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.

If you long for the beautiful glow of lights on your tree but dread untangling the wires, Balsam Hill's pre-lit Christmas trees are the answer. All of our lights are UL® approved and professionaly strung on the tree by hand to minimize the appearance of wires. Each of our pre-lit trees for indoor use come with premium commercial grade lights so that if one bulb burns out or is removed, the rest stay lit. We have a wide variety of pre-lit lighting options to suit every decorating need.


Number of branch tips and shedding: If you’ve already started perusing through faux trees online, you’ve noticed that many companies specify the number of branch tips on their trees. This is because there’s a direct connection between number of tips and realism. More tips yield a more realistic tree. And just like real Christmas trees, these branch tips are also bound to shed some needles. This is especially true the first time you take the tree out of the box and set it up. The best fake Christmas trees will shed less with each year of use.
Best Reviews included the National Tree Company stand in its look at the best Christmas tree stands because of the small footprint afforded by the folding design. However, the reviewers didn't like that the locking mechanism sometimes snaps off. The Tree Stand liked this model because of its durability and stability. Top Guide Pro appreciated that it was easy to adjust and store.
Pre-lit wreaths have lights strung into them that are often permenently attached. You can choose between white and multicolored lights, as well as bulb types with various LED and incandescent bulb options. LED bulbs are known for their energy efficiency and longevity, while incandescent bulbs tend to provide a warmer glow than their LED counterparts. Keep in mind, pre-lit wreaths tend to be slightly heavier than the unlit variety so be sure to hang them from supportive wreath hooks or stands.
The Black & Decker Smart Stand has a unique design that includes three sharp metal blades that grip a tree’s trunk after it’s been dropped into the stand, with no need to tighten anything. But it’s gotten a lot of negative reviews on Amazon. The Steel Welded Large Tree Stand and the Resin Tree Stand, like so many others, hold the tree with four bolts that must be threaded the entire way in. The water reservoir is also much smaller than those of the Krinner and Cinco. The Holiday Time Christmas Tree Stand is inexpensive but looks flimsy and also supports the tree with simple bolts.
However, once the branches are in place, they stay formed exactly how you set them. The Best Choice tree branches also sit higher off the ground than the NTC tree, meaning that you can easily slide gifts underneath. It had minimal shedding when we set it up, requiring just one quick sweep of a broom to undo the damage. And at less than $90, this tree is also one of the best deals of the holiday season.

The most significant factor that sets the Krinner apart is the unique fastening mechanism that’s far simpler and easier to use than that of any other tree stand available. You simply set the tree in the stand, press several times on a foot pedal, and then five very sturdy plastic claws, looped together with a heavy-gauge metal wire, tighten down against the tree trunk to set it in position. The final pushes on the pedal snug up the claws and hold the tree securely. A sliding red button on the pedal locks it in place, but if you need to make further adjustments, it’s really no big deal to unlock the claws and reset the tree. (A slightly more expensive Deluxe version even rings a bell when the tree is secured.)

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.
Tired of your Christmas Tree Stand falling over and breaking your priceless family Christmas tree ornaments don't settle for a weak undersized plastic Christmas tree stand. Buy this Live Tree Stand, made from heavy duty powder coated steel and backed by a limited lifetime warranty, these Christmas Live Tree Stands are truly the last Christmas Tree Stand you will ever buy.
People often overlook the fact that they’ll need to store an artificial tree for 10 or 11 months out of the year, Gurino pointed out. And lack of storage space is the main reason, he added, that city and apartment dwellers favor live trees. (He also noted that when live trees get thrown out, they often become free mulch for public parks—in effect, they’re recycled.) Our tree, after being packed up after the photo shoot, took up a corner of our test space for a month before we were able to send it off to another Wirecutter editor for long-term testing. So unless you have lots of storage room in your place, a live tree may make more sense.
Several cities in the United States with German connections lay claim to that country's first Christmas tree: Windsor Locks, Connecticut, claims that a Hessian soldier put up a Christmas tree in 1777 while imprisoned at the Noden-Reed House,[57] while the "First Christmas Tree in America" is also claimed by Easton, Pennsylvania, where German settlers purportedly erected a Christmas tree in 1816. In his diary, Matthew Zahm of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, recorded the use of a Christmas tree in 1821, leading Lancaster to also lay claim to the first Christmas tree in America.[58] Other accounts credit Charles Follen, a German immigrant to Boston, for being the first to introduce to America the custom of decorating a Christmas tree.[59] August Imgard, a German immigrant living in Wooster, Ohio, is said to be the first to popularize the practice of decorating a tree with candy canes.[citation needed] In 1847, Imgard cut a blue spruce tree from a woods outside town, had the Wooster village tinsmith construct a star, and placed the tree in his house, decorating it with paper ornaments, gilded nuts and Kuchen.[60] German immigrant Charles Minnegerode accepted a position as a professor of humanities at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1842, where he taught Latin and Greek. Entering into the social life of the Virginia Tidewater, Minnigerode introduced the German custom of decorating an evergreen tree at Christmas at the home of law professor St. George Tucker, thereby becoming another of many influences that prompted Americans to adopt the practice at about that time.[61] An 1853 article on Christmas customs in Pennsylvania defines them as mostly "German in origin", including the Christmas tree, which is "planted in a flower pot filled with earth, and its branches are covered with presents, chiefly of confectionary, for the younger members of the family." The article distinguishes between customs in different states however, claiming that in New England generally "Christmas is not much celebrated", whereas in Pennsylvania and New York it is.[62]
In a design common to modern artificial trees, the Downswept Douglas Fir’s branches are all permanently mounted on hinges on the center pole (older artificial trees required you to attach branches individually via sockets), and like most trees its height, it comes in three sections. As you set the tree up and the branches fold out, you need to fluff them: Just pull the individual tips apart into spreading clusters, adjust the arrangement of branches to close any gaps, and generally prettify the tree. House of Holiday’s Larry Gurino strongly recommends fluffing as you go—do the bottom section first, then put the middle section in place and fluff it, and finally top and fluff. This technique makes the job much easier than trying to fluff the whole thing at once. We followed his advice when setting up our Downswept Douglas Fir for our photo shoot, and we had the whole thing put together and looking great in less than 15 minutes.
Pre-lit wreaths have lights strung into them that are often permenently attached. You can choose between white and multicolored lights, as well as bulb types with various LED and incandescent bulb options. LED bulbs are known for their energy efficiency and longevity, while incandescent bulbs tend to provide a warmer glow than their LED counterparts. Keep in mind, pre-lit wreaths tend to be slightly heavier than the unlit variety so be sure to hang them from supportive wreath hooks or stands.
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When shopping for the right Christmas tree stand, there are a few specifications you must take note of. Most importantly, how large of a tree will the stand accommodate? If you like to make full use of your vaulted ceiling with a large real tree, make sure you can fit your 12-foot-tall tree in the stand base. Likewise, artificial trees generally have skinny poles that will only fit in specific models. We make it clear what type and size of tree are best for each stand.
The program's script has been described as "barebones", and was completed in only a few weeks.[13] 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.[8] Schulz countered with the idea that there be a tree with the spirit of lead character Charlie Brown.[14] Mendelson suggested they employ a laugh track, a staple of television animation, but Schulz rejected this idea immediately.[14] He felt strongly that the audience should not be informed on when to laugh.[13] 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.[14] 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.[14]
“I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it when I first assembled it. But it’s perfect! Now that it’s all decorated and in its special spot, it’s really pretty. I like the fact that it is not really full, as we have a very small house and a full tree takes up too much space. This one is perfect. I also like the fact that the tree trunk shows! I am thinking that I can remove the Christmas ornaments and leave it up. Will put some ‘non-Christmas’ things on it and leave it up all year! Love it.”
True Needle™ Technology Balsam Hill's exclusive True Needle&tade; evergreen foliage is used to create our most realistic and luxurious artificial Christmas trees. This ultrarealistic foliage is created with injection-molded PE plastic and several different colors of pigment to mimic the structure, texture, and color of natural evergreen needles. A unique feature of True Needle™ foliage is the color variations within the branches. For example, the branch might be a brown/green while the needles start off a dark green and slowly fade to a lighter green.
The soundtrack for the special was recorded during these sessions, with decisions regarding timing and phrasing determined quickly. Guaraldi brought in bassist Fred Marshall and drummer Jerry Granelli to record the music, and spent time later re-recording earlier tracks, including covers of "The Christmas Song" and "Greensleeves." The eventual LP release credited Guaraldi solely, neglecting to mention the other musicians; Guaraldi was notorious for never keeping records of his session players.[23] Nearly three decades later, in an effort to correct the matter, Fantasy surmised that the recordings with Budwig and Bailey were employed in the special, while Marshall and Granelli recorded the album.[23] Despite this, other individuals have come forward claiming to have recorded the special's music: bassists Eugene Firth and Al Obidinski, and drummers Paul Distel and Benny Barth. Firth and Distil are noted as performers on a studio-session report Guaraldi filed for the American Federation of Musicians.[23]

The soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas is an unorthodox mix of traditional Christmas music and jazz. The jazz portions were created by the Vince Guaraldi Trio. Producer Lee Mendelson, a fan of jazz, heard Guaraldi's crossover hit "Cast Your Fate to the Wind" on the radio not long after completion of his documentary Charlie Brown & Charles Schulz, and contacted the musician to produce music for the special.[4] Guaraldi composed the music for the project, creating an entire piece, "Linus and Lucy," to serve as the theme.[5] When Coca-Cola commissioned A Charlie Brown Christmas in spring 1965, Guaraldi returned to write the music.[2] The first instrumentals for the special were recorded by Guaraldi at Glendale, California's Whitney Studio with bassist Monty Budwig and drummer Colin Bailey.[21] Recycling "Linus and Lucy" from the earlier special, Guaraldi completed two new originals for the special, "Skating", and "Christmas Time Is Here".[21] In the weeks preceding the premiere, Mendelson encountered trouble finding a lyricist for Guaraldi's instrumental intro, and penned "Christmas Time is Here" in "about 15 minutes" on the backside of an envelope.[9]
^ Jump up to: a b Crump, William D. (15 September 2001). The Christmas Encyclopedia, 3d ed. McFarland. p. 386. ISBN 9780786468270. Christmas trees in the countryside did not appear until World War I, although Slovenians of German ancestry were decorating trees before then. Traditionally, the family decorates their Christmas tree on Christmas Eve with electric lights, tinsel, garlands, candy canes, other assorted ornaments, and topped with an angel figure or star. The tree and Nativity scene remain until Candlemas (February 2), when they are removed.

Many other stands didn’t offer the minimum water capacity of 1½ gallons, including a smaller stand made by Emerald Innovations, Bowling’s Last Stand, Krinner’s smaller Tree Genie M, and the Swivel Straight. We passed over several for having ultracomplicated fastening systems, like the Standtastic Stand, which requires you to screw wood screws into the tree (a huge pain if you need to adjust the tree after setting it up). The E.Z. H20 and the Omega Tree Stand have poor Amazon reviews.
The show's glowing reviews were highlighted with an ad in trade magazines;[30] one thanked Coca-Cola, CBS, United Features Syndicate, and the show's viewers.[28] Fantasy released the special's soundtrack the first week of December 1965, coinciding with the special's airdate.[31] United Feature Syndicate pushed hard to promote the special, while Word Publishing issued a hardcover adaption of the special.[31] CBS promptly ordered four additional Peanuts specials.[9] A Charlie Brown Christmas was awarded the Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's Program in 1966. "Charlie Brown is not used to winning, so we thank you," Schulz joked.[2]
We tested the Krinner on two trees: a 6-foot-8 tree, which we put up unassisted, and a bigger 8-foot-4 tree, which was easier with a second person. As long as you can heave the tree into the Krinner’s open jaws, you may be able to manage it on your own. This is a huge distinction between the Krinner and basically every other stand, which forces you to get down on your belly to tighten individual bolts. Even for a smaller tree, that’s nearly impossible to do without help.

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.
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.
This lightweight plastic stand weighs less than 3 pounds and holds trunks up to 7 inches. You’ll need two people to install your tree—and occasionally you’ll have to pick the tree up a second time in order to slam it back down into the stand with enough force to get the spikes in the base to dig into the trunk—but you can’t beat the price. The reservoir holds two gallons, so you might even be able to skip a day of watering with this thing.

The Drymate® Christmas tree mat is the perfect solution to protecting floors and carpets during the holiday season. Place this waterproof mat under your Christmas tree stand for worry-free watering. The super absorbent top layer collects drips and spills, while the waterproof backing prevents soak through, keeping moisture away from surfaces below. Made from a soft, pliable material, the Drymate® Christmas tree mat can be stored compactly with other seasonal decorations. Machine washable for...
Unlike the fresh version made with real pine needles, an artificial Christmas wreath lasts year after year. Simply use a wreath hanger to adorn your front door each year and enjoy with no maintenance worries and no mess. Holiday wreaths also make great gifts. Double up on your purchase and spread cheer to friends, family or an elderly neighbor this holiday season.

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.


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.[8] In actuality, animation was only completed in the final four months of production.[19] 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.[1] 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.[1] The first step in creating the animation was to make a pencil drawing, afterwards inking and painting the drawing onto a cel.[2] 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.[2]
For this stand, three strong galvanized pins are included to help lock and centralize the tree in place, before the reinforced screws put in its final position. While this may take some time to complete, once it’s done, the stand holds any tree up to ten feet securely in place. Backed by a spill-proof guard and a water tank that can hold up to two gallons, keeping your tree moist will be a non-issue.
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."[13]
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