Christmas Decorating

Oversized Holiday Decor: Outdoor Christmas Trees

Discover everything you need to know to buy, rent, or lease the perfect Oversized Commercial Christmas Tree for your business’s giant Christmas display this holiday season.

by | July 27, 2022

iphone photo of Giant outdoor Christmas decors, pre-lit commercial Christmas tree, and jumbo snowflake lights

Commercial Christmas Trees. Tower Christmas Trees. Panel Christmas Trees. Branch Christmas Trees. Frame Christmas Trees. It seems there are a multitude of different terms used when it comes to giant oversized Christmas Trees, including both Giant Christmas Trees and Oversized Christmas Trees. Sometimes they are even referred to as Municipal Christmas Trees or Mall Christmas Trees since they are so often found in municipalities and shopping center holiday displays. They are even called Outdoor Christmas Trees despite the fact they are sometimes found indoors, as well.

With all this confusion surrounding just the name, it is easy to see why finding this very popular outdoor Christmas decor for your business, let alone deciding which Frame Tree is right for your business, can be such a struggle. However, Rent-A-Christmas' goal is to simplify your holiday experience, so we’d like to let you in on a little yuletide secret. While these commercial trees may have many different names, there are really only two styles of oversized Christmas trees, and both are classified as Frame Trees.

Rent-A-Christmas Elf Squad assembling the bottom frame of a 40' outdoor Christmas tree for a tree lighting ceremony

What is a Frame Christmas Tree?

Before we can understand what Frame Trees are, we should start by understanding what they are not. Frame Trees are very different than the typical artificial Christmas tree found in most people’s homes around the holidays – the "pole tree". As you might suspect, a pole tree is one that has a center post or "pole" that runs through the center of the tree. In the not-too-distant past, the center post of these artificial Christmas trees had slots to slide in and clip-in individual branches. To make storage more convenient, the center pole was often broken up into multiple, smaller sections. These days, most if not all pole trees have the branches already affixed to the center pole on a hinge. Pole Christmas Trees often come pre-lit and are available in a variety of profiles. (Learn How To Pick The Perfect Christmas Tree For Your Space)

Now, unlike pole trees, Frame Christmas Trees do not have a pole running up the center of the tree. Instead, Frame Trees are constructed from thick, heavy-duty steel, which is then curved using specialized machinery and welded to form a section of a circular frame, hence their name. The frame comes in many sections and is then assembled by those skilled in the art to create the silhouette of the tree. While these outdoor Christmas trees are hollow at their center, the sturdy frame construction allows them to be built to over 100’ tall, although most frame trees are usually in the 18’ – 50’ range. All large format Christmas trees are constructed in this manner, which makes them all Frame Trees.

After the frame is constructed, greenery can be connected to the frame in two different ways. Since the frames are usually powder-coated and the greenery and panels are made of sun and weatherproof materials, the two styles of Frame Christmas Trees, Panel Frame Trees and Branch Frame Trees, are both extremely durable. They do however offer different aesthetics and each style has their own pros and cons.

What is a Panel Frame Christmas Tree?

A Panel Tree is a type of Frame Christmas Tree that uses curved steel panels decorated with artificial greenery that match the curvature of the frame instead of individual branches. What this means is that the panel is parallel to the frame of the tree and therefore yields a conical look. While this can present a less realistic aesthetic, the flat panels allow for a more precise placement of lights, which means they are best suited for light-show animation and other special lighting effects when RGB or TwinklyPro lighting is used.

What is a Branch Frame Christmas Tree?

Branch Frame Trees use the same type of frame as Panel Christmas Trees; however, individual branches are affixed to the oversized frame instead of sectioned panels. These individual branches rest perpendicular to the frame, which means they protrude outward from the frame and therefore offer a more realistic aesthetic than Panel Trees. Branch Frame Trees are similar to old-fashioned residential Christmas trees, but on a much larger scale and significantly more durable. For example, a single branch of a Branch Frame Tree could have thousands of branch tips and hundreds of lights, which, by comparison, may be the same quantity of branch tips and lights as an entire residential pole tree.

Inside look of professional Christmas decorators installing outdoor Christmas tree

Considerations when shopping for a giant outdoor Christmas tree

Are you looking for a giant Christmas tree for your municipality's tree lighting ceremony? What about turning your mall or shopping plaza into a winter wonderland with a 30’ Christmas Tree? How about a massive outdoor holiday event to keep your theme park, zoo or entertainment venue generating revenue during the offseason?

Well, a Frame Christmas Tree is certainly what you will need for your business, and now that you know about the different styles, let’s explore some key features of these outdoor Christmas trees to learn the pros and cons of both Panel Frame Trees and Branch Frame Trees.

Commercial Frame Christmas Tree Aesthetics

    The most striking difference between Panel Frame Trees and Branch Frame Trees is the way they look. Panel Trees typically look less realistic due to their use of parallel panels. Instead of a staggered traditional Christmas tree look, Panel Trees have a more conical shape with less depth due to the flat panels. Because the greenery on Branch Trees is affixed via individual branches that extend outward from the frame and which are then fluffed, Branch Frame Trees have more depth, and offer a fuller, more traditional Christmas tree look.

    Branch Frame Christmas Trees also pair better with oversized Christmas ornaments, although the decorations usually must be placed on the tree after the branches are installed and properly fluffed. While the aesthetics of a Christmas tree is entirely subjective, some people believe a Branch Frame Tree looks more elegant.

    Commercial Frame Tree Cost

    As you might suspect, one style of Frame Tree offers a lower cost than the other, as is the case with Panel Frame Trees. Panel Frame Trees are typically less expensive than Branch Frame Trees for a few important reasons. First, Panel Trees cost less to produce because less materials are used in production. The reduced material subsequently reduces their shipping cost and the amount of storage space needed. Finally, installation costs of Panel Frame Trees are significantly lower than Branch Frame Trees thanks to their easier setup. Whichever way you go, expect to dole out upwards of $10,000 for a 20' Christmas tree with oversized ornaments, and professional installation.

    Outdoor Christmas Tree Setup & Installation 

    While skilled labor is needed to properly install both styles of Commercial Frame Trees, panels take much less time to attach than individual branches. Also, unlike Branch Frame Trees, there is little fluffing to do once the panels are attached. Any oversized ornaments are also usually affixed to the panels first instead of having to decorate the tree after it is set up like with Branch Frame Trees. However, the easiest way to minimize the burden on your team during the holidays is to hire a professional Christmas installer who has experience with oversized Christmas tree installation.

    Professional Christmas decorators using a boom lift to add the top section of an oversized outdoor Christmas tree

    Which large-scale Christmas tree is right for my business?

    Whether you should get a Panel Frame Christmas Tree or Branch Frame Christmas Tree really depends on the look you are trying to achieve for your business or event, and the budget you have set for your holiday display. Both styles of oversized Christmas Trees can be decorated in a variety of ways including the use of jumbo Christmas decor, offer multiple LED lighting options, and can be accented with a beautiful Christmas tree topper. Frame Trees can also be customized in other fun ways. In addition to choosing specific colors and ornaments, you can also choose an oversized fiberglass drum to serve as a platform for the tree or a specialty Frame Tree with a walk-thru base so that people can actually pass right underneath the tree, which can make for a truly incredible photo opportunity. You can even get a Panel Frame Christmas Tree with a bar built into it, which is great for generating revenue at holiday events, Christmas Light walk-thrus, amusement parks, and other seasonal settings.

    Christmas installation professionals decorating an outdoor Christmas tree

    Where can I buy an outdoor frame tree this holiday season?

    While you might find a Panel or Branch Frame Christmas Tree as part of your local mall Christmas display, these are specialty decorations that will not be for sale at a local store. Frame Christmas Trees must be custom-ordered, and will arrive in numerous boxes on at least a dozen standard-sized pallets, with the number of boxes and pallets rising exponentially the larger the tree. Shipping costs alone can end up being several thousands and purchasing an oversized Christmas tree may end up being more of an investment than you realize. Massive Christmas trees also require massive storage space after the holidays, and your company must also account for the time and skilled labor required to properly assemble and uninstall the giant Christmas decor.

    Nighttime picture of pre-lit outdoor Christmas Tree installed by professional Christmas decorators

    Rent-A-Christmas offers both branch and panel Christmas trees

    Giant Christmas tree rental and leasing options, like the ones available from Rent-A-Christmas, allow your business a more affordable way to access oversized Christmas trees this holiday season while eliminating the hassle of setting up, tearing down, and storing your decorations. If you’d like to learn more about our oversized Christmas tree options, get in touch with Rent-A-Christmas today!

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