^ 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.
For those of you who elect to go the artificial tree, this 360 degree rotating model is your most reliable option. It’s made for artificial Christmas trees up to one-and-a-quarter inches in diameter and up to eight-and-a-half feet tall. The base even features a control box which contains two switches, one for turning on lights, and the other for rotating. So whether you’re trimming the tree, or simply showing off its full decorated state, it’s an item that’s there to help. Once done, simply switch the easy on/off button to put it to rest for the remainder of the night!
Contrary to that apprehension, A Charlie Brown Christmas received high ratings and acclaim from critics. It has since been honored with both an Emmy and Peabody Award. It became an annual broadcast in the United States, and has been aired during the Christmas season traditionally every year since its premiere. Its success paved the way for a series of Peanuts television specials and films. Its jazz soundtrack also achieved commercial success, selling 4 million copies in the US. Live theatrical versions of A Charlie Brown Christmas have been staged. ABC currently holds the rights to the special and broadcasts it at least twice during the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Other sources have offered a connection between the first documented Christmas trees in Alsace around 1600 and pre-Christian traditions. For example, according to the Encyclopædia Britannica, "The use of evergreen trees, wreaths, and garlands to symbolize eternal life was a custom of the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews. Tree worship was common among the pagan Europeans and survived their conversion to Christianity in the Scandinavian customs of decorating the house and barn with evergreens at the New Year to scare away the devil and of setting up a tree for the birds during Christmas time."
Cost: The cost of artificial Christmas trees varies dramatically. And, while it’s true that higher cost is usually synonymous with a higher branch tip count and better looking tree, there are some bargains out there that look pretty realistic for an affordable price. The trees on our list run the gambit in cost, starting at about $20 (for a tiny apartment-sized tree) to over $100 for one of our top contenders. Though all of our picks fall under $200, it’s not unheard of to drop nearly half a grand for a tree.
Artificial Christmas trees aren’t for everyone. If they are your cup of tea, though, it makes sense to invest in one that’s attractive, functional and good quality for the price. We recommend the Best Choice Products – Premium Spruce to satisfy that trifecta. It looks full and festive, and comes together quickly with under an hour of setup. At less than $100, it’s also great quality for a low price. The National Tree Company – North Valley Spruce is another excellent choice. It’s the easiest and most convenient tree to set up in under an hour and its varied-length branch tips make it look more realistic. If you need a small tree, the Home Accents Holiday – 3 Foot Unlit Tacoma Pine is a quality investment with its soft branch tips and below $20 price point.
A final drawback: The Krinner is expensive. At about $90, it is definitely on the high end of the tree stand price scale, but it’s significantly better than all the other stands we tested. We feel its multiple advantages make it worth the price—and a lot of the positive Amazon reviews are written by customers who hesitated to spend so much but ultimately felt it was worth 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.
Height and dimensions: Consider the height of the tree you’d like to purchase, bearing in mind that you’ll need to access the top of the tree for decorating. If the ceilings in your home are within the standard (American) eight to nine foot range, a 7.5 foot tree is probably ideal for you. The dimensions of the tree you purchase should be dependent on where you’re displaying it. If you’re placing it in a small corner, a narrow tree is best, whereas a tree with a wide girth is best for a front and center display.
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, and in 2005 Pope Benedict XVI spoke of it as part of the normal Christmas decorations in Catholic homes. 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. 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." The Catholic Church's official Book of Blessings has a service for the blessing of the Christmas tree in a home. 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.
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.
As with most tree stands, watering the tree’s reservoir is still a chore, and you have to be careful when filling it. The majority of the Krinner’s reservoir is enclosed, and there is only a small space near the trunk for watering. You could make the case that this narrow opening has advantages—pets will not be able to easily drink from it and gifts are less likely to fall into it. The gauge that tells you how much water is in the stand also has a very clear “Stop” indicator that shows when you’ve filled it enough. However, there is no overflow tray, a feature some other stands have that we’d like to have seen here.
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.
Water Basin: To keep your tree hydrated throughout the holiday season, look for Christmas tree stands that can hold the recommended amount of water your tree needs. Trees that are 6 feet tall require about a gallon of water a day, while taller trees need around 1.5 to 1.75 gallons a day. Be sure to water your tree every day. A dry Christmas tree is a major fire hazard. Plus, not watering your Christmas tree will cause it to shed its pine needles and lose its brilliance.
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.
In 2013, we took our top four stands to Adams Nurseries in Lancaster, New York, where the staff members generously loaned us a pair of trees to set up and take down. Both of our test trees were Douglas firs, one of the most common Christmas trees sold in the US. One was 6 feet 8 inches tall with a trunk diameter of 3½ inches, and the other was 8 feet 4 inches tall with a trunk diameter of 5½ inches—a fairly typical span between large and small, which let us gauge how well each stand could handle most people’s trees.
The Jack-Post 519-ST Oasis Tree Stand falls behind the competition because of how difficult it is to use. First, five bolts need to be screwed in and secured. We understand the more angles that you come in from the more likely the tree will become straight, but if you're going to use five bolts give them larger handles to prevent fatigue. However, we have to give the Jack-Post props for being stable. Its vague star shape dispersed most of the force when we struck it with our testing weight. It barely moved an inch.
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.
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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.
Much of the situation is due to the way artificial trees are manufactured: Almost all of them come out of a handful of factories in Taiwan and China. So while the companies selling the trees specify the details of their designs, the companies making the trees use similar materials and even many of the same basic components. That means you will be able to find a great artificial tree, even if it’s not our pick.
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A Christmas tree is the centerpiece of your holiday decorations, so you want to find the perfectly designed real or artificial Christmas tree (also known as a pop up Christmas tree) for your home. After all, Christmas trees are where you and your loved ones will gather on Christmas morning to spend time with one another and open presents. Selecting the right Christmas tree can be difficult because you want to make sure it fits well into your space. Do you want a faux Christmas tree or a real Christmas tree? Before purchasing a real or fake Christmas tree, make sure that you decide where you would like to place it in your home and measure the space. Do not forget to take into account the height of your tree topper when measuring Christmas trees. Typically, a tree topper takes up 4-6 inches of space. Ensure that your Christmas tree will fit in your home by measuring the height of your room before heading online to purchase a tree. If a real Christmas tree isn't for you, make sure to take a look through our huge selection of artificial Christmas trees.