More than a decade ago, the only material used in trees was polyvinyl chloride. Now, on good trees, PVC appears only as the obviously fake filler branches near the tree’s trunk. PVC is cheaper to produce than PE, and it’s also a lot lighter, so the mixed materials help to balance beauty, cost, and weight. All the trees we considered for this guide consisted of realistic PE branch tips around a lighter, cheaper PVC core. Even though all-PVC trees are still widely available, we don’t recommend them. From a distance they look like trees, but up close they look terrible. On the plus side, however, they are cheap: A 6-foot tree shouldn’t cost more than $100. Also, what was once a genuine health concern—the use of lead as a PVC stabilizer—is no longer an issue in most artificial trees sold in the US, according to National Tree Company and the American Christmas Tree Association, which represents artificial-tree companies.
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The quick-release is one feature that really set the Cinco apart from the rest of the lower-priced stands. You know the design: Four bolts tighten against the tree trunk to stabilize it, and the bolts can thread in to grip a tree with a diameter as little as a 3½ inches. Cinco’s improvement to this standard system is that each screw has a release lever so it can be quickly snugged up against the trunk and then tightened for only the final turns. You won’t need to lie on your belly and slowly spin the entire bolt toward the tree (four times in a row).
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.
Customs of erecting decorated trees in wintertime can be traced to Christmas celebrations in Renaissance-era guilds in Northern Germany and Livonia. The first evidence of decorated trees associated with Christmas Day are trees in guildhalls decorated with sweets to be enjoyed by the apprentices and children. In Livonia (present-day Estonia and Latvia), in 1441, 1442, 1510 and 1514, the Brotherhood of Blackheads erected a tree for the holidays in their guild houses in Reval (now Tallinn) and Riga. On the last night of the celebrations leading up to the holidays, the tree was taken to the Town Hall Square, where the members of the brotherhood danced around it.
Finally, no staircase or fireplace would be complete without a dash of Christmas tree garland. Christmas garland adds a warm & festive feel to any holiday party. Hosting a night soiree? Then, Christmas garland with lights is the way to go. Lighted garland creates an elegant, warm glow for any party. And the best part? There’s pre-lit garland for the easiest holiday decor of all. Shine on.
A Charlie Brown Christmas is a 1965 animated television special based on the comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz. Produced by Lee Mendelson and directed by Bill Melendez, the program made its debut on CBS on December 9, 1965. In the special, lead character Charlie Brown finds himself depressed despite the onset of the cheerful holiday season. Lucy suggests he direct a neighborhood Christmas play, but his best efforts are ignored and mocked by his peers. After Linus tells Charlie Brown about the true meaning of Christmas, Charlie Brown cheers up, and the Peanuts gang unites to celebrate the Christmas season.
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.
National Tree Company has a warranty for its realistic pre-lit trees taller than 6½ feet, like our pick, that covers manufacturer defects for five years from the date of purchase. The lights are covered for two years. You’ll need proof and date of purchase to file a claim, and you’ll need to have treated the tree and lights with reasonable care to have your claim approved. (Details here.) The 6½-foot version of this tree also falls under that warranty, and we recommend it for smaller homes and apartments.
The John Wright company produced the L.L. Bean Heirloom Christmas tree stand so the frame is entirely made of cast iron. While this tree stand felt nigh indestructible, it didn't hold onto our Christmas tree well. On a side note, some consumers may take issue with the cast iron construction. It weighs around 20 pounds. Not an insurmountable weight, but enough that we wouldn't want to lug it in and out of the attic every Christmas.
For most homeowners, decorating for the holidays starts with the Christmas tree. Whether you own an artificial tree or put up a fresh Christmas tree each year, having the right base to support it is essential. That's why Ace carries a wide variety of Christmas tree stands to hold your tree up all season long. Shop now to find the best Christmas tree holder for your real or artificial decoration.
Color+Clear™ Lights Our exclusive Color + Clear™ remote-controlled lighting system is available in both incandescent and energy-saving LED. The handy remote lets you choose clear lights, multi-colored lights, or both. With more than 50% additional lights, your tree will still have plenty of beautiful lights even if only one light type is selected. If you choose both clear and colored lights, your tree will display more lights than any other artificial tree you will find.
A good stand can hold the tree up and make it look straight, even if the tree itself is a bit crooked. To create stability, the stand needs a heavy base to lower the tree’s center of gravity and keep it balanced. For size, it should have an opening wide enough to accommodate a roughly 4- to 6-inch trunk diameter—that’s the ballpark thickness of your average Christmas tree, which has a height of 6 or 7 feet, according to the National Christmas Tree Association.
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 (that’s four-to-five-star reviews and lots of ‘em) products and single out the most convincing. Here, because winter is coming, we’ve chosen the best artificial Christmas trees on Amazon.
We breathed a sigh of relief when we opened the box for the Krinner Tree Genie Deluxe–no assembly required. Its design allows it to handle any tree up to 8 feet tall. However, what sets the Krinner stands apart—we also tested the Krinner Tree Genie XXL, which is made for trees up to 12 feet tall—are that they require only one person to set the trees up.
There are many, many more competitors than what we list here. Given the way artificial trees are produced (described in How we picked), it’s not uncommon for companies to buy trees “off the shelf” and rebrand them under their own names. So if you can’t find one of our picks or a comparable tree from the makers listed here, you can still find an excellent tree. Here’s how.
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"!
The TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) was influential on the pop culture surrounding the Christmas tree. Aluminum Christmas trees were popular during the early 1960s in the US. They were satirized in the Charlie Brown show and came to be seen as symbolizing the commercialization of Christmas. The term Charlie Brown Christmas tree, describing any poor-looking or malformed little tree, also derives from the 1965 TV special, based on the appearance of Charlie Brown's Christmas tree.
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).
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."