Number of Bolts: When looking for Christmas tree stands, you’ll notice the base is equipped with a certain number of bolts that work together to securely hold the tree trunk. These bolts can be easily adjusted to position your tree horizontally and vertically. For an even distribution of pressure, look for Christmas tree stands with at least four bolts.
The first artificial Christmas trees were developed in Germany during the 19th century, though earlier examples exist. These "trees" were made using goose feathers that were dyed green., as one response by Germans to continued deforestation. Feather Christmas trees ranged widely in size, from a small 2-inch (51 mm) tree to a large 98-inch (2,500 mm) tree sold in department stores during the 1920s. Often, the tree branches were tipped with artificial red berries which acted as candle holders.
^ Fritz Allhoff, Scott C. Lowe (2010). Christmas. John Wiley & Sons. His biographer, Eddius Stephanus, relates that while Boniface was serving as a missionary near Geismar, Germany, he had enough of the locals' reverence for the old gods. Taking an axe to an oak tree dedicated to Norse god Thor, Boniface chopped the tree down and dared Thor to zap him for it. When nothing happened, Boniface pointed out a young fir tree amid the roots of the oak and explained how this tree was a more fitting object of reverence as it pointed towards the Christian heaven and its triangular shape was reminiscent of the Christian trinity.
The tradition was introduced to North America in the winter of 1781 by Hessian soldiers stationed in the Province of Québec (1763–1791) to garrison the colony against American attack. General Friedrich Adolf Riedesel and his wife, the Baroness von Riedesel, held a Christmas party for the officers at Sorel, delighting their guests with a fir tree decorated with candles and fruits.
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 "similar styles" price noted is our researched retail price at a point in time of similar style of aesthetic item at another retailer offering home décor products. Like other home décor retailers, we work with a variety of partners to source our products, making each one unique to At Home. Copyright © 2018 At Home Stores LLC. Selection, quantities and pricing of products may vary by participating store. All rights reserved.
While traditional green wreaths are readily available, there are many other not-so-traditional colors to choose from. Flashy gold or silver wreaths pop with a sparkle. While winter white is also a popular choice, but you can certainly go for a fire red berry wreath if you wish. Many of the wreath designs exude a quality, handmade appearance with natural-looking pine cones or berries.
Once you’ve purchased and assembled your artificial tree, you must fluff it. “Fluffing” is an (admittedly adorable) term for arranging all of the branches on the tree. It may seem like an imposing prospect but, in reality, it just requires a few simple steps repeated over and over again. This is a good time to bribe friends and family members to help you. We think a couple of hours of fluffing in return for some homemade hot chocolate is a good offer.
This lightweight plastic stand weighs less than 3 pounds and holds trunks up to 7 inches. You’ll need two people to install your tree—and occasionally you’ll have to pick the tree up a second time in order to slam it back down into the stand with enough force to get the spikes in the base to dig into the trunk—but you can’t beat the price. The reservoir holds two gallons, so you might even be able to skip a day of watering with this thing.
The special influenced dozens of young aspiring artists and animators, many of whom went on to work within both the comics and animation industries, among them Eric Goldberg (Pocahontas), Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc., Up), Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, WALL-E), Jef Mallett (Frazz), and Patrick McDonnell (Mutts). The show's score made an equally pervasive impact on viewers who would later perform jazz, among them David Benoit and George Winston. More directly, the special launched a series of Peanuts films, TV specials (many of them holiday-themed) and other works of entertainment.
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.)
“If you are holding off because this seems like a frivolous, will-only-use-it-once-a-year holiday purchase — don’t. Every year, it was the same thing. We used to spend at least 45 minutes trying to get the damn tree straight, and it always escalated to the antithesis of holiday cheer. Not this time. This stand got the most crooked, messed-up tree straight in five minutes with just me, while my spouse made cocoa. It was a Christmas Miracle.”
National Tree Company has a warranty for its realistic pre-lit trees taller than 6½ feet, like our pick, that covers manufacturer defects for five years from the date of purchase. The lights are covered for two years. You’ll need proof and date of purchase to file a claim, and you’ll need to have treated the tree and lights with reasonable care to have your claim approved. (Details here.) The 6½-foot version of this tree also falls under that warranty, and we recommend it for smaller homes and apartments.
After writing the original version of this guide in fall 2016, we carefully disassembled and packed our pick at the time—a very similar National Tree model, the PEDD1-312LD-75X—in its original box and shipped it to Los Angeles for long-term use. After the long journey (in which the tree was jostled enough that it arrived with its top spike and branches sticking out of a corner of the box), it sat on a garage shelf for about 10 months, enduring temperatures over 100 degrees and gathering a little dust and grit without any plastic seal around the box or the contents. (Yes, we fell short of following our own advice on storage.)
This product was built to keep trees up to 12-feet tall and six-and-a-half inches in diameter stationed in place for all the days of the season. Between the welded steel and the four reliable eye-bolts, the tree doesn’t stand a chance of tipping. Plus, the base is able to hold nearly two gallons of water, and is reinforced by zinc-dichromate hardware to prevent deterioration.
The special opens and closes with a choir of children, culled from St. Paul's Episcopal Church in San Rafael, California, performing "Christmas Time Is Here" and "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing". One of the singers, Candace Hackett Shively, went on to become an elementary school teacher, and sent a letter of gratitude to Schulz after he announced his retirement in 2000. In the letter, she recalls recording the choir at Fantasy Studios and going out for ice cream afterwards, while also noting that she tells the story to her grade-schoolers each holiday season. The recording sessions were conducted in late autumn 1965, and were cut in three separate sessions over two weeks. They often ran late into the night, resulting in angry parents, some who forbade their children from returning; consequently, numerous new children were present at each session. The children were directed by Barry Mineah, who demanded perfection from the choir. Mendelson and Guaraldi disagreed, desiring the "kids to sound like kids"; they used a slightly off-key version of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" in the final cut. Children were paid five dollars for their participation. In addition, the children recorded dialogue for the special's final scene, in which the crowd of kids shout "Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!"
Every home needs a touch of red and green during the holidays. This year, we freshened the typical motif with a shapely wreath made from real Granny Smith apples wired to a florist foam wreath form with florist picks. Red hypericum berries and bay leaves fill out the rest of the wreath. The apples do make this wreath weighty, so hang it from a sturdy nail.
But the definitive study on the subject (as reported by The New York Times, parent company of Wirecutter) gives the edge firmly to live trees. Artificial trees are made of petroleum-based plastics and are manufactured mostly in China, where environmental laws are less stringent. Live trees can be sustainably farmed and harvested, they absorb carbon while growing, and they provide some measure of wildlife habitat. Although live-tree farms contribute marginally to the consequences of fertilizer and pesticide use, they add value to land that might otherwise be valuable only to developers. But really, the study’s author says, your fake tree versus real tree choice is not a major way to make a difference for Earth: “If you exchange a couple of days of commuting by car with carpooling or riding a bicycle, you’ll completely overcompensate for whatever the impact of the [artificial] tree is. … It’s not such a big deal. Enjoy your tree, whichever one you prefer.”
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.
“I recently purchased a seven-foot vintage aluminum Christmas tree that was missing its stand, so I bought this hoping it would do the trick. I was pleased that it not only fit the tree perfectly, it is also much sturdier and higher quality than the plastic tree stands that come with most artificial trees. I may eventually spray-paint this to match my silver tree, but the tree skirt I have covers it nicely. My cat also enjoys sleeping under the tree and using this thing as a chin rest, so there’s that.”