The Christmas tree became very common in the United States in the early nineteenth century. The first image of a Christmas tree was published in 1836 as the frontispiece to The Stranger's Gift by Hermann Bokum. The first mention of the Christmas tree in American literature was in a story in the 1836 edition of The Token and Atlantic Souvenir, titled "New Year's Day," by Catherine Maria Sedgwick, where she tells the story of a German maid decorating her mistress's tree. Also, a woodcut of the British Royal family with their Christmas tree at Windsor Castle, initially published in The Illustrated London News December 1848, was copied in the United States at Christmas 1850, in Godey's Lady's Book. Godey's copied it exactly, except for the removal of the Queen's tiara and Prince Albert's moustache, to remake the engraving into an American scene. The republished Godey's image became the first widely circulated picture of a decorated evergreen Christmas tree in America. Art historian Karal Ann Marling called Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, shorn of their royal trappings, "the first influential American Christmas tree". Folk-culture historian Alfred Lewis Shoemaker states, "In all of America there was no more important medium in spreading the Christmas tree in the decade 1850–60 than Godey's Lady's Book". The image was reprinted in 1860, and by the 1870s, putting up a Christmas tree had become even more common in America.
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.
Classic Needles Balsam Hill's Classic Needle foliage has soft, flat and flexible needles with a more classic artificial look. These needles are made from thin sheets of PVC that are cut into fine strands to resemble evergreen needles. We use these resilient, flexible needles as the primary foliage of many of the trees in our very affordable Traditional trees. It is also used as filler for most of our Realistic and Most Realistic Christmas trees because of its superior ability to block light and create a "full" look for the tree.
This presentation elevates premade grocery-store wreaths. They hang from fishing line that runs over the top of the door. Then, striped ribbon trails the fishing line. This allows the wreaths to move a bit, giving them a striking, free-hanging look. Sprays of fresh bay leaves, seeded eucalyptus, and large gray berzillia berries add tone-on-tone interest and texture.
^ Friedrich Amelung (1885). Geschichte der Revaler Schwarzenhäupter: von ihrem Ursprung an bis auf die Gegenwart: nach den urkundenmäßigen Quellen des Revaler Schwarzenhäupter-Archivs 1, Die erste Blütezeit von 1399–1557 [History of the Tallinn Blackheads: from their origins until the present day: from the testimonial sources of the Tallinn Blackheads archive. 1: The first golden age of 1399–1557] (in German). Reval: Wassermann.
After Victoria's marriage to her German cousin Prince Albert, by 1841 the custom became even more widespread as wealthier middle-class families followed the fashion. In 1842 a newspaper advert for Christmas trees makes clear their smart cachet, German origins and association with children and gift-giving. An illustrated book, The Christmas Tree, describing their use and origins in detail, was on sale in December 1844. On 2 January 1846 Elizabeth Fielding (née Fox Strangways) wrote from Laycock Abbey to William Henry Fox-Talbot: "Constance is extremely busy preparing the Bohemian Xmas Tree. It is made from Caroline's description of those she saw in Germany". In 1847 Prince Albert wrote: "I must now seek in the children an echo of what Ernest [his brother] and I were in the old time, of what we felt and thought; and their delight in the Christmas-trees is not less than ours used to be". A boost to the trend was given in 1848 when The Illustrated London News, in a report picked up by other papers, described the trees in Windsor Castle in detail and showed the main tree, surrounded by the royal family, on its cover. In fewer than ten years their use in better-off homes was widespread. By 1856 a northern provincial newspaper contained an advert alluding casually to them, as well as reporting the accidental death of a woman whose dress caught fire as she lit the tapers on a Christmas tree. They had not yet spread down the social scale though, as a report from Berlin in 1858 contrasts the situation there where "Every family has its own" with that of Britain, where Christmas trees were still the preserve of the wealthy or the "romantic".
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.
Both setting up and taking down a Christmas tree are associated with specific dates. Traditionally, Christmas trees were not brought in and decorated until Christmas Eve (24 December) or, in the traditions celebrating Christmas Eve rather than the first day of Christmas, 23 December, and then removed the day after Twelfth Night (5 January); to have a tree up before or after these dates was even considered bad luck, and that to avoid bad luck from affecting the house's residents, the tree must be left up until after the following Twelfth Night passes.
Real Christmas Trees are grown on farms just like any other agricultural crop. To ensure a constant supply, Christmas Tree growers plant one to three new seedlings for every tree they harvest. On the other hand, artificial trees are a petroleum-based product manufactured primarily in Chinese factories. The average family uses an artificial tree for only six to nine years before throwing it away, where it will remain in a landfill for centuries after disposal.
After placing the tree into the stand, a foot pedal tightens a steel cable and five ratcheting arms around the base of the tree. We found that this system allows for a more even distribution of pressure. During testing, we struck the Deluxe with considerable force and found the extendable legs more than enough to keep our 7.5-foot-tall tree from tipping over.
Consider using a two-piece wreath to adorn a double-door entry. Start with a wreath that has a sturdy base so it will hold its shape. We used a fresh evergreen here, but a grapevine wreath will work just as well. Cut the wreath in half lengthwise with sturdy wire clippers. Use florist wire to attach evergreen clippings, fruits, and ribbons. Securely hang half of the wreath on each door so the two meet in the center when the doors are closed.
We also found the Best Choice tree really easy to set up. Simply click the three tree sections into place, fluff and you’re done. The only challenging part was the top third of the tree. Some of its branches were compressed so tightly against the center pole that we didn’t realize they needed to be pulled down at first. There were some complaints on Amazon about the top of this tree being too small, and we think that this could be why.
Charlie Brown quietly picks up the tree and walks out of the auditorium toward home, now determined not to let commercialism ruin the holiday. He stops at Snoopy's decorated doghouse, which now sports a blue ribbon for winning the display contest. He takes a large ornament from the doghouse and hangs it at the top of his tree, but the branch, seemingly unable to hold the ornament's weight, promptly droops to the ground. Believing he has killed the tree and that he has ruined everything as usual, Charlie Brown walks off in despair.
Lead serves as a stabilizer in some forms of PVC. The one serious study (PDF) we’ve seen on artificial Christmas trees, published in 2004 in the Journal of Environmental Health, found that the lead levels and risk of lead exposure were generally very low, and well below federal guidelines at the time; a few models were outliers, however, and one slightly exceeded the federal limits. Lead exposure occurred in two ways: direct contact with the branches—as may occur when people are setting the trees up and decorating them—and contact with PVC dust beneath the tree, the result of physical decomposition of the “pine needles,” a particular concern for crawling infants. Significantly, new trees (new in 2004, that is) generally showed much lower levels of lead than trees manufactured in the 1980s and 1990s. The authors concluded that while the proportion of trees made with lead-stabilized PVC had “decreased only modestly” in the 20 years preceding 2004, “the amount of lead stabilizer used has been reduced to a much larger extent,” suggesting a long-term trend toward low-lead or lead-free artificial trees.
No family Christmas is complete without the perfect Christmas tree standing over a treasure trove of presents. Don’t go to just any Christmas tree store to find that perfect evergreen. Come to JCPenney to find all your holiday décor, inside and out. From ornaments to Christmas tree skirts, our shelves are lined with plenty of holiday magic to excite even the youngest of family members. But to make the holidays truly special, give your family nothing but smiles with the perfect Christmas tree. Shop online now and see how JCPenney can save you money for the holidays.
Linus and Charlie Brown return to the auditorium with the tree, only to be scorned by Lucy for disobeying her instructions and mocked by the other girls who, along with Snoopy, walk off laughing. At his wit's end, Charlie Brown loudly asks if anybody knows what Christmas is all about. Linus says he does and, after walking to center stage, recites the annunciation to the shepherds from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2, verses 8 through 14, as translated by the Authorized King James Version:
One particular model is worth describing in detail: the National Tree PEDD1-312LD-75X, a former pick in this guide. It’s a great tree, but we made a mistake about one feature in recommending it. This model lacks the company’s PowerConnect feature, in which the lights connect when the central pole connects. Instead, this model requires you to manually connect standard male/female plug connectors near where the segments of the tree come together. It’s perfectly convenient, but the PowerConnect feature is even better, and our top pick has that.
“I was a little worried ordering a Christmas tree online sight unseen. However, based on all the great reviews for this tree, I bit the bullet and ordered. I am 110 percent satisfied with my tree. This tree is very well made and I believe it will last for many years to come. The branches are soft and I love that they are not plastic. All the trees we saw in the stores had plastic branches and were two or three times the price of this tree. It comes very nicely packaged to your door. The branches are all secured with red ribbon. Everything is labeled, so you can easily put it together. I cannot find any fault with this tree and am truly glad I purchased.”
Other trends have developed in the early 2000s as well. Optical fiber Christmas trees come in two major varieties; one resembles a traditional Christmas tree. One Dallas-based company offers "holographic mylar" trees in many hues. Tree-shaped objects made from such materials as cardboard, glass, ceramic or other materials can be found in use as tabletop decorations. Upside-down artificial Christmas trees became popular for a short time and were originally introduced as a marketing gimmick; they allowed consumers to get closer to ornaments for sale in retail stores and opened up floor space for more products. Artificial trees became increasingly popular during the late 20th century. Users of artificial Christmas trees assert that they are more convenient, and, because they are reusable, much cheaper than their natural alternative. They are also considered much safer as natural trees can be a significant fire hazard. Between 2001 and 2007 artificial Christmas tree sales in the U.S. jumped from 7.3 million to 17.4 million. Currently it is estimated that around 58% of Christmas trees used in the United States are artificial while numbers in the United Kingdom are indicated to be around 66%.
The Black and Decker BD3037 Smart Stand came in last in our roundup. The design looks very domineering and that's actually a problem. It sticks out like a bear-trap-like thumb. It also doesn't work that well. The advertisements tout a ten-second setup time and we did find that to be true. What you do is that you lock the three pongs into place and force the tree through them. The problem was we couldn't get our tree straight or stable.
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.
A Charlie Brown Christmas became a Christmas staple in the United States for several decades afterward. Within the scope of future Peanuts specials, it established their style, combining thoughtful themes, jazzy scores, and simple animation. It also, according to author Charles Solomon, established the half-hour animated special as a television tradition, inspiring the creation of numerous others, including How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966) and Frosty the Snowman (1969). (Earlier animated specials such as Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer ran a full hour.) USA Today summarized the program's appeal upon its 40th anniversary in 2005: "Scholars of pop culture say that shining through the program's skeletal plot is the quirky and sophisticated genius that fueled the phenomenal popularity of Schulz's work." Beyond its references to religion, unheard of on television at the time, the special also marked the first time children voiced animated characters.
When it comes to Christmas trees the fakes are just as fabulous as real trees. Ingenuity coupled with modern technology has made most faux trees fantastic. Flocked, frosted, fiber-optics, solar power ? these are just a few of the technological advances coupled with quality craftsmanship and features like realistic needles which have made it difficult to impossible to distinguish the fakes from the real thing.
Nicole is a Senior Content Specialist whose writing passion ranges from national recycling initiatives to how to find the perfect Christmas tree. She loves her dog more than most people, and she subsists almost entirely on iced coffee. When she’s not copy editing and researching for Your Best Digs, she’s usually curled up in bed with a good book or outside exploring nature.
A wreath on the front door is a welcome sign to visitors and a traditional way to decorate outdoors for the holiday. An average front door measures 36 inches across, so a 28-inch wreath could hang nicely centered on the door about a foot below the top with space on either side. To accent with an oversized look, hang a 36-inch wreath to adorn the full width of the door. If your front door is larger, you can go for a larger wreath or if you have double front doors place a matching wreath on each door for a truly festive feel.
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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.
Unlit wreaths offer plenty of variety in style with the addition of decorative embellishments - no lights attached. Many unlit wreaths are tradtionally designed with neatly tucked branches, while others have billowy twigs that expand outwards from the center. Like pre-lit wreaths, unlit ones also come in styles that mimic fir, spruce, and pine branches so it's easy to select a texture you like.
Our testing also included the Contech Enterprises TS9405 Indoor Steel Christmas Tree Stand and the currently unavailable Emerald Innovations XTS1 Swivel Straight Tree Stand For 12′ Tree (also known as the 1-Minute Tree Stand). Neither was as stable as the Tree Genie XXL or the Cinco. The Emerald Innovations started to tip at 30 Newtons of pulling force, and the Contech tipped at 25 Newtons. Performance was similar with large and small trees. Both the Emerald Innovations and Contech stands have 1½-gallon reservoirs—sufficient, but the smallest among tested models.
Aside from appreciating the quality, beauty, and value of our pick, we chose a National Tree model for a few other reasons, namely exceptionally wide availability (online, in national chain stores, and in mom-and-pop shops), diverse options (in lighting, height, girth, and other considerations) to fit everyone’s unique needs, consistently great reviews, and the solidity of 50-plus years of a family-run business.
^ Encyclopædia Britannica. 2003. The modern Christmas tree ... originated in western Germany. The main prop of a popular medieval play about Adam and Eve was a fir tree hung with apples (paradise tree) representing the Garden of Eden. The Germans set up a paradise tree in their homes on December 24, the religious feast day of Adam and Eve. They hung wafers on it (symbolizing the host, the Christian sign of redemption); in a later tradition, the wafers were replaced by cookies of various shapes. Candles, too, were often added as the symbol of Christ. In the same room, during the Christmas season, was the Christmas pyramid, a triangular construction of wood, with shelves to hold Christmas figurines, decorated with evergreens, candles, and a star. By the 16th century, the Christmas pyramid and paradise tree had merged, becoming the Christmas tree.
Unlike the fresh version made with real pine needles, an artificial Christmas wreath lasts year after year. Simply use a wreath hanger to adorn your front door each year and enjoy with no maintenance worries and no mess. Holiday wreaths also make great gifts. Double up on your purchase and spread cheer to friends, family or an elderly neighbor this holiday season.
Comparing the Cinco to our pick, Wirecutter general manager David Perpich actually finds the Cinco’s bolt-tightening work to be a benefit, as he likes to have a lot of control when positioning the tree. “My take,” he says “Krinner is easier to stand up solo. Cinco is easier to make adjustments. If someone is doing this solo and ‘good enough’ works, the Krinner is a dream. If someone has a partner or wants to ability to tweak and get it just right, cinco is way better.” We’d add the Cinco is likely to be better able to compensate for crooked trees or trees with knots or other odd shapes at the point where it attaches to the stand.
The most significant factor that sets the Krinner apart is the unique fastening mechanism that’s far simpler and easier to use than that of any other tree stand available. You simply set the tree in the stand, press several times on a foot pedal, and then five very sturdy plastic claws, looped together with a heavy-gauge metal wire, tighten down against the tree trunk to set it in position. The final pushes on the pedal snug up the claws and hold the tree securely. A sliding red button on the pedal locks it in place, but if you need to make further adjustments, it’s really no big deal to unlock the claws and reset the tree. (A slightly more expensive Deluxe version even rings a bell when the tree is secured.)
This holiday shop to find a tree that’s the perfect height, shape and type for your lifestyle. For traditional Christmas decor, consider a live tree. Starting in November, we have a huge selection of fresh-cut trees to choose from. Use our Real Christmas Tree Guide to learn more about different tree varieties and useful care tips on lighting and watering to keep your tree healthy and your home safe.