Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing. We’ve covered the best artificial Christmas trees, Christmas tree toppers, Christmas lights, and wreaths, and now we’re zeroing in on the best Christmas tree stands on Amazon. (Note that reviews have been edited for length and clarity.)
Along the lower Rhine, an area of Roman Catholic majority, the Christmas tree was largely regarded as a Protestant custom. As a result, it remained confined to the upper Rhineland for a relatively long period of time. The custom did eventually gain wider acceptance beginning around 1815 by way of Prussian officials who emigrated there following the Congress of Vienna.
We had hands-on time with the Tree Genie XXL Deluxe, which matches our main pick spec for spec with a couple exceptions. First, there is a bell on the end of the foot pedal that dings and locks the pedal automatically when the stand’s claws are fully tightened. Also, the claws on the XXL Deluxe loosen on the tree one pedal lift at at time, instead of releasing all at once. These are nice features, but they’re not necessary, and they add about $10 to the total cost.
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.
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.
The Cinco Express fits in the mid-sized tree stand range. It is ideal for real trees up to ten feet tall with a trunk diameter of up to seven inches. This stand is made of heavy-duty plastic. The base features three galvanized pins in its center to hold the tree in place before final adjustments. A push-pull ratchet mechanism makes it easier to set up and take down your tree. The base has an overall diameter of 20 inches and fits two gallons of water.
Since the early 20th century, it has become common in many cities, towns, and department stores to put up public Christmas trees outdoors, such as the Macy's Great Tree in Atlanta (since 1948), the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in New York City, and the large Christmas tree at Victoria Square in Adelaide. The use of fire retardant allows many indoor public areas to place real trees and be compliant with code. Licensed applicants of fire retardant solution spray the tree, tag the tree, and provide a certificate for inspection. Real trees are popular with high end visual merchandising displays around the world. Leading global retailers such as Apple often place real trees in their window displays. In 2009, Apple placed two Fraser fir trees in every one of its retail establishments.
Typical plastic stands won’t hold up to several years of holiday cheer. This Steel Arm Plastic Live Tree Stand is easy to move and pack but built to last. With 2 sizes in one you can be sure to fit any tree size up to 9 feet tall. Impact grade plastic construction makes this stand strong and durable. For a lighter, easy to store stand the steel arm has it all.
Cost and realism go hand in hand. Using molds often taken from actual branches, artificial-tree manufacturers shape polyethylene, or PE, to produce highly realistic branch tips. More tips generally make the tree look fuller, with fewer gaps, and more tips cost more money. Similarly, a higher percentage of polyethylene in a tree’s construction generally equates to greater realism—and a higher price. Our pick, for reference, has 1,867 tips and is 37 percent polyethylene, and is convincingly lifelike even up close. You can get trees with far more eye-popping stats, though. This particularly lovely Balsam Fir from Balsam Hill’s most-realistic line of trees, for example, has almost 6,000 tips and is 70 percent polyethylene—and comes at a price to match that extravagance. As with real trees, overall bigger sizes come with bigger costs: House of Holiday, for example, carries more than two dozen trees measuring 12 feet or taller with price tags north of $1,000.
^ Ingeborg Weber-Kellermann (1978). Das Weihnachtsfest. Eine Kultur- und Sozialgeschichte der Weihnachtszeit [Christmas: A cultural and social history of Christmastide] (in German). Bucher. p. 22. ISBN 3-7658-0273-5. Man kann als sicher annehmen daß die Luzienbräuche gemeinsam mit dem Weinachtsbaum in Laufe des 19. Jahrhunderts aus Deutschland über die gesellschaftliche Oberschicht der Herrenhöfe nach Schweden gekommen sind. (English: One can assume with certainty that traditions of lighting, together with the Christmas tree, crossed from Germany to Sweden in the 19th century via the princely upper classes.)
“We bought this for my 90-year-old in-laws who had recently moved into a retirement community and needed a compact Christmas display. The Charlie Brown tree is nostalgic to all of us who grew up waiting to watch the Charlie Brown Christmas Special come on the tube (back when they were literally tubes). They seem to love it, and now we’ll need to find a couple Peanuts figures to put around it next Christmas.”
You can dress a standard wreath in white Christmas fashion as quick as you can say “St. Nick.” All you need to get a decorator look is an inexpensive evergreen wreath, available at garden stores and tree lots, and a can of white flocking spray. Take the project outside to ensure you don’t “dust” the unintended, and then let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.
^ Johannes Marbach (1859). Die heilige Weihnachtszeit nach Bedeutung, Geschichte, Sitten und Symbolen [The holy Christmas season for meaning, history, customs and symbols] (in German). p. 416. Was ist auch eine deutsche Christenfamilie am Christabend ohne Christbäumchen? Zumal in der Fremde, unter kaltherzigen Engländern und frivolen Franzosen, unter den amerikanischen Indianern und den Papuas von Australien. Entbehren doch die nichtdeutschen Christen neben dem Christbäumchen noch so viele Züge deutscher Gemüthlichkeit. (English: What would a German Christian family do on Christmas Eve without a Christmas tree? Especially in foreign lands, among cold-hearted Englishmen and frivolous Frenchmen, among the American Indians and the Papua of Australia. Apart from the Christmas tree, the non-German Christians suffer from a lack of a great many traits of German 'Gemütlichkeit'.)
National Tree Company’s 7½-foot, unlit Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir (PEDD1-503-75) is a great tree at a great price, if you don’t need lights included. It’s the same size as our main pick, with the same generous branch count (1,867), sporting that same full, room-filling form. It’s identical in construction, too, with the same realistic polyethylene tips, hinged branches, and three sections. You’ll have to string the lights yourself, of course. If you already own enough lights for a 7½-foot tree (roughly 700 bulbs, per the 100-per-foot guideline), choosing this tree is a no-brainer, since you’ll save a chunk of money. Or if you simply prefer to string your own, even if it means spending down those savings, go for it—check out our recommended set of LED Christmas lights, or pick up three 300-bulb strings of incandescents for about $30. And for smaller homes and apartments, we think the 6½-foot version of this tree also makes a great pick.
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Tree Genie Live Tree Stand comes with the inventor’s original single cable operation and with water level indicator. It also includes 5 stabilizer feet for additional security. Just place your tree in the opened stand, hold it straight and pump the foot pedal until the claws firmly hold the trunk. Your tree will be straight and ready in just seconds.
Join the tree skirt revolution and take the ironing out of hiding the base of your Christmas tree. Plastic tree collar assembles in just minutes by lining up the patent-pending magnetic connection points. The collar features a basket weave pattern to add depth and character and is fully washable and waterproof. Disassembles for easy post-Christmas storage.
“Works great! Once you have a rotating tree stand, you’ll never want to go back to a stationary stand again. It makes decorating your tree easier, and best of all, the rotation allows you to view and appreciate all your ornaments. Note: You will need to wrap the excess cord around the base of the tree, otherwise it will loop around as it turns and will eventually pull the plug out of the wall socket. I wrapped it a few times around the base and held it with the green twist-tie from some celery I had bought at the market.”
^ The Christmas Tree: published by Darton and Clark, London. "The ceremony of the Christmas tree, so well known throughout Germany, bids fair to be welcomed among us, with the other festivities of the season, especially now the Queen, within her own little circle, has set the fashion, by introducing it on the Christmas Eve in her own regal palace." Book review of The Christmas Tree from the Weekly Chronicle, 14 December 1844, quoted in an advert headlined "A new pleasure for Christmas" in The Times, 23 December 1844, p. 8.
The Emerald Innovations stand in particular had our hopes up because it lets you adjust the angle of the tree by pressing a foot pedal and turning the tree on a large ball joint. But the initial setup proved more of a hassle than any other method: A separate sleeve fits over the tree’s trunk while it’s lying down, and you secure it with screw-down clamps. Then you fit the sleeve and tree together into the base. The frustrating setup, along with the lack of stability, outweighed the otherwise cool design.
For this guide, we defaulted to the most popular choices in our quest to come up with a tree that would please the most people. Our interview with the sales manager at National Tree Company yielded a few key facts about trends in the industry. The 7½-foot size is the most popular, as US home ceilings are usually 8 feet high, but we’ve also added several smaller (6½-foot) trees to this guide for those with smaller homes or apartments. People hugely prefer pre-lit trees, as well; to cover everyone’s tastes, we decided to look for a tree that could switch between all-white and multicolor. People also want artificial trees to appear convincingly lifelike. And although first-time tree buyers will probably be surprised at a good tree’s price, we knew we’d be in the mainstream range as long as we came in between $250 and $400, judging by the information we got from House of Holiday’s Larry Gurino, National Tree, and our own research. An artificial tree can easily last 10 or 15 years, so the amortized cost is a lot easier to swallow—the average price for a live tree as of 2016 was $51, according to CBS News.
Balsam Hill's designers carefully craft our trees to mimic nature using site visits and cutting from live trees to guide them. We offer three types of foliage options that are made from either PE or PVC material. While some trees use one type of foliage exclusively, others may use mix of foliage types to achieve a particular look. The specific mix is specified on each product detail page in the section that describes the tree's foliage.
You’ll want to make sure you have the right Christmas tree base. Keep in mind, the taller the tree, the larger the base. Also, the Christmas tree stand will add height to your tree, so plan to leave enough room between the tree and the ceiling to fit a Christmas tree topper. Surround the base of your tree with a Christmas tree skirt to create the perfect backdrop for presents. If you choose a real tree, the skirt can collect any fallen needles. For the final touch of holiday flair, shop The Home Depot’s huge assortment of Christmas decorations, including Christmas lights, ornaments and garland. And for after the holidays, be sure you have tree bags, organizers and plenty of storage options to get everything packed away neatly for next year.