Next, we consulted review sites like Wirecutter and cultivation sites like New York Magazine to get a more well-rounded view of the trees on the market. And finally, we browsed home decorating sites like Good Housekeeping to see which artificial trees they liked best. From there, we charted all of the trees and their specs (like height and material) to compare and contrast which ones were best.
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.
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.
Material and flocking: Consider whether you want a tree flocked with fake snow (or glitter) or if you want something more realistic. You may also want to choose a tree that’s made with more Polyethylene (PE) than PVC, since PE is thought to pose less health risk. If you read the fine print, many tree companies will tell you what percentage of PE their tree is made with (if any).
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.
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.
Give the hanging wreath a break, and incorporate one into your table setting. Here, we spruced up a boxwood wreath with succulents, eucalyptus sprigs, and gold ribbon and placed a grouping of mismatched green candles in the center. If guests are coming, add a few fresh white tulips to the wreath with florist water picks and light the candles. Because this is a low arrangement, dinner-party conversations will flow easily all night.
With 1,867 lifelike polyethylene branch tips, this Downswept Douglas Fir model is thickly covered and shows no gaps. And at 37 percent polyethylene, it has a higher proportion of realistic foliage—and lower proportion of fakey PVC “pine needles”—than our GE and Home Accent Holiday picks. It’s also priced competitively with models offering similar quality and similar height, girth, and tip-count specs. Note, however, that the price of the Downswept Douglas Fir varies considerably between retailers; we’ve seen it listed for as low as $400 and as high as $800. It may ease the sting to remember that you’re making at least a 10-year investment.
Whether you pick a blue spruce or a balsam fir, you put all that effort into finding and cutting down the perfect Christmas tree—don't let it go to waste. The right Christmas tree stand can help keep your tree stable, hydrated, and alive longer (not to mention, help you show off your tree's best side), so they're worth the investment—unless you plan to go the artificial tree route.
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.
For this guide, we gave ourselves a crash course in artificial Christmas trees. Wirecutter editor Tim Heffernan visited a fake-tree manufacturer’s New Jersey headquarters, shopped for trees at several big-box stores, and spent hours examining trees at House of Holiday—New York City’s largest holiday shop—whose owner Larry Gurino “love[s] to geek out over artificial trees.” Gurino’s deep knowledge greatly added to this guide, as did the time we spent shopping and researching the hundreds of options online. Wirecutter research editor Courtney Schley spent hours speaking with the American Christmas Tree Association, which represents artificial-tree makers, to understand the industry itself, including manufacturing processes, sales and design trends, and statistics.
In a design common to modern artificial trees, the Downswept Douglas Fir’s branches are all permanently mounted on hinges on the center pole (older artificial trees required you to attach branches individually via sockets), and like most trees its height, it comes in three sections. As you set the tree up and the branches fold out, you need to fluff them: Just pull the individual tips apart into spreading clusters, adjust the arrangement of branches to close any gaps, and generally prettify the tree. House of Holiday’s Larry Gurino strongly recommends fluffing as you go—do the bottom section first, then put the middle section in place and fluff it, and finally top and fluff. This technique makes the job much easier than trying to fluff the whole thing at once. We followed his advice when setting up our Downswept Douglas Fir for our photo shoot, and we had the whole thing put together and looking great in less than 15 minutes.
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.
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.
By the early 1960s, Charles M. Schulz's comic strip Peanuts had become a sensation worldwide. Television producer Lee Mendelson acknowledged the strip's cultural impression and had an idea for a documentary on its success, phoning Schulz to propose the idea. Schulz, an avid baseball fan, recognized Mendelson from his documentary on ballplayer Willie Mays, A Man Named Mays, and invited him to his home in Sebastopol, California, to discuss the project. Their meeting was cordial, with the plan to produce a half-hour documentary set. Mendelson wanted to feature roughly "one or two" minutes of animation, and Schulz suggested animator Bill Melendez, with whom he collaborated some years before on a spot for the Ford Motor Company.
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.)
The pint-sized Home Accents Holiday – 5 Foot Pine with Clear Lights comes pre-trimmed with clear lights. It arrives in two pieces that you slide together. Then you fluff it, plug it in and it’s ready for ornaments. Most reviewers shared that this entire process took them less than an hour. This little tree is compact and festive, especially for the sub- $50 dollar price point. One big negative? The bulbs are incandescent. However, there are a good amount of them for such a small tree, and we found that they cast a nice warm glow when we examined this tree in person.
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.)
In anticipation of Christmas, I ordered, received and used Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree 2 weeks before the 25th. I use it Every time I have come home by triggering the music button. While the tune is redundant, it has a happy pleasant rhythm to it and keeps me in that great pre-Xmas spirit. In fact, on Christmas day my son-in-law immediately recognized Charlie Brown's Christmas song and pined for such a gift next year. I intend to order this wonderful symbolic leaning tree with lonely ornament in 2012 to add to his annual pleasure.
^ 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'.)
If you want to pay slightly less—or you just prefer to string your own lights—National Tree Company’s 7½-foot, unlit Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir (PEDD1-503-75) is a great tree at a great price. It’s as tall and wide as our pick, with the same number of branch tips to give it that same full, room-filling form. It’s also identical in construction, with the same realistic polyethylene branch tips and PVC core. Simply losing the lights saves you more money than you might expect: This model is usually well over $100 cheaper than our main pick. But remember—if you don’t already own Christmas lights, you’ll eat up most of that savings buying them. (For smaller homes and apartments, we also recommend the 6½-foot version of this tree).
A Christmas tree is a decorated tree, usually an evergreen conifer such as spruce, pine, or fir or an artificial tree of similar appearance, associated with the celebration of Christmas. The modern Christmas tree was developed in medieval Livonia (present-day Estonia and Latvia) and early modern Germany, where Protestant Germans brought decorated trees into their homes. It acquired popularity beyond the Lutheran areas of Germany and the Baltic countries during the second half of the 19th century, at first among the upper classes.