Real vs. fake. Which is better? It’s a highly-contested topic each holiday season, and it’s one that the American Christmas Tree Association (the organization representing the artificial tree industry) and the National Christmas Tree Association (the organization representing the real tree industry) take seriously. Both groups make their cases for selecting either a real or faux tree, and we used them to inform our comparison.
This tabletop tree features snow-tipped bristle branches and This tabletop tree features snow-tipped bristle branches and is trimmed red berries and pine cones. It is pre-strung with 15 battery-operated warm white LED lights that are energy-efficient and long lasting. 6 hours ON/18 hours OFF timed operation. Seated in a burlap bag base for a rustic look this small ... More + Product Details Close
The large version can hold a tree as tall as 12 feet with a trunk as wide as seven inches. The wide pan reservoir makes getting in under the branches to top off the tree’s water supply easier than it is with most other stands. Plus, it kind of looks like the Christmas tree stand an elf would carry around with him, in case that’s the vibe you’re going for.
^ The story, not recounted in the vitae written in his time, appears in a BBC Devon website, "Devon Myths and Legends", and in a number of educational storybooks, including St. Boniface and the Little Fir Tree: A Story to Color by Jenny Melmoth and Val Hayward (Warrington: Alfresco Books 1999 ISBN 1-873727-15-1), The Brightest Star of All: Christmas Stories for the Family by Carrie Papa (Abingdon Press 1999 ISBN 978-0-687-64813-9) and "How Saint Boniface Kept Christmas Eve" by Mary Louise Harvey in The American Normal Readers: Fifth Book, 207-22. Silver, Burdett and Co. 1912.
The Krinner Tree Genie is the best-selling Christmas tree stand on Amazon, and for good-reason—all you have to do is put your tree in and pump the foot pedal to tighten it in place, and it only takes a minute. It can secure any tree up to 12 feet tall and has a basin that retains 2.5 gallons of water, plus it has an automatic water level indicator so you can easily see if it's running low.
Height and dimensions: Consider the height of the tree you’d like to purchase, bearing in mind that you’ll need to access the top of the tree for decorating. If the ceilings in your home are within the standard (American) eight to nine foot range, a 7.5 foot tree is probably ideal for you. The dimensions of the tree you purchase should be dependent on where you’re displaying it. If you’re placing it in a small corner, a narrow tree is best, whereas a tree with a wide girth is best for a front and center display.
Number of branch tips and shedding: If you’ve already started perusing through faux trees online, you’ve noticed that many companies specify the number of branch tips on their trees. This is because there’s a direct connection between number of tips and realism. More tips yield a more realistic tree. And just like real Christmas trees, these branch tips are also bound to shed some needles. This is especially true the first time you take the tree out of the box and set it up. The best fake Christmas trees will shed less with each year of use.
Sturdy and solid the Cinco Express Plastic Tree Sturdy and solid the Cinco Express Plastic Tree Stand holds trees up to 12 ft. tall. The stand features a push-pull express bolt system and spill guard for convenient tree support and hassle-free maintenance. An easy-fill design helps save low branches while the heavy-duty construction ensures lasting use for seasons ... More + Product Details Close
Holiday wreaths are true signs of the season. A beautiful Christmas wreath always brightens a gorgeous home and makes guests feel at home for the holidays. Here, our editors share their ideas for how to choose and use festive Christmas wreaths to decorate your home for the holidays. Whether on your front door, windows, or inside your home, Christmas wreaths can be traditional or modern; they can be evergreen, succulent, or anything in between. For a sense of drama, you’ll see how to hang two wreaths, three wreaths, or even hang a Christmas wreath in front of a mirror. The Southern Living editors even suggest that you consider the shape of your Christmas wreath—you may want to choose an unusual shape. From squares to a Tree Form Wreath to one constructed from snowy pinecones, your Christmas wreaths can reflect your creativity and inspiration. Simply think of the splendor of the holiday, and let your Christmas wreath reflect the joy in your heart.
Maybe you prefer the traditional bolted stand, or maybe you're in the market for a stand that's designed to make set-up a total breeze. Or, maybe you just want one that's secure enough to hold the biggest tree you can fit inside your house. In any case, these are the best Christmas tree stands you can buy this holiday season, and why they're worth the purchase. Add your favorite ornaments, and you're good to go.
Wirecutter has been researching and testing Christmas tree stands since 2012. In that time, we’ve thoroughly vetted more than 35 stands and done hands-on testing with five. We’ve also read everything we can about Christmas tree stands, from a comparison in the The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) to a Christmas-themed blog called Miss Bee’s Christmas Tree (although not a professional reviewer, Miss Bee is pretty serious about tree stands). We’ve also scoured user reviews on the websites of several major retailers and perused a variety of “best of” lists (most of which, alas, rely mainly on those same websites, with little, if any, testing.)
The Black & Decker Smart Stand has a unique design that includes three sharp metal blades that grip a tree’s trunk after it’s been dropped into the stand, with no need to tighten anything. But it’s gotten a lot of negative reviews on Amazon. The Steel Welded Large Tree Stand and the Resin Tree Stand, like so many others, hold the tree with four bolts that must be threaded the entire way in. The water reservoir is also much smaller than those of the Krinner and Cinco. The Holiday Time Christmas Tree Stand is inexpensive but looks flimsy and also supports the tree with simple bolts.
“This is seriously the most beautiful artificial tree I’ve ever seen. I love all the different textures, colors, and pine-cone accents. The lights are a nice, warm white. The tree is beautiful enough on its own, even without ornaments. Worth the money. It is amazingly full as well. Those who said it was thin did not take the time to fluff it properly, which does take a bit of patience, but is worth the effort. Love it!”
Finally, we tied a length of twine to each tree, in each stand, at a consistent spot about a third of the distance from the top. Using a force gauge (a simple cylinder with a calibrated spring), we pulled on each tree to see how much force was required to make it tip over. Our gauge maxed out at 50 Newtons, which anyone with a physics background can tell you is not a lot of force—but, in most cases it was enough to tip over our test trees and not far beyond what you’d cause with an accidental bump into the tree. Only the exceptionally sturdy stands could resist it, and the exercise objectively helped us identify the best products in our test.
However, this GE tree has fewer lights than the National Tree—600 versus 750—so it falls just short of our recommended 100 lights per foot of tree. And at 30 percent polyethylene, versus 37 percent on the National Tree pick, the GE tree has a lower proportion of ultra-realistic branch tips—and a higher proportion of fake-looking PVC “needles.” You’ll never notice a difference from across the room, or even halfway across it, but up close you may find the GE slightly more artificial-looking.
In the late 1800s, home-made white Christmas trees were made by wrapping strips of cotton batting around leafless branches creating the appearance of a snow-laden tree. In the 1940s and 1950s, popularized by Hollywood films in the late 1930s, flocking was very popular on the West Coast of the United States. There were home flocking kits that could be used with vacuum cleaners. In the 1980s some trees were sprayed with fluffy white flocking to simulate snow.
In September 1994 the special was released by Paramount on VHS. A laserdisc was released by Paramount (distributed by Pioneer) in 1996; Side 2 contained the 1979 special You're the Greatest, Charlie Brown. In September 2000 it was released on DVD. Bonus features included the 1992 special It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown. On September 23, 2008, Warner Home Video (to which the rights to the Peanuts specials reverted earlier in the year, due to Melendez's connections to WB) released a "remastered" DVD. Bonus features include a restored version of Christmastime Again and a new documentary titled "A Christmas Miracle: The Making of A Charlie Brown Christmas".
Several other species are used to a lesser extent. Less-traditional conifers are sometimes used, such as giant sequoia, Leyland cypress, Monterey cypress and eastern juniper. Various types of spruce tree are also used for Christmas trees (including the blue spruce and, less commonly, the white spruce); but spruces begin to lose their needles rapidly upon being cut, and spruce needles are often sharp, making decorating uncomfortable. Virginia pine is still available on some tree farms in the southeastern United States; however, its winter color is faded. The long-needled eastern white pine is also used there, though it is an unpopular Christmas tree in most parts of the country, owing also to its faded winter coloration and limp branches, making decorating difficult with all but the lightest ornaments. Norfolk Island pine is sometimes used, particularly in Oceania, and in Australia, some species of the genera Casuarina and Allocasuarina are also occasionally used as Christmas trees. But, by far, the most common tree is the Monterey pine. Adenanthos sericeus or Albany woolly bush is commonly sold in southern Australia as a potted living Christmas tree. Hemlock species are generally considered unsuitable as Christmas trees due to their poor needle retention and inability to support the weight of lights and ornaments.
The Downswept Douglas Fir’s lights give off the intense colors characteristic of LEDs. With 750 bulbs on a 7½-foot tree, it exactly meets our 100-bulbs-per-foot recommendation. The all-white setting has a rich golden tone; the multicolor setting is bright and pure. To people used to the softer glow of incandescent bulbs, the effect may appear a little harsh. If you’d prefer the same tree strung with all-white or multicolor incandescents, you can usually find one for the same price or less, but you’ll get only three or four seasons of light life, whereas LEDs may run for a decade or more with normal use. (A string of 300 white or multicolor incandescents runs about $10 at Home Depot currently; you would need three strings, or about $30 worth, to meet the “at least 100 lights per foot of tree” guideline for our 7½-foot tree picks.)
Most artificial trees are made of recycled PVC rigid sheets using tin stabilizer in the recent years. In the past, lead was often used as a stabilizer in PVC, but is now banned by Chinese laws. The use of lead stabilizer in Chinese imported trees has been an issue of concern among politicians and scientists over recent years. A 2004 study found that while in general artificial trees pose little health risk from lead contamination, there do exist "worst-case scenarios" where major health risks to young children exist. A 2008 United States Environmental Protection Agency report found that as the PVC in artificial Christmas trees aged it began to degrade. The report determined that of the 50 million artificial trees in the United States approximately 20 million were 9 or more years old, the point where dangerous lead contamination levels are reached. A professional study on the life-cycle assessment of both real and artificial Christmas trees revealed that one must use an artificial Christmas tree at least 20 years to leave an environmental footprint as small as the natural Christmas tree.
For even more convenience, purchase a pre-lit tree so all you have to do is add ornaments and garland and you’re ready to celebrate. To help save money on electric bills, try a Christmas tree with energy-saving LED lights and add a light timer to make sure your lights consistently turn off at the same hour each night. Even better, you can set up Remote Control Christmas Trees that let you change the color of the lights with just a click of a button. For more information on how to choose the right artificial tree for your Christmas décor, see our Artificial Christmas Tree Buying Guide.