During most of the 1970s and 1980s, the largest decorated Christmas tree in the world was put up every year on the property of the National Enquirer in Lantana, Florida. This tradition grew into one of the most spectacular and celebrated events in the history of southern Florida, but was discontinued on the death of the paper's founder in the late 1980s.
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.
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.
Testing came in three phases looking at assembly, usage, and stability. During the assembly stage, we always tried to set up the stands without looking at the instructions first. It’s not because all the testers were men–mostly. A Christmas tree stand should last for years and from season to season, instructions get lost. Intuitive design is a must. We used a seven-and-a-half foot tall Fraser fir. After surveying our office and researching the average ceiling height for American households, we decided to get a tree that was no taller than eight feet, but not shorter than seven.
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.
As for flaws, the Cinco is quite large. Huge, in fact. At about 2 feet in diameter and roughly 10 inches tall, it takes up some real estate and smaller tree skirts won’t be able to cover it. Because it has the capacity to hold a 12-foot tree, the screws on the Cinco don’t extend far enough to grip a tree with a trunk diameter less than 3½ inches (which, in our test, was about a 6-foot-8 tree). If you’re planning on having a smaller tree, Cinco also offers the C-148E, which has the same quick-release system, but is just sized down a little.
A little pricey, but you won’t find a stand that’s easier to use—and that includes when you’re stuck putting the tree up by yourself. Unlike most stands, which require you to screw in three or four long threaded bolts, the Krinner has a simple foot pedal. Pump it up and down and five claws slowly close in on and grip your tree. All you have to do is hold it up straight. The XXL fits trees up to 12 feet tall with trunk diameters up to seven inches. That might be overkill for most families, but you’d much rather have a stand that’s too big than come home to find out that your tree won’t fit. There’s a convenient water level indicator, too.
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The product holds trees up to 10 feet tall with trunks up to 6 inches in diameter. They use a speed nut design that allows you to easily and quickly push stabilizing bolts into the base of the tree without tediously turning the bolt. Once the bolt makes contact with the trunk, simply tighten the bolt to secure and straighten your tree upright. It's easy as one, two, tree! It features a 1-gallon water reservoir and a wide drip lip at the base to prevent any water from getting on your floor if...
Over the years, other styles of artificial Christmas trees have evolved and become popular. In 1930, the U.S.-based Addis Brush Company created the first artificial Christmas tree made from brush bristles. Another type of artificial tree is the aluminum Christmas tree, first manufactured in Chicago in 1958, and later in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, where the majority of the trees were produced. Most modern artificial Christmas trees are made from plastic recycled from used packaging materials, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Approximately 10% of artificial Christmas trees are using virgin suspension PVC resin; despite being plastic most artificial trees are not recyclable or biodegradable.
“I wanted a little tabletop tree strung with only blue lights for a kind of retro look in my remodeled contemporary reading/puzzle/coffee room. The quality of the tree is excellent. The silver is nice and shiny, as well as soft. The branches are easily bent into place. The stand was easy to assemble. It is exactly what I wanted and a great value for the money. Very happy with my purchase.”
The GE 7.5’ Just Cut EZ Light Frasier Fir Dual Color LED has many favorable specs compared with our top pick from National Tree. It’s the same height and width, but it has more branch tips for a fuller appearance (2,076 versus 1,867). Like our top pick, the GE lets you switch between white and multicolor lighting modes; in addition, the GE model’s light strings connect automatically via the central pole as you assemble the three sections of the tree, a minor but handy feature that our top pick lacks. But we are especially fond of the way GE’s LED Christmas lights look—in our test, we found them to come closest to the familiar warm glow of incandescent bulbs. However, the GE has 600 lights, versus our top pick’s 750, meaning it falls just short of our recommended 100 bulbs 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, but up close you may find the GE slightly more artificial-looking.
Ease of assembly, disassembly and storage: Most of the artificial trees on the market (including the ones on our list) come in three parts that are easy to click together. However, the process of “fluffing” the tree (spreading the tips apart and arranging the branches) can be time consuming. The more time you spend fluffing your tree, the better it will look. More on that later.
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.
The other major complaint is a loss of tension in the ratchet and claw mechanism, which can let a tree topple over. Other Amazon users have experienced failure of the locking mechanism. According to the manufacturer, this problem can be eliminated by using a small padlock to secure the lock toggle in place (you could also use a little bolt).If you have these or any other major problems, the Krinner is backed by a five-year warranty.
We looked at, but didn’t test, the Santa’s Solution Steel Extreme. This expensive stand accommodates trunks up to 7 inches in diameter and has a 2-gallon water well. The name is quite apt: The Steel Extreme is imposing, but it still uses only the traditional bolt design. If you can spend this much on a stand, save a few bucks and get the much simpler Krinner.
“Let’s face it, this tree stand is made for people who LOVE Christmas. They love it so much that they want to enjoy every minute of it, not ruin it with the stress, squabbles, broken ornaments, broken dreams, and broken relationships that come with putting up a real Christmas tree in one of those pathetic screw-based stands that just flat-out suck. For the past four years, we’ve gotten our 10- to 12-foot trees up, straight, and secure in the German-engineered-and-built Genie XXL in under TWO MINUTES each time. True story. If you insist on a live tree to make the most of your Christmas season, insist on a Krinner Genie XXL to put it in. You won’t be disappointed!”
Balsam Hill is the top-selling artificial-tree brand in the US, and it offers an extraordinary array of top-quality trees in three ranges of realism. After viewing and handling examples in person, we consider its Realistic line comparable overall to National Tree’s Feel Real series. Both have a mix of realistic PE branch tips and plasticky PVC filler branches. And both do a great job of fooling the eye. An exact apples-to-apples comparison isn’t possible (due to differences in lighting options, for example), but Balsam Hill’s trees tend to feature more branch tips and light bulbs at a given height-width combination.
“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.”
Animation for A Charlie Brown Christmas was created by Bill Melendez Productions. Mendelson had no idea whether or not completing a half-hour's worth of animation would be possible given the production's six-month schedule, but Melendez confirmed its feasibility. In actuality, animation was only completed in the final four months of production. CBS initially wanted an hour's worth of animation, but Melendez talked them down to a half-hour special, believing an hour of television animation was too much. Having never worked on a half-hour special before, Melendez phoned Bill Hanna of Hanna-Barbera for advice, but Hanna declined to give any. CBS gave a budget of $76,000 to produce the show and it went $20,000 over budget. The first step in creating the animation was to make a pencil drawing, afterwards inking and painting the drawing onto a cel. The cel was then placed onto a painted background. There are 13,000 drawings in the special, with 12 frames per second to create the illusion of movement.
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.
The program's script has been described as "barebones", and was completed in only a few weeks. In the days following the special's sell to Coca-Cola, Mendelson and animator Bill Melendez met with Schulz in his home to expand upon the ideas promised in the pitch. Mendelson noted that on the previous Christmas Day he and his spouse had read Hans Christian Andersen's "The Fir-Tree" to their children. Schulz countered with the idea that there be a tree with the spirit of lead character Charlie Brown. Mendelson suggested they employ a laugh track, a staple of television animation, but Schulz rejected this idea immediately. He felt strongly that the audience should not be informed on when to laugh. They spoke at length about creating an official theme that was neither jazz nor traditional to open the program. Schulz wanted a part of the special to feature the character of Schroeder performing Beethoven, and Mendelson combined this with the inclusion of Guaraldi's "Linus & Lucy" number. Schulz penned the script for A Charlie Brown Christmas, with Melendez plotting out the animation via a storyboard. His storyboard contained six panels for each shot, spanning a combined eighty or-so pages.
This Kurt Adler Musical Charlie Brown Tree is a fun, festive way to add to your holiday décor! This tree resembles the poor, bare tree Charlie Brown lovingly chooses for the Christmas play in the animated holiday classic, "A Charlie Brown Christmas". This musical tree is bent over with sparse needles on each branch, and has one red ball ornament hanging from the branches. It rests on a crossed brown stand. When activated, the tree plays the signature Peanuts theme song, "Linus and Lucy"!
Your Christmas decor isn't quite complete without a Christmas wreath! At Kirkland's, we have a beautiful selection of artificial Christmas wreaths and wreath hangers to help get your home holiday ready. We even offer pre-lit Christmas wreaths that let you add a glow to your decor. Whether it hangs on your door or above your mantel, keep the Christmas tradition with a Christmas wreath.
After a lifetime of owning live trees, we found the National Tree model to be far more manageable to set up—no messy needles dropping, obviously, and it was also easier to assemble in its separate sections versus hoisting a 7-foot fir into position. Not having to water it or worry about its health is also a relief. The one missing element was that fresh piney scent filling the house (for the first few days at least), so we picked up a “balsam and fir” scented candle—problem solved, and highly recommended.
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.