Amazon now delivers live-cut Christmas trees right to your door -- so we ordered one
With free shipping for both Prime members and non-Prime members alike, Amazon might be the most convenient place to get a real tree this year.
Sarah MitroffManaging Editor
Sarah Mitroff is a Managing Editor for CNET, overseeing our health, fitness and wellness section. Throughout her career, she's written about mobile tech, consumer tech, business and startups for Wired, MacWorld, PCWorld, and VentureBeat.
Yup, you read that right. Amazon is selling real, fresh-cut 3- to 4-foot and 6- to 6.5-foot Christmas trees in the continued quest to be our one-stop shop for everything we could ever need.
This had me wondering -- is ordering a Christmas tree, sight unseen from a website, a good idea? Is it worth it? Does it suck the holiday cheer out of the experience?
We had Amazon deliver a Christmas tree to the CNET
in San Francisco in 2018 to find out.
Watch this: We ordered an Amazon Christmas tree!
What happens when it arrives?
We got a long, heavy box dropped off from FedEx. Our delivery person offered to bring the box upstairs and also required a signature for delivery. Expect that you'll need to be home to sign for your Christmas tree.
We could smell the tree before we opened the box.
What's the quality of the tree?
Honestly, the tree is beautiful. We got a very fresh Fraser Fir that was still damp in many places when we took it out of the box.
Like all trees, there are some wonky branches and gaps, but overall, we were pleasantly surprised at how nice it looked, especially after spending at least two days in a box.
Getting the tree out of the box and ready to set up is a messy process, so do it outside at all costs.
First, you'll need to open the box and slide the tree out. You'll likely have a bunch of dead pine needles spill out, which is normal.
Next, you have to cut about an inch off the end of the tree so that it can absorb water when you place it in a stand. The cut that was made when your tree was chopped down will have closed up a bit before it gets to you. We used a hand saw, but a chainsaw (like they use at tree lots) would have been faster.
Finally, you'll need to cut the twine that keeps the branches bundled. Shake the tree to loosen any dead needles or broken branches, and then gently fluff the branches so they can fall into place.
The trees are sourced from farms in North Carolina, Oregon and Michigan. Ours hailed from North Carolina.
How much is shipping?
All Amazon.com customers (both Prime members and non-Prime members) get free shipping on full-size Christmas trees.
When will I get my tree?
Amazon says it takes one to two business days to process the order and then two to five days for shipping, based on your location. Unfortunately, you can't ship a tree to Hawaii or Puerto Rico.
Why do this?
I don't buy a Christmas tree every year, but when I have done so, I enjoyed the process of going to a tree lot and picking out the perfect tree. What I didn't enjoy is tying it to the roof of my car and driving home hoping it doesn't move.
Buying a Christmas tree from Amazon isn't for everyone, and that's OK. While Amazon doesn't have a target customer in mind for these trees, to me it's apartment dwellers, those without cars, and families that want to avoid the hassle of going to the tree lot.
That said, you don't avoid all of the hassle by ordering the tree online. You're responsible for cutting off the end of the tree, which is not easy if you don't have power tools.
Ordering a Christmas tree on Amazon is not going to replace going to a tree lot anytime soon. For now, it gives people a new, and mostly convenient, option for bringing a tree home.