As we set up each tree with each stand (in the pouring rain), we noted how difficult it was to get the tree into the stand, position it, and fasten the tree inside. We also looked at how hard it was to make adjustments to straighten the tree. We then filled the stand’s reservoir with 1½ gallons of water (or the stand’s maximum, if it was less than this amount), and noted how difficult it was to fill, and how likely it was to overflow or spill onto your floor.
A reference to the animated television special A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) based on the comic strip Peanuts by American cartoonist Charles M. Schulz (1922–2000), in which the title character Charlie Brown picks an unattractive Christmas tree to decorate. The selection of the tree represents a protest against the commercialization of Christmas.
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.

Classic Needles Balsam Hill's Classic Needle foliage has soft, flat and flexible needles with a more classic artificial look. These needles are made from thin sheets of PVC that are cut into fine strands to resemble evergreen needles. We use these resilient, flexible needles as the primary foliage of many of the trees in our very affordable Traditional trees. It is also used as filler for most of our Realistic and Most Realistic Christmas trees because of its superior ability to block light and create a "full" look for the tree.
The Good Tidings Tabletop Tree Stand is made almost entirely of hard polypropylene. The base measures 14 inches in diameter and 8 inches tall. It holds 0.75 gallons of water. A problem with many tree stands is the screws used to hold the trunk in place are susceptible to rusting. That is not a problem with this model thanks to the plastic, quick-turn bolts. The unit holds trunks with a thickness of up to three inches.

The giving of Christmas trees has also often been associated with the end of hostilities. After the signing of the Armistice in 1918 the city of Manchester sent a tree, and £500 to buy chocolate and cakes, for the children of the much-bombarded town of Lille in northern France.[69] In some cases the trees represent special commemorative gifts, such as in Trafalgar Square in London, where the City of Oslo, Norway presents a tree to the people of London as a token of appreciation for the British support of Norwegian resistance during the Second World War; in Boston, where the tree is a gift from the province of Nova Scotia, in thanks for rapid deployment of supplies and rescuers to the 1917 ammunition ship explosion that leveled the city of Halifax; and in Newcastle upon Tyne, where the main civic Christmas tree is an annual gift from the city of Bergen, in thanks for the part played by soldiers from Newcastle in liberating Bergen from Nazi occupation.[70] Norway also annually gifts a Christmas tree to Washington, D.C. as a symbol of friendship between Norway and the US and as an expression of gratitude from Norway for the help received from the US during World War II.[71]
After a lifetime of owning live trees, we found the National Tree model to be far more manageable to set up—no messy needles dropping, obviously, and it was also easier to assemble in its separate sections versus hoisting a 7-foot fir into position. Not having to water it or worry about its health is also a relief. The one missing element was that fresh piney scent filling the house (for the first few days at least), so we picked up a “balsam and fir” scented candle—problem solved, and highly recommended.
While they're growing, Real Christmas Trees support life by absorbing carbon dioxide and other gases and emitting fresh oxygen. The farms that grow Christmas Trees stabilize soil, protect water supplies and provide refuge for wildlife while creating scenic green belts. Often, Christmas Trees are grown on soil that doesn't support other crops. See what the experts say about Real Christmas Trees.
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.
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.
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]
However, this GE tree has fewer lights than the National Tree—600 versus 750—so it falls just short of our recommended 100 lights 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, or even halfway across it, but up close you may find the GE slightly more artificial-looking.
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.
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.
Other trends have developed in the early 2000s as well. Optical fiber Christmas trees come in two major varieties; one resembles a traditional Christmas tree.[102] One Dallas-based company offers "holographic mylar" trees in many hues.[95] Tree-shaped objects made from such materials as cardboard,[103] glass,[104] ceramic or other materials can be found in use as tabletop decorations. Upside-down artificial Christmas trees became popular for a short time and were originally introduced as a marketing gimmick; they allowed consumers to get closer to ornaments for sale in retail stores and opened up floor space for more products.[105] Artificial trees became increasingly popular during the late 20th century.[94] Users of artificial Christmas trees assert that they are more convenient, and, because they are reusable, much cheaper than their natural alternative.[94] They are also considered much safer[106] as natural trees can be a significant fire hazard. Between 2001 and 2007 artificial Christmas tree sales in the U.S. jumped from 7.3 million to 17.4 million.[107] Currently it is estimated that around 58% of Christmas trees used in the United States are artificial while numbers in the United Kingdom are indicated to be around 66%.[108]
^ Ingeborg Weber-Kellermann (1978). Das Weihnachtsfest. Eine Kultur- und Sozialgeschichte der Weihnachtszeit [Christmas: A cultural and social history of Christmastide] (in German). Bucher. p. 22. ISBN 3-7658-0273-5. Man kann als sicher annehmen daß die Luzienbräuche gemeinsam mit dem Weinachtsbaum in Laufe des 19. Jahrhunderts aus Deutschland über die gesellschaftliche Oberschicht der Herrenhöfe nach Schweden gekommen sind. (English: One can assume with certainty that traditions of lighting, together with the Christmas tree, crossed from Germany to Sweden in the 19th century via the princely upper classes.)
Next, we consulted review sites like Wirecutter and cultivation sites like New York Magazine to get a more well-rounded view of the trees on the market. And finally, we browsed home decorating sites like Good Housekeeping to see which artificial trees they liked best. From there, we charted all of the trees and their specs (like height and material) to compare and contrast which ones were best.
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.
The giving of Christmas trees has also often been associated with the end of hostilities. After the signing of the Armistice in 1918 the city of Manchester sent a tree, and £500 to buy chocolate and cakes, for the children of the much-bombarded town of Lille in northern France.[69] In some cases the trees represent special commemorative gifts, such as in Trafalgar Square in London, where the City of Oslo, Norway presents a tree to the people of London as a token of appreciation for the British support of Norwegian resistance during the Second World War; in Boston, where the tree is a gift from the province of Nova Scotia, in thanks for rapid deployment of supplies and rescuers to the 1917 ammunition ship explosion that leveled the city of Halifax; and in Newcastle upon Tyne, where the main civic Christmas tree is an annual gift from the city of Bergen, in thanks for the part played by soldiers from Newcastle in liberating Bergen from Nazi occupation.[70] Norway also annually gifts a Christmas tree to Washington, D.C. as a symbol of friendship between Norway and the US and as an expression of gratitude from Norway for the help received from the US during World War II.[71]
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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