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In order to help ensure your Christmas tree lasts through the holidays, you need to do your due diligence. Before you purchase a tree, make sure to give it a smell test. A fresh pine tree should have pliable needles and exude a strong scent. The bark is another indicator of freshness. If you run your hand along the trunk and you feel sticky sap, that is a sign that the tree is still in good shape.
Pre-lit trees and type of lights: While deciding whether to buy a pre-lit tree is a personal decision, we suggest that you don’t. Though the quality of string lights has improved in the past several years, you still risk the lights on your tree burning out before you’ve gotten full use of the tree. Furthermore, you usually cannot remove the lights from the tree.
Schulz's main goal for a Peanuts-based Christmas special was to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.[7] He desired to juxtapose this theme with interspersed shots of snow and ice-skating, perhaps inspired by his own childhood growing up in St. Paul, Minnesota.[7] He also created the idea for the school play, and mixing jazz with traditional Christmas carols.[7] Schulz was adamant about Linus' reading of the Bible, despite Mendelson and Melendez's concerns that religion was a controversial topic, especially on television.[9] Melendez recalled Schulz turned to him and remarked "If we don't do it, who will?".[2] Schulz's estimation proved accurate, and in the 1960s, less than 9 percent of television Christmas episodes contained a substantive reference to religion, according to university researcher Stephen Lind.[10] It could also be worth noting that the Linus's recitation of Scripture was incorporated in such a way that it forms the climax of the film, thus making it impossible to successfully edit out.
And even if you have room to store an artificial tree, bear in mind that, as Gurino noted, it won’t easily go back into its original box: “Once you fluff it, it’ll never fit exactly.” After we were done with our photo shoot, I spent about half an hour painstakingly collapsing each branch of our tree, one by one, as tight as I could against the central pole, to prep the tree for shipping. My best advice: Start from the top (the shortest branches) and end at the bottom (the longest branches). First pinch the branch tips together into a sort of bundle; then fold up the branch itself. Even after I did that, though, it made some obvious bulges in the original shipping box.
“This little tree is absolutely perfect for our downsized Christmas display this year. The base is sturdy and heavy; the burlap covering is traditional and innocuous. The tree itself was fun to ‘fluff out.’ Our tree looks just like the photo! There is plenty of greenery to give a realistic look, and generous spaces between the branches to hold our mercury-glass heirloom ornaments. The pine cones are sturdy and well-attached. The tree is on a small table to add height. We put some photos on Facebook, and have gotten great compliments! We’ll use this tree for years.”
Heading into Christmas 2017, we feel the Krinner Tree Genie XXL is still the best Christmas tree stand available. With a unique, easy-to-use, and quick tree-clamping mechanism that operates by a foot pedal, this was the only stand we tested that we could set up without an assistant. It can handle a wide variety of tree sizes, has a large 2½-gallon water reservoir, and it’s sturdy—attempting to tip it over almost broke our test equipment. It’s also the most aesthetically pleasing stand we could find.
^ The story, not recounted in the vitae written in his time, appears in a BBC Devon website, "Devon Myths and Legends", and in a number of educational storybooks, including St. Boniface and the Little Fir Tree: A Story to Color by Jenny Melmoth and Val Hayward (Warrington: Alfresco Books 1999 ISBN 1-873727-15-1), The Brightest Star of All: Christmas Stories for the Family by Carrie Papa (Abingdon Press 1999 ISBN 978-0-687-64813-9) and "How Saint Boniface Kept Christmas Eve" by Mary Louise Harvey in The American Normal Readers: Fifth Book, 207-22. Silver, Burdett and Co. 1912.
With this in mind, the trio set out to cast the characters, which proved to be a daunting process. Casting for Charlie Brown proved most difficult, as it required both good acting skills but also the ability to appear nonchalant.[14] The producers picked eight-year-old Peter Robbins, already known for his roles spanning television, film, and advertisements.[15] His godmother, famous Hollywood agent Hazel McMillen, discovered Christopher Shea, who would become Linus in the special.[15] His slight lisp, according to Mendelson, gave him a "youthful sweetness," while his emotional script reading "gave him power and authority as well."[17] Tracy Stratford played the role of Lucy, with the creators being impressed by her attitude and professionalism.[18] Kathy Steinberg was the youngest of the performers, just six years old at the time of recording. Too young to read, the producers had to give her one line at a time to recite.[18] Robbins remembered Melendez did this for him as well, joking that he also mistakenly copied his Latino accent.[2] Mendelson desired to have non-actors (not "Hollywood kids") perform on the special, and he sent tape recorders home with his employees for their children to audition.[13]
Wirecutter senior editor Erica Ogg’s parents, Steve and Debi Ogg, tested the Krinner for a year and they reported that it was “probably the best Christmas tree stand we’ve owned.” Steve was especially impressed with the easy setup, saying, “I’ve never been able to set up a Christmas tree by myself. I’ve always had to have someone else hold it up, while I’m down there [trying to screw in bolts].” With the Krinner, “I could hold it in and use the foot ratchet thing, didn’t need anyone else.”
Heading into Christmas 2017, we feel the Krinner Tree Genie XXL is still the best Christmas tree stand available. With a unique, easy-to-use, and quick tree-clamping mechanism that operates by a foot pedal, this was the only stand we tested that we could set up without an assistant. It can handle a wide variety of tree sizes, has a large 2½-gallon water reservoir, and it’s sturdy—attempting to tip it over almost broke our test equipment. It’s also the most aesthetically pleasing stand we could find.
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For a solid stand at a lower price, we like the Cinco C-144E Express. The Cinco is similar to the Krinner in terms of stability, and both maxed out our force gauge. It uses a traditional bolt-tightening method, which is nowhere near as easy to set up as the Krinner, but a quick-release on the bolts makes the Cinco’s operation faster and easier than that of similarly priced competition. Think of this as a particularly good version of your basic tree stand—you still have to crawl underneath to secure the trunk while someone helps hold the tree from the top, but at least you’ll spend a little less time down there.

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.[55] 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".[56] 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.[55]


Each year, 33 to 36 million Christmas trees are produced in America, and 50 to 60 million are produced in Europe. In 1998, there were about 15,000 growers in America (a third of them "choose and cut" farms). In that same year, it was estimated that Americans spent $1.5 billion on Christmas trees.[85] By 2016 that had climbed to $2.04 billion for natural trees and a further $1.86 billion for artificial trees. In Europe, 75 million trees worth €2.4 billion ($3.2 billion) are harvested annually.[86]
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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.
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.
“I’ve never gotten a Christmas tree because I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of picking it out, getting it home, cleaning it up, and disposing of it. But this year my mother-in-law convinced me to finally get one, so I went on Amazon and ordered this gem. It arrived in two days, and was the easiest thing ever. It comes in three parts and quickly clips together. The lights are already strung. So literally all you do is click it together, and plug it in. It’s very easy, doesn’t take long at all, and then there you have the perfect tree. We loved it. It looked amazing, and we will definitely put it up each year.”

If our pick isn’t your cup of tea, the good news is, you generally get what you pay for in artificial trees, and you can rely on a few key specs when shopping. The price directly relates to the number of branch tips, the height, and the girth—an often-overlooked factor that Gurino emphasized in our interview—and all those details contribute to the tree’s general level of realism. Pretty much all trees come out of a handful of factories in China and Taiwan to be branded and sold here, with the same tree sometimes renamed. National Tree Company representatives told us on a visit to its New Jersey headquarters that the tree sold as the Bucks County Fir in Pennsylvania may be called something totally different in Connecticut. You may very well find another brand selling a different version of the Downswept Douglas Fir, disguised by some superficial finishing touches that could suit your style better. If one of the brands we recommend has something you like, and the specs and price seem in line with our reporting, you’ve probably found your perfect tree.
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).
In case you haven't seen the movie, here is how it goes. Charlie Brown (a local boy who seems to fail in everything he does), is upset because no one has given him a Christmas card, plus all of his friends seem to have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas. All his sister wants for Christmas are toys, she says, "I want what's coming to me." Charlie buys a tiny Christmas tree for the Christmas play, but it's made fun of by his friends. Fed up with everybody, Charlie finally yells, "Does anyone know the true meaning of Christmas?" What happens next is one of the best scenes in a Christmas movie ever! Charlie's friend stands up and announces to everyone in the room the true meaning of Christmas, quoting from the Bible.

“This is a beautiful tree! When you first receive it, you might be worried that it’s too sparse, but it is packed very well, so you must take the time to fluff out each branch. Once we put the lights and ornaments on it, there were no open spaces to see between the branches. I liked that it was not as wide at the bottom as our previous tree. It took up less space width-wise and used fewer ornaments, but still has a very full look. It also doesn’t shed.”
In casting the silent comic strip characters of Peanuts, the trio pulled from their personalities.[15] Lead character Charlie Brown's voice was decided to be downbeat and nondescript ("blah," as Mendelson noted), while Lucy be bold and forthright.[15] Linus' voice, it was decided, would combine both sophistication with childlike innocence.[15] Mendelson recognized that the character of Snoopy was the strip's most popular character who seemed to seize "the best jokes," but realized they could not cast a voice for the cartoon dog. "In the process, we gained a veritable 'canine Harpo Marx,'" Mendelson later wrote.[15] Melendez suggested he provide gibberish for Snoopy's mutterings, and simply speed up the tape to prevent viewers from knowing.[15] There are no adult characters in the strip or in this special. Later specials would introduce an offscreen teacher; her lines are eschewed for the sound of a trombone as the team behind the specials found it humorous.[16]
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.[54]
Because a live Christmas tree has lots of roots you'll need more of a bucket to keep the tree fresh and healthy. This base can hold up to a nine foot tree with a whopping six inch diameter trunk. Once the stand is set up (less than five minutes) the whole tree (roots and all!) get placed into the bucket, and the turn straight system will ensure it sit prettily inside. A one-gallon basin for water keeps your tree nice and hydrated. 
A number of pre-lit wreaths are battery-operated, so no extension cord is necessary. This keeps a neat and tidy appearance wherever you put them which is great for creating a festive front door. The lights on your pre-lit wreath can even brighten a hallway or entryway. Dazzle a kitchen window with a tinsel wreath or place a large, 48-inch wreath over a bed in the guest room for a little extra holiday cheer.

In many areas, it has become customary to set up one's Christmas tree at the beginning of the Advent season.[82] Some families in the U.S. and Canada will put up a Christmas tree a week prior to American Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday of November), and Christmas decorations can show up even earlier in retail stores, often the day after Halloween (31 October). In Canada many families wait until after Remembrance Day, as to show respect to fallen soldiers. Some households do not put up the tree until the second week of December, and leave it up until 6 January (Epiphany). In Germany, traditionally the tree is put up on 24 December and taken down on 7 January, though many start one or two weeks earlier, and in Roman Catholic homes the tree may be kept until February 2 (Candlemas).[why?][citation needed]

Pope John Paul II introduced the Christmas tree custom to the Vatican in 1982. Although at first disapproved of by some as out of place at the centre of the Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican Christmas Tree has become an integral part of the Vatican Christmas celebrations,[130] and in 2005 Pope Benedict XVI spoke of it as part of the normal Christmas decorations in Catholic homes.[131] In 2004, Pope John Paul called the Christmas tree a symbol of Christ. This very ancient custom, he said, exalts the value of life, as in winter what is evergreen becomes a sign of undying life, and it reminds Christians of the "tree of life" of Genesis 2:9, an image of Christ, the supreme gift of God to humanity.[132] In the previous year he said: "Beside the crib, the Christmas tree, with its twinkling lights, reminds us that with the birth of Jesus the tree of life has blossomed anew in the desert of humanity. The crib and the tree: precious symbols, which hand down in time the true meaning of Christmas."[133] The Catholic Church's official Book of Blessings has a service for the blessing of the Christmas tree in a home.[134] Likewise the Protestant Episcopal Church in The Anglican Family Prayer Book, which has the imprimatur of The Rt. Rev. Catherine S. Roskam of the Anglican Communion, has long had a ritual titled Blessing of a Christmas Tree, as well as Blessing of a Crèche, for use in the church and the home.[135]

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".[18] 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.[18] 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.[16] 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.[22] 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.[22] 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!"[22]
At the end of the Middle Ages, an early predecessor appears referred in the Regiment of the Order of Cister around 1400, in Alcobaça, Portugal. The Regiment of the local high-Sacristans of the Cistercian Order refers to what may be considered one of the oldest references to the Christmas tree: "Note on how to put the Christmas branch, scilicet: On the Christmas eve, you will look for a large Branch of green laurel, and you shall reap many red oranges, and place them on the branches that come of the laurel, specifically as you have seen, and in every orange you shall put a candle, and hang the Branch by a rope in the pole, which shall be by the candle of the altar-mor."[21]
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