Lead serves as a stabilizer in some forms of PVC. The one serious study (PDF) we’ve seen on artificial Christmas trees, published in 2004 in the Journal of Environmental Health, found that the lead levels and risk of lead exposure were generally very low, and well below federal guidelines at the time; a few models were outliers, however, and one slightly exceeded the federal limits. Lead exposure occurred in two ways: direct contact with the branches—as may occur when people are setting the trees up and decorating them—and contact with PVC dust beneath the tree, the result of physical decomposition of the “pine needles,” a particular concern for crawling infants. Significantly, new trees (new in 2004, that is) generally showed much lower levels of lead than trees manufactured in the 1980s and 1990s. The authors concluded that while the proportion of trees made with lead-stabilized PVC had “decreased only modestly” in the 20 years preceding 2004, “the amount of lead stabilizer used has been reduced to a much larger extent,” suggesting a long-term trend toward low-lead or lead-free artificial trees.
If the National Tree and GE picks are unavailable, this Home Accents Holiday tree is a worthy alternative. It’s only 21 percent polyethylene—barely half our pick’s percentage—and up close, the fakey PVC needles that make up most of its foliage are pretty obvious. But its high branch-tip count (2,602 versus our pick’s 1,867) gives it a full, realistic appearance when viewed from across the room, and its greater girth (68 versus 59 inches) will fill even the largest living space. Like our other picks, its lights (750, same as our top pick) can switch between white and multicolored; and as on our GE also-great pick, the light strings connect automatically when you assemble the tree.
A Bremen guild chronicle of 1570 reports that a small tree decorated with "apples, nuts, dates, pretzels and paper flowers" was erected in the guild-house for the benefit of the guild members' children, who collected the dainties on Christmas Day. In 1584, the pastor and chronicler Balthasar Russow in his Chronica der Provinz Lyfflandt (1584) wrote of an established tradition of setting up a decorated spruce at the market square, where the young men "went with a flock of maidens and women, first sang and danced there and then set the tree aflame".
When it comes to Christmas trees the fakes are just as fabulous as real trees. Ingenuity coupled with modern technology has made most faux trees fantastic. Flocked, frosted, fiber-optics, solar power ? these are just a few of the technological advances coupled with quality craftsmanship and features like realistic needles which have made it difficult to impossible to distinguish the fakes from the real thing.
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.
A feature that’s available only with LEDs is the ability to toggle between all-white and multicolor light—but most artificial trees are still sold with only one color mode or the other. Our pick is one of the relatively few that come with color-switching lights (and we made sure that all our other picks in this guide have this ability, too). We think this versatility is a big selling point for a tree you’ll have around for several seasons, and possibly multiple settings and occasions. For example, you could use all-white for a more sophisticated look during a grown-up holiday party and use the multicolor mode when the mood is more festive. Or you could just do something different from year to year so that it doesn’t seem like the same tree every Christmas.
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.
The Sweethome (now Wirecutter) listed the Cinco Express as the runner-up for best tree stand. They liked that the reservoir has an overflow basin to catch drips and that it's easy to fill. Thoroughly Reviewed also ranked this model as one of its top three Christmas tree stands because it is convenient, stores easily, and involves effortless installation for live trees.
JCPenney has a great selection of Christmas trees for sale at affordable prices. A Balsam Fir pre lit Christmas tree is an elegant choice, offering a full, natural shape with lots of branches for ornaments, available in multicolor or clear lights and a sturdy stand. Another artificial Christmas tree option is a frosted pine that’s hand-painted to create a snow-dusted look across its full branches. Clear lights assist in a creating a winter wonderland you’ll love. If you’re short on space, or just want another tree for a different part of the house, go for a corner tree in a convenient wedge shape. Always a classic, a pure white Christmas tree is a sure crowd pleaser, with multi-tip branches, clear lights and full, low profile. For a full, natural-looking downswept shape, look no further than a mixed pine tree that comes with either clear or multicolor lights.
This festive 48 in. Pre-Lit Natural Royal Grand This festive 48 in. Pre-Lit Natural Royal Grand Spruce Artificial Christmas Wreath is a beautiful centerpiece for doors windows or above the mantel. It has pure white micro-style and multicolored faceted LEDs that use up to 80% less energy than incandescent lighting keeping your electricity costs minimized all season long. ... More + Product Details Close
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.