemmer, and we have been happy with it, received many compliments, etc. They have a lifetime warranty.

  33. donna a zoltanski says

    What a disappointment. I love the Christmas season of decorating and family to enjoy our decorated Christmas tree. I hope you find the perfect tree for your living room. I hope they contact you today.

  34. Melanie Pace says

    Thank you so much for sharing and saving others from the same disappointment! To charge a customer $700 and the product arrive so grossly inferior to the advertised tree is nothing short of “bait and switch” marketing! They should be reported. Again, many thanks and hope you find a beautiful Christmas tree soon!

  35. Be careful with the ones from Lowe’s also. I paid over $300 for one there a few years ago, and was able to use it twice!!! I finally donated it to GoodWill. I can’t imagine giving $700 for the mess you received!! The tree I had had small white lights as well as large teardrop colored lights and was really pretty when lit, but I lugged it upstairs last year, and could not figure for the life of me how to plug the MANY electrical plugs throughout the tree to get it to light. Only parts would light up. PLUS, Lowes didn’t carry the replacement bulbs for the colored ones, so I finally found some from a garden center online to replace the large bulbs which seemed to go out quickly. I’ve found that a smaller tree works best for me, placed on a table. I have one that takes about an hour to “fluff” and decorate, and we’ve used it for several years. It’s in a black urn and also came from lowes for about $60. With just the two of us, although we both love Christmas trees, this one works fine and is a 30 minute job to put away each year, and easily stored underneath the basement stairs. Good luck on finding one you love. I agree with you on the Balsam…….that is one ugly tree!! 🙂

  36. Rose Taylor says

    I was waiting to read your review of your new tree . We have been considering buying the Balsam , but after reading your experience I think we will have to start our search over again. Sorry that you had this experience but you have saved so many of us from the same -so thank you.

  37. Gwenda Corgi says

    I am so sorry about your tree
    There is much to be suspicious about with BH
    A few years back after my own big research I went w a Pottery Barn tree-
    And it is exactly like the one I chose in the store
    I think Pier One does some nice ones
    It may simply be about quality control, how the inspector is feeling that day, etc if you get a lemon but very few want a lemon tree as their Christmas tree

  38. I ordered a Balsam Hill tree three years ago. I too was disappointed as I struggled to make mine look full. I called to complain and they informed me that I simply needed to spend more time (I think they even said their team spends 2 1/2 hrs. setting theirs up). I didn’t have any issues with how many lights were on it and we chose to stay away from the LED lights and go with the traditional clear lights. I didn’t spend as much as what your tree cost and once I decorated it- it seemed to look much better. As far as how they achieved the look for their pictures- I’ve decided they take the pictures with a black background so there is no light coming through. They go through a lot of trouble to make them look perfect. It sounds like the tree you got was defective out of the factory. Last year another blogger group posted pictures of trees they got from They are referred to as “snap” trees and they all claimed complete happiness with theirs. Either way for that kind of money you expect perfection!

  39. Hi Susan, I was hoping you would share a closer look at your tree. The interior branches with the different needles look nothing like my Balsam Hill FF tree I ordered two years ago. Very strange, they obviously have a different manufacturer. I’ll have to look more closely at how the lights are on our tree when we get it down from the attic to put up in a couple of weeks but the lights appear spaced differently too. No wonder you were disappointed! They must be getting tons of 1 star reviews this year. Good luck in finding a replacement!

  40. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your honesty. IT is one of my favorite things about you and your blog. I am sorry that your tree did not work out and I think it is fabulous that you shared your honest opinion with your followers because there are a ton of bloggers that work with Balsam and get trees etc and I have never ever seen on complaint from them. Thanks for sharing.

  41. I’m so sorry about your tree! If you liked what you saw at Lowe’s go get it. Target has theirs out too. They looked nice but I wasn’t really looking at them closely. I bought a tree after Christmas last year. I’m
    excited to set it up. We had our last tree for 7 years it came from BJ’s Wholesale. ( like a Sam’s Club) Check Sam’s Club to see if their trees are nice.

    Do your garden nurseries carry artificial trees?

    Good luck on your hunt.

  42. That is one disappointing tree, especially for the money you paid. We have always had a live tree and with all the kids gone and not around to help me decorate, we decided to buy an artificial one. Two years ago, we happened to be at Home Depot and they were having a sale on their trees. Bought a Martha Stewart one with lights. My sister ended up buying the same one. Totally happy with it, and to get around the lack of the Christmas tree smell, I buy wreaths and garland. Have been totally happy. Good luck finding one. By the way, that’s totally disappointing with Balsam Hill customer service.

  43. Ugh, I feel your pain. My last tree I loved was from Michaels, I think in 2004. Its only problem was the weight. A couple years ago we made our “Chris Missy” from the middle section, I use the top section in an urn on the porch, and I just ditched the bottom this past spring. I remember it taking HOURS to originally shape the branches, so you’ll probably be dealing with that, no matter what you buy.
    I bought my newest one from Home Decorators (Home Depot), online. I knew I could return it to the store if I didn’t like it, which is a definite plus. It’s okay, serves my need for lighter and slimmer profile. Shopping Christmas trees is just hard, and I just hope my lights stay lit for as many years as my last tree. After this one, I think I’ll go even smaller (short than 6′).
    Keep us posted. I remember spending hours looking online (Frontgate, Grandinroad, BH, Tree Classics, WM, etc….). If you find a really good one, there’ll be lots of interest. The good ones sell out fast.

  44. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I could see a true difference in the various branches. It was as if they hot glued on expensive branches only to the tips of cheap branches. That would make me nuts! If all else fails have someone sit on the tree/box while you tape it up! 🙂

  45. My daughters and granddaughter like color lights on the tree. I prefer the white lights. (I think they’re more elegant!) About 5 years ago, Martha Stewart came out with a “Magic” tree. Turn the button and presto-changeo you have either!
    I purchased it at The Home Depot for under $300. If my memory serves me correctly, it was $279….Black Friday specials had it at $79 each year following!!!!!!
    This tree is easy to put up, store, and looks like a real tree! My friends were astonished to learn it was artificial. I think it looks wonderful! Happy Thanksgiving

  46. What a disappointment! And now you have to get it back in the box! I️ was considering checking out their trees. Not now. We have a great store here in Charlotte, the Peppermint Forest. Owned by a local family, their trees are beautiful but more pricey than Lowe’s or Home Depot. If you are in the area any time soon, you might want to visit. Actually, the address may be Pineville, NC Good luck with your tree hunt!

  47. Oh No! After reading your post how you just decide to go for it and order your tree from Balsam Hill – I decided to do the same. (we really needed a new fake tree) Mine has shipped but have not received it yet and now I am in a panic. Sure do not want to have to pack it back up for a return.

    I know you were so upset as I will be if mine does not look great. And at their prices, great is what I want.

  48. What a disappointment!!! to say the least. You mentioned about seeing some at Lowes, their trees are beautiful. I was just looking at them a couple of days ago. I have a very pretty one, bought there last year. Went to white for a change. Love It. Hope you find just what you want.

  49. Wow… I’m shocked. Their trees always look perfect in their commercials. I’ve got a tree I bought at Walmart that looks better than that.

    So sorry for your disappointment and that you have to wrestle that thing back into the box to return it.

  50. That one does have a rather “Charlie Brown Christmas” quality to it. What a rip! Good for you to get the word out. If they don’t post your review on their site, at least when people Google the tree your review here will show up. Funny how businesses don’t want potential buyers to know the truth.

  51. We got our tree at Lowe’s and it is absolutely beautiful. It is very well made and loaded with lights with wires that are not noticeable. Good luck finding a new tree.

  52. Hi, I was so interested when I saw you purchased this tree. We too purchased the same Balsam Hill tree last year but ours is unlit.
    After 70+ years it was hard switching to an artificial tree but we had bugs hatch from our live tree on Christmas Eve 2015. With warmer weather now in northern Virginia, I learned this was a more common problem. Boy what a mess — little bugs all over. We had to drag the entire tree outside and decorate a little Norfolk pine which looked pretty cute.
    But I digress, I too read all the reviews closely and realized there were many negative reviews most centering on the lights and the many issues the lights created.
    It took us hours & hours to fluff up the tree following the video to a tee. I watched several of their “fluffing videos” and clearly that is the key to getting your perfect tree. We had to work on each and every branch, each and every twig. Some go up, some sideways, some out, some down. Quite the endeavor! But once completed it was worth it. (When dismantled, we were careful to not squish it down. I plan to have our big male thanksgiving guests haul the 2 boxes up after dinner. Then Friday, I will begin to assemble for this year and I am hoping the assembly will be infinitely quicker. We shall see if my anti-squishy packing method worked!)
    So, bottom line, we put our own lights on and everyone thought it was a real tree. Stringing the lights was a breeze. 2 smart-eyed guests knew it was fake saying it was too perfect. So this year I plan to make imperfects in my perfect tree! And, yes I left the lights on the tree having been very careful to put the lights on crosswise section by section.
    You may wish to consider exchanging yours for an unlit tree. You will have much greater flexibility in shaping the tree. I agree and many others agree with you completely that the attached lights are completely unacceptable. But I believe for the tree alone the Balsam Hill is hard to beat for realism. I should also add I found numerous consumer review articles that rated trees & reached the same conclusion. Tree is an A plus. Lights are an F minus.
    Just a thought for you to factor in as you continue your quest for a wonderful Christmas tree.
    I love your website and all your postings. I found it searching for porch ideas. We are using your porch experience as we move forward with ours. Your home is the mirror image of ours.

    • Susan, I agree with every Gail Batt said! I purchased a Balsam Hill unlit tree 4 years ago for about 1/3 price of the lit tree. Lights are so cheap, it seemed ridiculous to pay hundreds more for a lit tree, plus what happens when the lights burn out? If I could redesign my house, I would have a closet where we could roll in the completely decorated tree and store it! (Actually know someone who does that!!). Thank you for sharing your experience. It is disappointing Balsam Hill let their quality slide. You’ve provided a real service today!

  53. Wow….definitely not a $700+ quality tree. I ordered a tree from Tree Classics after Christmas last year… I am very pleased with the tree. It is a lighter green(blue) color than the normal Frasier Fir trees I have had in the past, but I love the shape and the realistic look. I am shopping for a new slim tree for my sunroom and considered Balsam Hill, but will reconsider after reading your post. Thanks for your honest and real opinion. Good luck!

  54. Gwen Martin says

    There’s a cheaper and better looking one at Hobby Lobby.

  55. Peggy Anderson says

    Yew, I was going to suggest Lowe’s. In GA we have Garden Ridge, they usually have gorgeous trees and less than $700+.
    So sorry your experience was so bad. Glad you have a broad range of subscribers to read your blog.

    • Garden Ridge is now called At Home – and yes, they do have a large variety of trees. Lowes does have some really nice ones this year.

  56. Marty Oravetz says

    Oh my word, that tree is really bad. How disappointing. I purchased a 9′ tree for our new home this year from Hobby Lobby. They have some beautiful ones and the prices are really nice too. You might check there.

  57. Jill Fauth says

    I’m so sorry to hear that, I’ve been looking at the Balsam Hills trees and wreaths also. I don’t need a tree at this time but did want to get battery led wreaths for my outside windows. After reading so many reviews which were very mixed, I decided against them, let along the cost. I got a 7.5 ft slim tree from Ballard Design several years ago and it is really nice. I got it after the holidays when it was on sale. I never watch QVC any have not purchased anything from QVC, but last night the Scott Brothers (HGTV) were on and have designed Christmas trees which were very interesting. Wires and what not are inside the center rod, led lights, change from white to multi, I’m anxious to hear about the reviews on them. They came in 5.5′, I think 6.5, 7.5 9 and 14′. Not sure if you can buy them anywhere else but they did look very interesting and have not seen anything like it with the way they are doing the wiring. Good luck in your search and I’m so sorry about the tree – but, thank you, I will no longer look on Balsam Hill’s website.

    • I saw that same QVC tree by the Scott Brothers on TV, it certainly looked beautiful. They were selling quickly so I don’t know if any are still available but I was surely tempted to order one – I sat on my hands! For $700, your tree should have been much better than this, and they should not make you pay shipping OR restocking fee to return such a sorry product.

  58. rebecca dexter says

    I would be furious….you are far more patient than I am…I Googled, “who has the best Christmas trees?” and clicked on Good Housekeeping’s site and was surprised to see that all of the trees they picked were Balsam Hill…h’mmmm makes me think that this was a paid advertisement. Looked some more and there was a site that said, “The 7 best Christmas trees of 2017” There was not a Balsam Hill among them. I agree with most of your readers, you probably had better see the tree before buying. Let us know what you decide.

  59. So sorry to hear this. That was my dream, to get a Balsam Fir tree. I got a beautiful one at Lowes last year. It is by Holiday Living, Hayden Pine, 7 1/2 feet, with 900 lights. It is so pretty, with assorted types of pine on the branches and very full. Took very little fluffing! I didn’t even bother trying to squeeze it back in the box, only the bottom part would fit. So try Lowe’s, but they seem to sell out fast! They usually have their trees on sale early in the season. Good luck finding your tree! I enjoy your blog very much. Thank you for sharing! From Susan in N.C.

    • Susan, so interesting that you mention that tree. When I was in Lowe’s yesterday, they had a really beautiful tree and when I looked closer, that’s what it was…it was a Hayden Pine. Whoever had put it up, had barely even fluffed it out, and it was still beautiful! I did eventually find it in the 7.5 ft size (which is what I need) but I didn’t buy it since I wanted to look around a bit more. Maybe I should go back and get it so I’ll have it while I’m looking, just in case they sell out.
      Here’s a photo of it. Again, it’s not even fluffed out. I thought it was so pretty, I asked one of the Lowe’s guys if he could help me measure it, to make sure it really was 9 feet, and it was, so too tall for my living room. I started fluffing out some of the branches because it was so pretty, had to force myself to stop! lol I could just imagine how stunning it would be with the branches all fluffed out. The only thing that I wasn’t sure about is it had a variety of styles of branches, kinda like mixing a couple of different species together. It sure made for a pretty tree though, even in its unfluffed state. It even had cute little pine cones on it, if I’m remembering correctly. You can see it here: Hayden Pine

  60. Sorry this didn’t work for you 🙁 The picture of the whole tree, without lights on, does look nice and real. But the close up pictures do not! Definitely not worth that money. My mom was thinking of indulging and buying one of their expensive trees – not happening now. Thanks for saving us money

  61. Oh, kiddo. All that looking, reading, researching, should I-shouldn’t I, it all ends up a crap shoot…sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you. Hopefully, “trying” to re-box that thing will work out aggression…or not. The perfect tree search continues…. xxx franki

  62. Cherie bennett says

    Thank you for giving your report! I have been wondering about ordering from Balsam Hill for years! But wound up getting an excellent tree half off the day after christmas last year at Lowe’s. We already have it up and it looks reat. It is the Hayden Pine from Holiday Living. I would really suggest you take a little trip over to M.C. Twinklins in Lilburn/Snellville. They are soooo knowledgeable about trees and have a nice selection. Plus tons of ornaments and a selection of ribbon that you will you absolutely drool over!!! You will not escape there without buying ribbon!! SOOOOO GORGEOUS!!! It is probably about 45 minutes from Marietta, if you go around 10 a.m. to escape the traffic! Totally worth your time! It is a great store and has been in business forever!

  63. Thank you for sharing this. Now I no longer have to yearn for the “perfect” Balsam Hill” trees and greenery. I’ll continue to show locally at big box and smaller stores for our Christmas trees and greenery. So sorry this happened. Now I am starting to get in the spirit and want to get some of our trees out.

  64. Lisa Kelly says

    So sorry for your bad tree experience. It is always a disappointment when anticipating your order only to find when you receive it that it is nothing like what is pictured. I hope you find your tree – seems like Hobby Lobby has some good recommendations. I will be checking our store out for a slim tree.Good luck and thanks for sharing. I read your posts all of the time and learn quite alot!

  65. Susan, how disappointing for you. BH are selling trees here in the UK but I don’t think you can actually see them anywhere before you buy. After reading that you’d ordered a new tree, I was tempted to send for BH’s sample branches box to see if BH trees are as good as the ads claim. I was also waiting to hear your views on the tree. I have now ruled out BH completely and will buy another real tree again!

    Your experience with the quality and appearance of the tree itself and also customer services, although very frustrating for you, has been extremely helpful to me and probably many others. Thank you so much.

    • I did the sample box. It was well worth it! Made it so easy to select just the right tree. We chose unlit because I know how horrible it is to cut off the light strands when they need replacing. It took me hours on a 3′ tree one year.

  66. OMG Susan, I was going to finally hit the bullet and order one this weekend, one of the Spruces, but after reading your review I won’t be. How disappointing! I really thought they were going to be special and gorgeous. I can’t belive the realistic branches aren’t used on the entire tree!!! Ugh!

    Have you heard of the King of Christmas trees? I guess I’ll check those out next.

  67. Once Balsam Hill realizes how much influence you have with your blog they should rush to make things right. The restocking fee is ridiculous, they should be offering you more than a refund! $700+ is a fortune! I have had bad experiences with artificial trees, we always get a real one. There are places here that will set it up and take it down for you, so I’m sure that’s available in your area too. I would look at Hobby Lobby, I have a small one I got there for under $60 that I love!

  68. I’m so surprised that the tree only had lighting at the edges. Years ago I worked for Macy’s and managed the Trim-a-Tree dept. They had a team of professional tree decorators come in and do all the trees in one day. I learned a lot from those pros- the first being “touch EVERY branch with light”. They wound the lights down one side of a branch and back up the other. It brings depth to the inner parts of the tree as well. There were no wire from the light showing between branches using their method either. This trick alone can transform ANY tree!
    The second great tip was to use plain ornaments deeper in the tree to fill in any voids. This lets you showcase the best ornaments where they are best seen.
    And my final “tip” would be this- If you want the most natural looking tree you can only get one from Nature!
    We get so caught up in chasing perfection that we fail to appreciate the beauty right in front of us. You will most certainly find a tree that you can enjoy and craft your ideal holiday.

  69. Doug Denny says

    Susan, I am both truly sorry for your experience however forever grateful that you have spared many of us the angst of buying and returning a tree.
    Over the years, I have purchased from BJ’s and Lowes with wonderful experiences. (I actually have had more than 10 decorated trees at one time). Last year I actually purchased a tree I used outside at Walmart with surprisingly great results. I am a “must see, feel and touch” buyer on many things, artificial trees being one of those. Good luck, the “right” tree will jump right out at you when you see it. Thank you again for the heads up as I am a believer that you almost always get what you pay for.
    Regards, Doug

  70. Wanda Bradey says

    Wow! I have one that I bought for this year and have yet to open. Guess what I am doing tonight. I bought the flip tree and paid over $1200 so I guess I will see. So sorry you had this experience. My favorite tree I own is the one from QVC by Bethlehem Lights. Beautiful. I only bought this new one as we moved to a new house that allows me a 9′ tree. Try the Bethlehem Lights trees. Love how they just connect with one swoop.

  71. veryl stockdale says

    that is so sad and poor customer service

  72. I bought a Balsam Hill tree last year. ($900.) I had had 3 artificial trees before. I bought the flip tree. I agree when it arrived I thought the same thing. But using the gloves provided I worked my way around the tree and finally got it fluffed up. It takes a while get it fluffy. The final look when decorated looks like the advertised trees. I love the ease of setting up and putting it away.

  73. Good decision to return it. They win in the marketing department and that us why everyone wants one. Lowes always has great trees. We got one there several years ago on clearance with the realistic needles and still love it today! I hope they pay for return shipping. On another note, I used your dollhouse as my inspiration and spent yesterday assembling and decorating it for a Christmas Loft Tour we will be on in Denison, Tx.

  74. Pamela Krugman says

    What a hassle. So sorry. I got my narrow, 8 ft. tree 15 years ago at a chain we have here in CO. called Hobby Lobby. They are reasonably priced and last forever. I keep the lights on it, only removing the decorations and we carry it up from the basement every year! That’s the only way I can manage all the time spent.

  75. What poor quality! Obviously they had to reduce costs by closing down the QC department?! This kinda killed the Christmas spirit, but just for a bit, right?

  76. Cyndi Raines says

    Awwhh, Susan I am so sorry that your tree is so ugly and now you have the hassle of sending it back and the deduction of $25.00 that is just wrong! I did have to chuckle at Myrna’s comment that it should look better, put itself together and sing. Hopefully, you will find a much better tree that is better in price and with all of your talent, I know it will be gorgeous. Your tenacity will win out, I’m sure! By the way, our Walmart has the Better Homes and Gardens Heritage Collection (Christmas) dishes again and I purchased the last 5 of the fawn salad plates they had to use with my Nikko Christmas plates, so now I’m set. Hang in their girlfriend, you will persevere!

  77. That’s unfortunate. Check Hobby Lobby or maybe BJ’s or Sam’s. Sorry for the hassle. It’s not much fun. For that much $$, you never know if the lights will work each year, so it’s very frustrating.

  78. Lisa Berger says

    Balsam Hill has benn on my decorating “Bucket List” for years. I always intended to get their tree, but wow. What a disappointment. Thank you for saving me a lot of heartburn

  79. Wow!! That is really surprising!! I am a Christmas tree person and totally understand your disappointment and frustration. I am in the middle of creating a special Christmas tree for my master bedroom. Honestly, go to the different stores in your area and check them out in person. I’m sure you will find something lovely that will last a long time with the type of care you give your belongings. Merry Christmas!!

  80. Thanks for the heads up. I recently looked at their trees online because we’re in the market to replace our old tree. Was seriously considering splurging because my last tree got me through almost 20 Christmas seasons.

  81. I bought a Balsam Hill $700 tree about three years ago. It was to replace a tree that I bought at Sam’s Club 2 years before. That SC tree light main connector up the center pole, which was plastic, fell apart in my hands.

    I payed extra shipping to Balsam Hill to make sure I got the tree before Christmas. After a week it hadn’t shipped and after repeated phone calls to customer service, I was told that once ready to ship it would be the 2 day shipping. What! Their policy is you cannot cancel an order! It wasn’t shipped and I could do nothing but wait for them to decide to ship. I was furious. The fine print on ordering from them makes sure they win. The tree once put together is impossible to get back in the box and it is HUGE! I’d bet most people do not return it.

    That being said, we do like our tree. Plenty of lights. It takes me a week to get it ready for ornaments. It is a challenge to get the branches just right to close the gaps. The branches move right and left a bit not just up and down. I like a few gaps for some of my large hanging ornaments from Christopher Radko.

    I felt I was in a no win situation with Balsam Hill customer service and will never buy anything from them again. Love the tree though getting it almost ruined that Christmas.

  82. Deena Salvatore says

    Hi Susan! I feel your disappointment girlfriend! That is an outrageous price for a tree of that quality. I’ve looked at these trees as well as Grandinroad over the years and just couldn’t bring myself to pay those prices. Several years ago I happened across a beautiful 10′ (our family room has a 15′ ceiling) prelit tree in Costco for about $300. It doesn’t have the option of colored lights, just clear, but it is a beautiful tree and very realistic. My husband takes care of the fluffing (believe me if he’s doing it, it’s easy ) and I do all the decorating myself now that the kids have trees of their own. Yes we’ve had the occasional light go out, but with the tool my husband got at HomeDepot, it was easy to locate and fix the problem. I have gotten so many compliments over the years on my tree. I wish I could send you a picture. Several of my friends bought the same tree after seeing mine. I don’t think it has a name, but do check out Costco. They may still carry it. Good luck and happy hunting! Deena

  83. Menards carries a tree very similar of this tree but has lights all over or you can get it without lights. I personally don’t have one but my son does and it is beautiful. I did go to Menards and saw them, they are lovely.

  84. Maybe you should post to their Facebook page if it doesn’t get added to the web site. We have one I got at Sears a couple of decades ago for $99 and even though we have to install every limb and use our own lights it still works for us. We have it down to a science now when putting it up and it is very sturdy so that it holds all of my special ornaments.

  85. I just purchased a slim 7 1/2 ft Norway Spruce at Lowe’s yesterday. I wanted something that would fit in a corner of my dining room without protruding too far in the space. It was $99. but it must have been sale because it came down to $85. Their selection is pretty nice.

  86. Deena Salvatore says

    Susan I just wanted to add one brief comment. You are a national treasure. You have helped me so much over the years with everything from paint colors, bird feeders, front porch decor, packing for a trip and now a Christmas tree. I’m a total “Talbotphile”, as you are. I tell people I would be naked if it weren’t for Talbots. I currently work for Country Curtains which is going out of business. We’ll be closing our doors company-wide in the next few weeks. I don’t know if you knew that. It’s the end of an era. The manager at my Talbots shoved an application in my hand when she heard the news. Who knows what 2018 will hold for me? Anyway, I have talked about you to my sister for years and now she subscribes to your blog and we discuss it over our tea in our morning telephone conversations. Thank you for everything you do and for being such an authentic person (many are not) and someone we can truly relate to. We do adore you. Deena

    • Awww, thanks for that Deena! You are a sweetheart and much appreciated! I heard that about Country Curtains and am so sad that is happening. There’s going to be a huge void when they close. Where are we going to get our buffalo plaid curtains?! I’m sorry that the closing is effecting you. Sounds like Talbots might be a great choice…think of the awesome discount you’ll get! 🙂 Thanks again, Deena for your kinds words…appreciate you being here and reading because I wouldn’t be here writing posts if it weren’t for you, your sister and the others who stop by for a visit each day.
      Hope to hear the Talbots position works out and that you love it! Someone will be blessed to have you working with them!

  87. How disappointing! That tree is terrible! I see the Balsam Hill commercials on TV all of the time and the “real” limbs on TV look nothing like the limbs on your tree. Yours look like cheap green plastic and to mix the two different style of limbs is horrible. False advertising for sure! I know you will find a much better tree!

  88. We bought ours 2 years ago at Big Lots. Home Depot had some beautiful ones too never paid over $200.
    Love your site!

  89. Selma C. Kessler says

    Putting up a Christmas Tree should be fun, not disappointing. You’ve done a great job noting the issues, I’m sure you’ll be able to get it sent back without getting stuck with shipping charges. Have you visited some of your local nursery’s and landscaping companies? I bought our current tree from one of our locally owned landscape companies when they had their tree sale. They had the actual trees they were selling set up so people could see them. I found a lovely 9′ tree, with “realistic” branches, it looks great and I only paid $200 for it because it has a branch of lights that don’t work. I just move those to the back, add a strand of lights and honestly, not one person notices! Don’t let this ruin your day, Susan. It’s nothing you can’t handle. It’s just an artificial tree. 🙂

  90. Peggy Bostic says

    OH NO! I am so sorry for your bad experience. (I have had a few) This is one ugly tree, I agree, go to Lowe’s. I have a small one I use in my dining room that was purchased at Lowe’s many years ago and still looks great! Also, QVC has some great trees and I have never been disappointed with any of my purchases.

  91. 2 years ago we bought a Holiday Living brand from Loews. It’s 9 feet tall with white lights. It’s easy to stack the 4 pieces, although you do need to connect the 4 light strands. We have enjoyed the ease of putting it up and down…. and they are inexpensive. You may be more particular than me though but worth a look if you go to Loews.

  92. This is reason #1 you are the best blog out there! SO many many have sold out and take sponsored stuff from places like Balsam Hill. I know for a fact that Balsam Hill was handng out free trees like they we’re candy in the last few years for the always favorable reviews that the blogger must then write……yes, I know these blogs have a right to monetize their “ work” but n my mind they end up just selling their souls for the free stuff…….anyways thank you very much for the integrity you have consistently demonstrated. I will save my money and keep looking too!

  93. Jill from Southern NH says

    Sorry to hear that, Susan. I hope you have good luck at Lowes, etc. We got a 9 foot tree for our family room a couple years ago at home Home Depot – definitely a high-end tree but we scooped it up on holiday clearance for the next year. It has both colored and white lights that can be used together or separately. I prefer white lights, which is good, as the colored lights on our tree are pink, lime green, turquoise and yellow – kind of circus-like with no primary red, kelly green or true blue in there, which I didn’t know til after we put it up. Something to keep in mind when you’re looking for your perfect tree!

  94. Ever since experiencing bugs in my live tree two years ago, I have been on a mission to find a beautiful faux tree. I have come to the conclusion that no matter the brand, none will ever meet my expectations and so have settled on modifying 3 -$350 Costco trees to meet my aesthetics. To do this, I went to a florist supply warehouse and purchase top quality branches which I wired in to fill in empty spots and to add depth and realism. I also wired in additional lights. All of this was done so that the tree still can be taken apart and stored easily. This year I am considering adding some flocking. My husband thinks I am crazy. But I am far happier with my pimped out trees than any I have seen in the catalogues or in stores. You would think for $700 you could have achieved your vision! Retailers take note!

  95. Oh dear, what a mess! I bought a Balsam Hill tree 2 yrs ago and wish I had returned mine. I don’t have the problem with sparse lighting but I bought the one with LED lights so maybe that’s why. I too noticed and didn’t like how it’s just the outer tips that have the “realistic” branches. The thing I dislike the most is how long it takes to fluff! It’s a real workout and exhausting!! It really takes the fun out of decorating the tree imo. Last year after taking it down and attempting to fit (cram lol) in the 2 tree bags it came with I told my husband next year we’re buying a real one. Now that it’s that time of year again, I have to decide if I’m sticking with that decision. I honestly think real is easier even though I hate the part about having to crawl under the tree to water it every day. I’m so frugal that I also hate spending $100 or so for a tree that gets thrown out. Not to mention the small fortune I spent for the Balsam Hill tree. Uggh…stressed and it isn’t even Christmas yet!! lol I will say, I understand why people go to much smaller trees as they get older. Best of luck on finding your perfect tree. I can’t wait to see what you get!

  96. C. Flanigan says

    Wow! That is not a very good tree! But $700.00….yikes! Every early December we go to a local tree farm and walk and walk until we find the perfect tree and cut it down. They went up to $45.00 last year. I don’t think I will ever complain about that again.

  97. We bought a Fraser Fir from balsam Hill 3 years ago. It went back immediately. The top section was bent at a 90 degree angle. Took a picture of it and sent it to Balsam Hill.

  98. Susan this is terrible news, I thought their trees were beautiful on tv. Such a shame, I will never consider this brand now. I noticed they have some pretty trees at the home store. I don’t know anything about this store but looks pretty online. I actually still have my Mt. King flocked tree that I bought from Rich’s back in the 80’s and it’s still beautiful. I have also over the years purchased much smaller trees that I use on my sofa table and I really love. This year I bought a tree on a dress form from Tuesday Morning for $99, that I am anxious to put up, I am adding a few more details to it but it’s really pretty and so different, my hubby just shook his head at the store when I bought it, lol. I wish you the best of luck to find a gorgeous tree this year.

  99. Aw Susan…..what a mess!! So sorry for the disappointment and frustration…..been there myself……

    20 years ago I purchased a 6′ tree from Walmart, not prelit, which was fine with me. Every year I changed the lighting to suit my fancy!! It was 3 sections to put together and a beautiful dark green, pain in the patootie but was the most beautiful realistic tree I’ve ever seen!! Cost me $60 and I loved it. As I got older I had to get something smaller and passed it on to a relative and every year I get to see it and it is still gorgeous!!

    On to the present……..Hobby Lobby has the best so far, and so does Lowe’s. I got a 4′ variegated branches tree from HL and I put it on a table and it is lovely. The pre lit part burned out a few years ago and I cut out the lights and use strings now. I also have always added holly branches inbetween the evergreen ones to add some texture. I love this tree and it is easy for me to care for.

    Good luck to you and thank you for all the research you do for us!!! xoxoxo

  100. I’m sorry about you getting the bad tree but I have to be honest & got a little giggle out of the last picture. I was thinking it looks like something from Dr. Seuss! You could shape it all like the swirly part on top & put Grinch ornaments on it! Just kidding, I know it’s a pain to have to undo it all & start over. We got a realistic type tree several years ago & I have never liked it. It had a lot of the same issues. It’s full on the edges, bare spots, no lights in spots, & it takes too long to fluff up. It’s hard to hang ornaments around the full parts & I have had ornaments get knocked off the tree & shattered because the branches under them push up on the ornaments because it’s too crowded. I use mostly vintage mercury ornaments so that’s a problem. The last couple of years I’ve been putting up my vintage silver tree with the color wheel. It’s so much easier!

  101. Last year a friend of ours posted a 1 star review on the BH website and it never did appear. Hmmm, is that how they keep their ratings so high? So, I bought the GE 7.5 ft. Just Cut Norway Spruce EZ Light Artificial Christmas Tree from Home Depot. Half the price of the Balsam Hill and I’m very pleased with it. If you check out the reviews you can see some closeup photos of the branches, similar to the BH tree, but the ‘nicer needles’ go further back before changing to the cheap looking needles and the lights on our tree are more evenly spaced. Good luck getting teh BH tree back in the box.

    • Debra Ruffing says

      Our GE has all the realistic needles and a remote and changing light colors. From Lowes…maybe $300…and sales coming up. You can go see it in the store ir have it shipped. Love GE and Maetha trees…and Sterling.

    • Cindy Carroll says

      Just a warning: I got scammed by the Balsam Hill company. I bought a tree on sale for $1800.00 and less than a year later, most of the lights went out. They gave me a very hard time about replacing it and even suggested that I go to Home Depot and buy more lights to put on there. Finally I got them to replace it but they wanted the original tree back. My poor husband and I had to wrestle a 9 ft tree into 2 refrigerator boxes and return. They then sent me a replacement tree that was $300.00 cheaper because mine was out of stock. The new tree lights lasted 1 year again! That time when I called they said “we don’t warranty replacements.” So in other words, they replaced my defective tree, with another defective tree. Their customer service is horrible.
      I would never buy anything from them again. We thought we were investing in a tree to last for many years. Not the case. This year we are going to cut all of the lights off and restring. We have to try to get our moneys worth. For 2 older people, this is very difficult work. Very sad that they do not stand behind their products.#balsamhill. They did not ever post my reviews either!

  102. Wow Susan,
    a $700 disappointment hurts! Do those people don’t know you are a popular blogger whose middel name “Honesty” is?! Well, maybe now they know! Actually they should send you a new tree for free, but one that looks exactly like that one in their online pic! Just sayin’…
    Keep smiling, Susan, it’s their loss!
    Sending hugs to cheer you up! 🙂

  103. Hey Susan, $700.00+ for a Christmas tree!!!! Holy smokes can I come and spend Christmas with you? I haven’t taken time to read all the responses to your plea for help with the Christmas tree issue so if someone has already suggested this forgive me.
    I watch every post this couple does on Youtube because I’m an compulsive obsessive gardener and its mandatory that I watch. I remember this post she did from last year and I’m hoping Home Depot still carries this tree and you can use something like this. You will see that you and Laura are cut from the same cloth as she is a perfectionist also. Don’t miss where she says she usually puts between 1500 and 2000 lights on her Christmas trees! Shut the front door…that’s alotta lights. I was able to stop the video and read that the tree she bought cost $329.00.
    I looked at Home Depot’s web site and they have a LARGE selection of trees so maybe you can find something you like. There is almost nothing as disappointing than receiving a mail order you have been excited to get and finding it is no where near what you anticipated. Holy smokes…$700.00+ worth of sadness. I feel your pain.

    • Wow, I loved it all. but especially the drone views at the end showing the whole swagged fence from above. Good timing with the snow storm too!

  104. Oh, what a disappointing experience and huge waste of time! I’m shocked at how expensive some of these artificial trees have become. I haven’t pulled our tree out of the box yet, but hope it is good for another year. We have a smaller tree because of limited space. It wasn’t a huge expensive, and I’ve been happy with it.
    I hope you are successful getting the tree back into the box. That is a pain each year. The fact that the rating doesn’t show immediately is not a good sign. I wouldn’t think they have control over the ratings. Doesn’t seem legit!
    Good luck with the search.

  105. So sorry on tree.
    Yesterday QVC had a one day special on trees, with remote and oodles of functions.
    Iam kicking myself for not jumping on that one.
    I was at Lowes yesterday and they did have pretty trees as well as Hobby Lobby.

  106. Judy Hubbard says

    Go to QVC. I got a gorgeous tree from them, well shaped and well lighted!

  107. I was going to suggest Lowes also. I saw several beautiful trees there and no $700 price tags!

  108. Cyndi Raines says

    P.S. Susan, here’s a bit of good news that should cheer you. I just used my “candle shaver” that you told us about and it did a fine job on my candles that are going in my turkey candlestick holders. Thanks for always sharing such good buys and useful tools. Hugs.

  109. Debra Ruffing says

    Get a GE tree from Lowes. It has the realistic needles. We love ours!

  110. Sharon Pace says

    Lowes has some awesome trees in the $300-$400 range. I have seriously given thought to ordering a Balsam
    Hill tree…thanks for saving me the trouble! Happy tree shopping!

  111. Watch some Christmas decorating Video’s on how to decorate a tree. Some things will be covered by ornaments but you can take an inexpensive tree and make it spectacular. The video below is the OVC lady and she adds stuff to the end or the branches, especially her bedroom.

    Lisa’s Home Decorated for Christmas (Full Length)

  112. Hobby Lobby has some beautiful Christmas trees!

    • I agree and we just purchased a second one from Hobby Lobby last week….7.5 ft 400 LED lights Fast Shape Slim Snow Needle Pine.

      It was offered in taller sizes however our local store did not stock it this year only in my size and smaller but if interested it may be available at other stores or online.

  113. Sheryl Pyle says

    We purchased one from Costco a couple of years ago and are happy with it.
    Not nearly as expensive as this one.

  114. For $700 a tree sould do all your shopping and wrap the presents as well. I will wager that the folks at Balsam Hill will be contacting you soon and at least offer to waive the $25 deduction and arrange to pick up the tree.

  115. It was pretty smart of you to set it up so quickly or you would be in a panic closer to Christmas. I would have expected better considereing the price but it sounds like their customer service isn’t the best either! Good luck with the next tree you get!

  116. Thank you for your honest post. I am so sorry to hear about your first time experience with Balsam Hill. I have to admit it made me slightly nervous as my second purchase from them arrived yesterday. I hurriedly opened the box, did the required assembly and fluffing, and am pleased with the tree. I needed a slim tree for the space,and this size will take a little getting used to. However, the garland I ordered is definitely going back. I have another garland coming and frankly am getting nervous;(
    I agree with the above post from Becky. Watching videos is invaluable for making a less expensive tree look like a million bucks. Also, the Martha Stewart trees at Home Depot are quite nice.
    Good luck!

  117. Peggy Nodine says

    Susan, sorry for your bad experience with your tree. I have heard others say they too were disappointed with the Balsam Hill trees. I think QVC has some of the prettiest trees I have ever seen. They have several companies who sell on there, and a variety of trees, heights, number of lights, functions, etc. I also liked Lowe’s, but the ones on QVC seemed to be prettier. I don’t think you would be disappointed in them. Good luck, hope you find a beautiful one real soon and have a wonderful Christmas and fun decorating your new tree. Peggy

  118. I have bought two trees from QVC since 2000 and have been very happy with them. They have a huge selection and in many different heights and light color combinations. Their prices are also always fantastic.

  119. I’m so glad to see your review! I guess I’ll stick to Lowe’s or Home Depot! What a disappointment that expensive tree was. I don’t understand the two types of needles. You would expect it to be all realistic!

  120. Linda Louise S. says

    I don’t have one but I have always liked the Bethlehem Lights trees that I see on QVC. You should check them out. Don’t know if QVC has any left but you could go to BL website. I have had many of their wreaths and I love them. I have also bought them for presents. Good luck.


  121. Linda Lennard says

    That is really sad. Thank you! I really was contemplating a purchase. Back to Lowes to look again. They did have pretty trees.

  122. Check out Tree Classics online. Their sale is still going on,and I got a supposedly $700 Quick Set Feel Real tree for $219 yesterday. hope it’s as pretty in person.

  123. Deborah McDonough says

    That is such a disappointment! It certainly does not resemble the picture of the tree on their website, does it?? Please take a look at the trees on QVC’s website. They have some beautiful ones and they totally stand behind their merchandise. If it doesn’t work, they will pick it up. Also, Frontgate has gorgeous trees. Good luck and happy holidays!

  124. You just saved me a ton of money! I was about to order a Balsam Hill tree this weekend. Now I think I’ll head to Roswell and check out the Frontgate and Grandinroad outlets to look at what they have in stock! You’re right – better to see a tree in person first. Sorry that you have to go through all this but you are helping a lot of people avoid a distressing Christmas!

  125. Susan thanks for saving me time and effort bscause I was literally getting ready to order one after not being able to find one in town that I liked. Very disappointing.

  126. Susan,
    Two years ago decide to buy our first non cut tree…..a “fake”. Shopped all the places such as Michael’s, JoAnn Fabrics, Macy’s, Home Depot, & Lowes Looked at the on line trees and read the reviews. Most of the reviews seem to have comments like you are having with your purchase. Was this a heads up, I think it was.
    One day saw an ad for Lowes with Christmas trees on sale. Went again and looked carefully and choose one but it was on a high rise display and couldn’t judge how high the tree would be in our home. I know it said 7″5″ but decided to asked Customer Service if they had a “Santa Helper”who could help me. I was treated like royalty. The Santa Helper took down two trees from the display and placed them on the floor for me inspected. I was able to decide on a tree, the original price the week before was over $500. The sale price was $325.00. SOLD!!!!!!!! Brought the tree home, set it up, did the fluffing and placed over 500 ornaments on it; it looked just like a our usual cut tree. No negatives from the family who are purists when it come to Christmas Trees. I would check out Lowes…Good Luck with your search!!!!!

  127. Ann Seigman says

    Susan, what a disappointment! You are right, it is not the beautiful tree that was promised. Good luck on your hunt. I know that you will find the perfect tree.

  128. Sandy Park says

    OH WOW SUSAN, how disappointing. I can’t believe your tree. It’s totally NOT acceptable. Can’t believe they charge that amount of money for such poor quality. I’d be shipping it back too. And to add insult to injury, you have to pay for shipping to return it. Bad! Bad! Bad! Hope you find a beautiful tree.

  129. Wow, what a horrible experience!! I have to say I have wanted a Balsam Hill tree and despite their working with every blogger but me, I still wanted one. Thankfully, because they are so expensive, I ended up getting something different at Grandin Road and love it. I have been looking when I’m out around here, and I’m not kidding that Walmart (instore)has beautiful, realistic trees that are *much* better than what you ended up with. Lowes also had super realistic ones at reasonable prices. What a pain:-(

  130. Linda Sonia says

    What a disappointment. Truly the tree you received looks nothing like the photo from their site.

    Too bad you can’t post this whole blog on Facebook for the world to see. I’m sure that would generate some action on Balsam Hill’s part.

    In fact, I think you should post your dissatisfaction of their product on their FB page – no private messages – a public post. They won’t like that negative attention and it may spur someone to address your issue and if nothing else, not charge you that $25 return fee.

    Best of luck.

  131. Thank you so much for your post. We all depend on you to share the good and bad. Lately we have has problems with several national businesses in our area and had to go up the chain to corporate offices to even be heard.
    Thanks for your efforts.

  132. I️ feel your disappointment! The tree is not at all pleasing to the eye.
    Years ago I️ brought a tree from Tree Classic which turned out pretty good.
    My next and best tree was purchased from QVC. It is a beautiful 9 footer.

  133. Wow! What a story. And how disappointing. After reading all the comments, I may as well throw my 2 cents in! Many years ago, we purchased a beautiful/realistic looking artificial tree at a local grocery chain called Wegmans. I don’t think we paid much over $100 for it. It really caught my eye with all the lights. It was 7.5′ with 1,500 lights and little clusters of pine cones/berries scattered around the tips here & there. It served us well for many years, until section by section, the lights all died. I would have kept the tree & put new lights on it, but the way it was constructed with the lights wrapped around almost every branch, I would have spent the whole year just trying to remove the old ones. I had the company name & tried locating a retailer selling this brand but came up empty. We looked for a new tree and couldn’t find anything out there with 1,500 lights on. 7.5′ tree at a reasonable price. I was disgusted. Was in Walmart one day, happened to walk by their Christmas tree display & saw a decent looking slim 7.5′ tree with a good amount of lights on it for $99. Sold. That tree from Wegmans will haunt me forever! The tree we have is “good enough” for now. But when shopping for a new tree, check the amount of tips then check the amount of lights. In most cases, that ratio is way off. So good luck, Susan!

  134. I laughed out loud at this one. That is one butt ugly tree, and the price is even uglier. Thanks for the warning. My half price tree from Lowe’s looks one heck of a lot better than this one and people always think it’s real. Sorry for the trouble this has caused you.

  135. I am so sorry! That tree really is ugly! For $700.00 I would want it to be PERFECT!!! I ordered a new tree a few weeks ago and haven’t opened the box yet. I hope it looks good. I didn’t get it from BH, as that is too pricey for me:) Hopefully the one I got will be nice….. Thanks so much for sharing your experience and all the comments are a big help too!

  136. I’m so sorry this was such an ugly tree. I keep looking at Balsam Hill thought it would be easier for my husband to put up. Couldn’t justify the cost, bought one at Home Depot. Haven’t put it up yet but looked pretty in the store, hope it compares to our old HD tree it was beautiful. Good luck to you…

  137. Oh, Susan, I’m so sorry to hear your story! I had just showed my Hubby your post about your pending tree and we had decided to replace our 12 year old tree with one from BH! We got distracted and didn’t make a final decision and we will NOT be completing our purchase. Thank you for your willingness to share your experience. You saved us much disappointment and hassle!! Good luck with the packing and return. I certainly wish BH knew the influence your blog has and would show you the respect and good service that you deserve.

  138. Susan, I think you hit a record number of posts today. Yes, BH, what do you have to say for yourself ?
    This is how I ended up with a $15 tree from Big Lots. LOL One day I got so fed up with putting my old tree together and stringing lights, I went in Big Lots and found a 2 part tree with lights on sale. Brought it home, put the two pieces together, plugged it in and lived happy ever after.

  139. Oh my goodness! What a BIG disappointment. It is a good thing for the rest of us that you shared an honest review of this tree. I have had my tree since 1998 and it looks better than this one….I hope you can find another one this weekend. As for me, my nine foot older tree will be up again this year.

  140. You might want to look at trees that have “cluster lights”. This is new in the industry and absolutely gorgeous. I was able to see prelit trees with these before we moved and they were exquisite.

  141. I discovered there is a fine line you have to look for when how the tree is made. Many newer version trees, manufacturers are putting half fir like leaves and the rest plastic. I found a tree I liked at Home Depot and made sure it was all the fir like looking needle branches and had it shipped last year to me. It was beautiful when put up. It was my first tree with fixed lights, so it is much heavier, but I still love it and I only paid about $250 for it. Good luck with your pursuit and look carefully at photos online as I had to do last year to make sure of how it is made. Carol

  142. Hah! Had to share this with hubby as we love watching Hallmark, but get so sick of their Balsam Hill commercials this time of year. That truly is hideous! The realistic tips on the ends make the rest of the tree look even worse. So sorry you have to go to the work of boxing the thing back up!

  143. Thank you for this post. I’ve been looking for a new tree for a couple of years, but since I’m so picky and tend to read ALL the reviews, I haven’t bought one yet. Today, I am crossing Balsam Hill off my list.

  144. I have been oohing and aahing over Balsam Hill trees for a few years now but the price was prohibitive, especially with not being able to actually see it. I sure hate it that you found out the hard way but happy to know I can quit dreaming about buying one. Good luck with your tree hunting. Lowe’s and Hobby Lobby have both had good trees for us in the past.

  145. I have been shopping for artificial 4’ table top trees on line for years. I am picky plus I want it to come with loads of lights and have beautiful needles and be full. Recently the trees have these funny green rubbery looking needles. U G L Y. So glad you posted the disaster with GH. I bought a 4.5 one from them last year and it is very nice. However it is too fat and a bit to tall on top of the table so I continue to look for a 4’ one. Now that I have been diagnosed with asthma, I’m thinking an artificial 7’ tree might be a good thing to use instead of a live tree. Hurry up and find a good one and post. We all rely on your efforts.

  146. Oops. Not GH. Should have said BH.

  147. Such a bummer and let down on your tree purchase. I’ve gotten really nice trees from Costco and Black Friday specials from Home Depot on the Martha Stewart trees. One year I got a Martha Stewart tree for $79.00 and must say it is the nicest one technology in the pole multi lights & white and different functions. Good luck in your hunt.

  148. So sorry to hear that the Balsam Hill tree was a disappointment for you 🙁

    Susan you’re such a valuable resource for information and I really appreciate it.
    Hubby and I have been considering a new tree for our living room this year and I keep telling him that I’d like to wait and see which tree “Susan” settles on.
    I especially love your attention to detail and how you post pics of everything.
    Thank you again for all your research and sharing. 🙂

  149. So sorry you had trouble with that tree. I always thought Balsam Hill was top of the line but out of my price range. I’ve had two trees from QVC and they are beautiful. Would be worth your time to check them out.

  150. I love/hate my 26 year old tree that is going to the curb this year!! It sheds as much as a real tree, and you have to put every branch in individually. I’ve been looking for a replacement for years. Saw a nice one at Home Depot a few days ago, but I have a 10% off coupon for Lowes, so that’s where I’m headed tomorrow. I love LOTS of lights, both colored and clear so I may have to just add more myself. I want at least 1000 lights on a 7.5′ tall tree. Hoping this is the year it happens. I dont want to spend 3 days anymore JUST assembling and decorating the tree! ps Thank You for doing the legwork for us…..I was really considering a Balsam Hill.

  151. PS I have a 3′ tall green tree with fiber optic “lights”. It’s beautiful….I sure wish there was an 8′ tall version of those!

  152. Thanks for having the courage to post your honest thoughts about this tree! I truly admire you and applaud you! More people should know, and perhaps the company will make a change! We can only hope! Yes, I agree, I would be returning it as well too…$700 is outrageous when there are gorgeous artificial ones available most everywhere really for lots less money…I cannot believe the difference in the “realistic” branches and the others! You will find another one certainly more beautiful and less costly I’m sure….

  153. Susan B. Jones says

    I’m so sorry this has happened to you! I have to agree with Cherie Bennett’s comment since you are in the Atlanta area to make the trip to M.C. Twinklin’s in the Lilburn/Stone Mtn area. Their trees are beautiful; pricey but beautiful. We bought one after Christmas in 2015 for half price and used it for the first time last year and loved it. When putting it back up after Christmas we couldn’t get it back in the box, so I hope you were able to get this one packed back up. Keep us posted on what you end up getting.

  154. Tess Halliday says

    What a pain…all that trouble and so much money! I was looking at Balsam Hill but glad I didn’t! We got a wonderful one on QVC. I wanted a 5ft that you could change the from white to colors. We have had it for 3 years and LOVE it! The 5ft one was less than $300. Good luck finding a tree. Hope you find the perfect one for you!

  155. Yikes! I know they give out free trees to so many bloggers so that might be one reason you are seeing rave reviews.

  156. 15 years ago my friend ordered a tree off one of the shopping networks. It had both clear and multicolored lights and came with an outlet and remote that let you have just the clear lights or just the multicolored lights or both sets on. We believe it is a Balsam Hill because the outletand remote are the same one that BH has. I had been on the lookout for an outlet and remote like hers so that I could add multi colored lights to my prelit tree with clear lights. I finally found one online at Staples. After 15 years most of the strand of light were not working. We both needed new trees. Michaels was having a 50% off tree sale. We each got a 7 1/2 foot $400 tree with clear lights for $200. The next day we went to walmart and bought multicolored lights. We went to her house and set up her tree. Took about 15 minutes to fluff the tree and then we added the multicolored lights. It looked just as good as her previous tree. I can’t wait to set mine up!!! So if you find a tree you love and it only comes with clear or multicolored lights you can always buy the outlet and remote and add the other lights.

  157. Thanks Susan! You saved me the same disappointing experience you’ve just gone through. I had hoped to find a tree on sale after Christmas last year, but no luck. After researching, this tree you purchased was so beautiful it has been in my dreams all year.

    What a disappointment in the actual tree you received! It is a pathetic excuse for a tree and the price is crazy. IMO the picture BH shows has had extra limbs/branches inserted into most of the tree to fill it out.

    Thanks again for an honest report on a purchase that fails to meet the advertised qualities.

  158. I waited forever to purchase a lighted tree. I did my research at every local retail store and decided on a $400.00 tree at Home Depot and got it for $89.00 after Christmas. I checked the store everyday after Christmas until it was under the 50% off price. I really think you need to see them in person to see the flow of the branches and the lights.

  159. This was a timely post for me! I have to buy a new tree this year and had just received a BH catalogue, so was considering their tree. I don’t think so now. Really appreciate you writing this post as it has saved me a lot of aggravation I am sure. Thank you.
    So sorry that you have had such a bad experience, but you have certainly helped a lot of your readers making tree decisions this year!

  160. Pamela Graham says

    That is such a huge disappointment for that kind of money. I, too needed a new tree this year and in past years I have loved the Martha Stewart sparkling pine, slightly flocked and every year I miss out on it as it is the first tree to go at $299. So about two weeks ago, on a Monday morning, hubby and I go to Home Depot and there she was standing in the middle of all the trees and not tree to be found. After a search, I found them out in the cart area in the front of the store…one box left. The clerk looked it up and sure enough everyone had been sold but the display and this one box. I grabbed it, have it set up and love it. It is LED lights, full and tall (skinny tree but not so skinny), flocking and glitter does come off but Christmas is all about that stuff…so I am happy and ready to decorate. The lights are beautiful. Hope you find one soon! Happy Thanksgiving!

  161. Donna Henson says

    Thank you for the honest review. I have also considered a BH tree, but very concerned about ordering online (sight unseen) and then the hassle of returning, if necessary. It is a shame to spend that much on a tree and the only “realistic part” are the outer parts of a branch. Lowes, Home Depot and Walmart all have beautiful options for a lot less.

  162. Thank you for posting your experience with your BH tree. I started looking for a new tree this year and after reading that you were purchasing one from them, I started checking out their trees and have been considering one. I guess it’s back to the drawing board. Very good luck with your search. Please post if you find one.

  163. Eileen Keatts says

    Hi Susan,

    So sorry to hear about your tree from BH! It sounds like you definitely got a real dud! I just wanted to let you know that I purchased a BH Brewer Spruce in 2015 and it is the most beautiful, real-looking, artificial tree I’ve ever seen and everyone who sees it thinks it’s real. It’s their 7-1/2 ft. “most realistic” tree and the lights on mine are evenly spaced throughout the tree. I just wish you could see some pictures of mine. I don’t blame you for being turned off by the BH trees … I would be, too, if mine was like the one you received. I just wanted to let you know that, in my opinion, they do have some beautiful trees. Best of luck in finding your perfect tree!

  164. Janet Kennedy says

    Thank you so much for this great info supported by photos.

    I really like and appreciate your blog. Always such good, detailed information.

    Thank you for a several of your other posts…

    BIG thank you for the blog you did a number of years of ago detailing your screened porch and deck project. I used it almost exclusively last summer for our new screened porch and deck! Loved your ideas and all the details were so much help. We love our porch & deck! And so does everyone who sees it. We used a contractor that only does porches and decks, and they were impressed with how well thought out and designed I had it. They said it was the best one they had done and they had been doing them for 15 years!

    My second thank you is for your post today about Sundance. I too love that catalog. Almost all of my favorite jewelry is from them! I wear two of their rings everyday (one as my wedding ring!) and always get compliments on them! Even from jewelry sales people! Love that they are artsy and unique. Also that they are so well made. They also have great customer service. One ring was too big so they quickly and easily replaced it.

    i also love their clothes and accessories like purses and hats. Now, thanks to you, I can order some of the things I’ve been wanting! Had no idea they ever offered a discount or free shipping! So thank you for sharing that information!!

    And thank you for this post today about your Christmas tree. The thing about it that I appreciate most is the information you shared about your poor rating not appearing on their website! And that there aren’t new ratings. I think this is a big issue that needs far more exposure!

    I had a huge SAFTY problem with expensive shelves from Pottery Barn!! They were HORRIBLE to deal with! Every single thing about my order with them was horrible. I went to a Christmas party one of the nights I had gotten off the phone with trying to deal with them. Was so upset when got to the party that people asked me what was wrong. I told them had just gotten off the phone with Pottery Barn about a problem. Immediately other women were “Pottery Barn! They are awful!” And started sharing their own disastrous experiences with Pottery Barn!

    And guess what? They are one of the few companies that do not have REVIEWS!! I wonder why?! It is absurd to me in this day and age that any company wouldn’t have customer reviews on their products! Makes you think they are worried about too many negative reviews!

    The closest shelves I ordered are thick heavy wood boards with heavy wrought iron brackets. The small fasteners that come with the shelves are far too inadequate to support the weight! We installed one and where about to put a up another one when the first one pulled out and came crashing down! If I was under it it would have crushed my skull! These shelves are extremely dangerous. I tried over and over to tell Pottery Barn about this safety issue but got nowhere! And the shelves are STILL for sale in their catalog! If I could leave a review about them then others would know that if they want these shelves they will need the heavy-duty bolts I found on my own.

    There many other problems with our shelf order- including that the 3-shelf unit is built wrong so the wood shelves don’t fit in the holders! PB was so impossible to deal with that we finally just used an electric saw to cut out 2 notches in every shelf in order to get them to fit!!

    Absolutely unbelievable from a company of this caliber where I had much higher expectations. And considering that our shelf order was around $2,000!!

    We all need to beware of any company or product that doesn’t have reviews and to watch like you did to see if there are recent reviews. I haven’t bought from Pottery Barn again and never will. Nothing is worth what went through dealing with them!

    We should all band together and get it out there about sites that don’t have reviews or have old or bogus reviews.

    Any techies reading this? Maybe you could create a website where we can share information like this.

    Apologies for long post! But has bothered me that have no way to warn people about these dangerous shelves and the horrible customer service at Pottery Barn.

    Thank you again for all the great information!

    Janet Kennedy

  165. Beverly Hillenmeyer says

    Try looking at Christmas trees by Vickerman. They are special and in the same price range. We had one for 10 plus years and it held up exceptionally well.

  166. Linda Gomoll says

    We purchased a tree from Lowes last year (2016) and were quite happy with the overall look. The LED lights can be preset for either white or colors and it was exactly as the display tree in the store. I’d say, go to Lowes and tell them we referred you! Oh and it didn’t cost anywhere near $700!

  167. We just bought a Balsam Hill Silverado Slim. Wanted a little taller tree than 7.5 ft. and slimmer because we have a tight space. It’s hard to find 8 ft. trees and Balsam Hill had this option, which is what we bought. Just put it together to make sure it was ok and it was great. We ordered “Unlit” with no lights as it’s more of a hassle down the road (we’ve had sections go out on past trees and had to string our own anyway). Put it back in the box until after Thanksgiving. We did not fluff the tree, but am sure it will be fine. Not sure it’s worth $399, but couldn’t find anything close in other stores.

  168. Wanda Bradey says

    Susan, I finally opened my purchase from Balsam Hill. I am so sorry you had such an experience. I absolutely love my tree. I used the gloves provided and fluffed it all out and cannot wait to get it decorated. I do hope you enjoy the replacement tree you purchased. This is my favorite time of the year and my house decor is determined by the tree. Have a Merry Christmas.

    • Wanda, which one did you order from BH? Glad it turned out great! Maybe mine was defective because no matter how much I worked on it, I could not spread out the branches enough to fill in the gaps. They were all wired down too tightly.

  169. Wow, what a disappointment! I hate it when I search and research products and they end up not being as advertised or expected. Two years ago I purchased a tree that looks like what you wanted from Hobby Lobby. All the needles are realistic. The lights are interspersed throughout and have a nice glow. The tree was about $800 but with the sales and coupons was on sale for considerably less. I purchased mine at the end of the season and paid 160. It had to be the prettiest, most realistic tree I have seen. Good luck finding another tree. I always enjoy your reviews…the good….the bad …and now the ugly!!

  170. We bought the Williamsburg tree from several years ago. It is the most beautiful tree we have ever had. Several times people had to touch it before they believed it wasn’t real. I am not sure where they have the trees made but they put all the lights on by hand and you can specify how many and what color or colors you want.

  171. Anne Southard says

    So, ten years ago I ordered a Balsam Hill tree, and it was fine. Last year my mother ordered one and had nothing but trouble–it wouldn’t light up and a new one didn’t arrive. I thought that was probably an isolated incident, so this year, I ordered a replacement. Absolute junk. I don’t know why they are now manufacturing and shipping junk, but DO NOT BUY A BALSAM HILL TREE. They are expensive, and they don’t work. This new one won’t light up, and this was the only weekend I have to decorate before being out of town for the next two weekends and then hosting a Christmas party. And that’s if they actually send a replacement. They won’t give me a date of arrival. AGAIN, DO NOT BUY FROM THIS COMPANY.

  172. Dawn mccarney says

    I too received my balsam hill tree yesterday. I got the Vermont white spruce and I also am very disappointed in this tree for 700.00 dollars. And that was the sale price. 3 branches of lights were not working and there are sooo many gaps that I also cannot fill in. Decorated it looks no different then last years tree which was prob a 200 dollar tree from GE. Very disappointed to say the least. Balsam hill is so overrated and way to over priced for the quality of tree you receive. The only thing I liked were the branches all apoear to be stemming from a real tree since they look like they have brown branches. although they are sending me a new bottom piece for the branches that do not light I’m pretty certain I will not be keeping this tree.

  173. Andrea Pritchett says

    I found your review after having almost this exact same experience! Everything you mentioned above plus 2 different sections of lights were already out. One colored and one clear. I’m sending it back because if this is already happening I can only imagine what it will be like in a few years.

  174. Sebastian K says

    Greeting all from Australia. We recently purchased the Monterey Pine from Balsam Hill Australia to replace a $60 tree we had from Aldi. In Australia fresh pine trees are used if you are going to use a real tree. The tree looks beautiful, full and lush on their website. Unfortunately, my tree resembles “Charlie Brown’s” Christmas tree. Even after spending 2.5 hours shaping the tree, the foliage is sparse, flat and not as full looking as the tree on the website and sheds all over the floor . Considering for what we paid for the tree $280, we were expecting a quality product based on the Balsam Hill Name. This tree is absolutely disappointing, looks cheap and is no better than the Aldi tree it replaced. If I could return it I would, I would never recommend Christmas trees from Balsam Hill as based on my experience, the quality of the products sold are of a poor and inferior standard and nothing like what is shown on the website.



    • Sebastian K says

      Hi All.

      Just a quick follow up. I complained to Balsam Hill that the tree was nothing like he listed tree on there website and that I was going lodge a complaint with Consumer Affairs. That have since now agreed to allow me to return the tree and have issued an RMA. I still stuck with the $25 return shipping fee, which I am more than happy to pay to get rid of this tree. Overall a disappointing experience and would never recommend tree from this company. They are pretty dishonest as well as I had posted a negative review based on my experience over a week ago and it has still not appeared on there website. I gave 1 star. Only 4 and 5 star reviews appear on there website here in Australia

  175. I found your page because I was searching -Balsam Hill trees are overrated!!! We just had much of the same experience. We decided to splurge this year and by the 12ft clear lights White Virginia Spruce, supposedly their best, most realistic gem of a tree!!! Well for $1800, I feel hugely ripped off!!! This tree is ugly! The lights are strung in such a mess of a way that some areas are too tight and some have wire hanging off the branches. We have 2 sections with half of the lights working and there is no way to make the other half work. They sent us one new section before the part of the second section stopped working. The branches are ugly and we have big holes and places with no branches or lights. The bottom 2 sections of our tree lay so flat it’s like a real tree that died and lost fluff. You can’t even hang ornaments on the bottom section because they don’t have space to hang, they just sit on the branches stacked beneath. Ugh!!! Sadly we only made it to a half decorated tree before I said STOP!! Every new ornament I tried to hang I found myself feeling more upset and ripped off!! We’re undecorating and returning!!! I will never splurge on such an expensive item without seeing it in person first!!! Sad day for our family, waste of money and no tree!!! Hopefully they will return our money quickly!!!
    Good luck! And I’d love to hear if you found a quality tree.

  176. I actually bought this same tree. Yours looks even better than mine. How do they get away with it?

  177. WoW, I’m so bummed reading this topic about Balsam Hill’s quality problems. 🙁 I have been heavily researching BH trees because they’re advertised as the most realistic trees on the market today. They have 2 stores in New Jersey where I planned to travel to even though it would take over 3 hours. Now I’m so hesitant. Even if their stores have nicest trees, there is no guarantee that their China factory will ship you a no defect tree out of the box. I wish these issues are isolated incidents of manufacturing problems, but it seems like BH doesn’t even cares to accommodate customers or admit some problems.
    Are there other brands that focus on realism and mold tree branches like BH?

  178. I found a beautiful 12’ one off Craigslist last year. Paid $50 for it and I’m pretty sure it’s a Balsam Hill. It has the two types of needles the same as that one but they are inside the tree which I’m assuming is for the bulk of it. Ours came in 5 pieces and we still haven’t figured out how to plug each light strand in. The top only has one strand but the thicker the piece the more strands. Also trying to lift them on each other is work in itself since it’s so heavy, so my husband just strung lights on it until we can figure it out. You do have to fluff the branches and move them around to fill in the missing areas but they do fill in quite nicely. For the price I couldn’t beat it and the quality of this tree we have is amazing. I honestly didn’t notice the two types of needles until you mentioned it. This is now the 2nd year we have used it and it is the most realistic tree I have seen before. It even loses pine needles just like real trees. So far it’s cost us $25 per year and getting cheaper by the year. It probably originally cost a couple thousand so we did good. Wish I knew for sure if it’s a Balsam Hill but from all the videos I have seen it looks just like them. The name doesn’t matter though as long as it looks good which it fits that criteria. Hope you found a good tree but if you haven’t check Facebook and Craigslist. You can find great deals and you will also be able to see the tree prior to purchase. Win win!

  179. I’m right there with you. I ordered three Balsam Hill trees this year. Two are great! No problems at all. The balsam fur tree with both color and white lights has been nothing but trouble. When we first set the tree up only the white lights would work. Contacted customer service and they sent out a new part. Didn’t fix the problem. Contacted them again and they sent out an entirely new bottom section of the tree. It worked. Now, the white lights lag, flash or don’t come on at all. So frustrating. The tree does look real but it took my daughter and I 2 days to “fluff” it. Waiting on yet another replacement part that won’t arrive until who knows when.

  180. I had a similar disappointing experience with Balsam Hill. I ordered a $700 tree with LED lights. In the first year, 62 lights went out. I contacted Balsam Hill to order replacement bulbs but was told they no longer have replacement bulbs in stock for my tree. Shocked, I asked what I could do to find bulbs? Balsam Hill was polite, said we value your business, and then simply said — sorry we do not have any bulbs! I scoured online, Amazon, etc trying to find replacements without success. Unfortunately, labeling on the lights state that they are made in China so I appear to have no options. My advice — there are much less expensive trees on the market that use GE and Sylvania light strands. Looking at many reviews online, I find a standard scripted response from Balsam Hill — “we have passed along your comments to help us improve future customer service experience.” In other word, they are not going to do anything about the problem but have noted your complaint. My experience with customer service was similar. The representative said they would pass lighting problem on to senior management. The response from senior management is SILENCE. A very disappointed customer!

  181. Julia Seaton says

    How can a company still be in business. The reviews are awful and I wish I had researched them before I purchased…Here is my experience:

    BUYER BEWARE! I ordered a tree, glass ornaments and 2 sets of “crystal and pearl beaded garlands”. (3 garlands/set). My order was pushing $800 total and since it was over $699 I received a $50 discount. When they arrived, the garland strands were complete junk. Cheaply made and both sets of 3 wouldn’t decorate a small house plant. I contacted the company to get a return label to send them back. I was informed it would cost me $10 to return them. I wasn’t happy about that as the items were sold at $49 each ($98 for both) and I expected much better quality. Had they been better made, I wouldn’t have sent them back. After my return shipment was processed, I received an email saying my credit card would be credited $38. Of course I called and asked where the rest of my refund was…I was told I would only get $38 because my order received a $50 coupon for being over $699, so I lose the $50 credit. So I paid this company $60 for air. This is the worst customer service I have ever received. This could have been handled so many different ways. Had I known I was going to be OUT $60, I would have exchanged the garlands for more glass ornaments OR maybe they could have given us the current coupon discount and not taken away all $50. Orders over $499 was a $35 discount. I feel completely ripped off and no company should be able to steal cash from you if you are not satisfied with the quality of a product priced as a high end product.

  182. Jacquey Sprinkle says

    I just purchased a balsam hill tree and recieved the same thing you did! However it was a different style in the “most realistic” category. Only realistic needles on the edge of each brand and it was extremely sparse. You could see the “trunk” the whole way up and right through the tree. I’m so disappointed because I also splurged on the Balsam Hill name and ended up returning it. I also paid $25 to return it which is not fair considering the tree looks nothing like the picture! Their customer service was sub par at best. Now after months of deciding whether or not to buy this tree I must now go and find a new one! Do not buy a tree from here! My artificial tree from walmart looks much better than the tree i recieved from balsam hill and was less than half the cost! Buyer beware!

  183. Suzanne Lawson says

    I just bought a beautiful Balsam Hill narrow Fraser Fir this year. I think shaping each section following their technique makes a difference. When done they way they say the inner branches are kind of hidden by the branch tips but add fullness. I bought an unlit tree because I like to add my own lights and not hassle with light issues. Hope you found a tree you love. Not all BH trees are awful but quite beautiful.

  184. Oh No. I just ordered a 9ft Balsam Fir today, looks like your tree. They were out of the Spruce I wanted. My tree before this was lighted from tip to pole.
    Prior to that I had a 9ft hook in tree, that I loved. I could decorate it myself, with lights from tip to pole and back on each branch. When I got done, it looked like the old dept. store trees. I am just sick after reading about your tree, because it is too late to cancel my order and you are right, one has to pay to ship back

    • Holly, hopefully, they are manufacturing them in a different way now. Maybe when you open the box, you can take the smallest top section out and try to fluff a branch or two to see how it goes. I hope they’ve changed and aren’t still putting all the lights on the very tip instead of running them out the branches. I could not spread them out for the life of me. Hopefully, they’ve redesigned them or changed who was manufacturing them.

  185. I really want to thank you for sharing this experience. I was just thinking about ordering one and came across this. Thank you SO much!

  186. I only wish I had read your review prior to our purchase. Their three year light warranty is a joke. In layman’s terms, the warranty goes like this….When your strands stop working (and they certainly will), spend several hours troubleshooting. Watch the Balsam Hill troubleshooting video. Go ahead and skip to the last suggestion on the video. Begin the tedious process of unclipping, unwinding, and cutting away the light strands from your Balsam Hill tree. After several hours of light strand removal, throw the pieces in the trash. Go to Lowe’s and buy new light strands and spend several hours placing them on your Balsam Hill tree. Never again. Their warranty is useless. It’s shameful.

  187. Vicki Van Asten says

    You got what you paid for. $719.00 is nothing for a Christmas tree. That is the bottom end at Balsam Hill. So your review is really not fair. There top tier trees get into the $1,000’s. And it’s sounds like you were expecting a tree in that price range.

  188. I also purchased this tree over $800.00 us with taxes about 3 yrs ago. It does not look like the tree on their website. Alot of the tip pine pieces broke off . It’s got big empty spaces no matter how much I try to fluff it up. It’s very heavy to put up. Especially for a senior like me trying to set it up herself. Unfortunately after I bought it I moved back to Canada and didn’t think I would be able to send it back from here since I bought it when I lived in the states. I try to fill the empty gaps with larger ornaments but for paying such a high price for a tree, I feel you shouldn’t have to do that.

    • I understand Lily. I had the exact same experience…no way to fill in the huge gaps. I think it’s the terrible design of the tree, you can’t spread out the branches due to the spider web way the lights were attached to the ends of the branches.

  189. We just ordered the balsam fir flip tree and received it yesterday. It took hours of shaping but the end result was beautiful. We’re really happy with it. I do agree that due to the lights, it was difficult to fan the branches out. We really had to take our time. We had no gaps in the end though. I’m wondering if they’ve made changes to the lights too. I noticed your review says they were only on the tips. The lights on ours were everywhere and it looked really beautiful lit up. I wish I could post a picture, but there is no option. It sounds like they’ve probably taken feedback into consideration and made improvements over the years. I’m sorry your tree didn’t work out!

    • Thanks! Erika, it should not take hours to shape a tree. That’s horrible that you had to go through that. The one I ended up buying and love can be seen here: It only took me about 30 minutes to fluff it out.
      One reason I do not trust Balsam Hill is that it appears they do not post negative reviews, or at least, not very many. I left a detailed review and when I checked back weeks/months later, it had still not been posted. How can you trust a company that won’t post all its reviews? Do a search for “complaints about Balsam Hill.” I just did that again and you can see some of the reviews here: Hopefully you can store your tree upright in a basement so you don’t have to go through hours of shaping it every year.

      • We were prepared for the hours long tree shaping party, lol. I had read that it took some work, and watched some videos. We knew it would be tightly bound from shipping. NO WAY would I go through that arduous shaping more than once though. I’d lose it! I hear they hold their shape after you do it the first time. Thankfully like you said, we’re able to store it upright too, so I’m hoping that will help. I read all of the mixed reviews, and the bad ones. I was really on the fence but knew we’d be able to return it if we didn’t like it. I looked at the tree you wound up going with. Beautiful!! Im glad you’re happy with it. Tree shopping shouldn’t be this hard! I’m off to clean up pine needles now, from our last real tree.

  190. I had a similar story with my Balsam Hill. I bought it on sale and was so happy pulling it out of the box. My biggest complaint like you is that there are gaps everywhere. It looks good at night heavily decorated because you can see the lights from the other side. During the day without the lights you can see huge gaps. You can actually see all the way through basically the entire tree. It is beautifully shaped and I think mine is very realistic looking, but I could not be more disappointed. I too experienced issues trying to fluff and pull out the branches because they are so tightly woven with lights. Frankly I’ve had very cheap trees that were fuller han this one.This is about the fourth or fifth year I’ve had it and there are a lot of sections of lights out too. I feel like I will just give it away and buy a new tree next year that’ll be probably half the price and it will be full and beautiful. I would never recommend BH to anyone. I would attach a daytime and a nighttime picture but I don’t think I can.

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