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.

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.


Many of our wreaths, garland, and swags also offer the option of pre-strung lighting or permanent decorations. Pre-decorated wreaths and garlands add a lot of warmth and character to a space and can create a polished, cohesive look with their coordinating style. These also spare you the effort of decorating the greenery yourself and painstakingly attaching décor to every swag, wreath, and teardrop.
Nicole is a Senior Content Specialist whose writing passion ranges from national recycling initiatives to how to find the perfect Christmas tree. She loves her dog more than most people, and she subsists almost entirely on iced coffee. When she’s not copy editing and researching for Your Best Digs, she’s usually curled up in bed with a good book or outside exploring nature.
In casting the silent comic strip characters of Peanuts, the trio pulled from their personalities.[15] Lead character Charlie Brown's voice was decided to be downbeat and nondescript ("blah," as Mendelson noted), while Lucy be bold and forthright.[15] Linus' voice, it was decided, would combine both sophistication with childlike innocence.[15] Mendelson recognized that the character of Snoopy was the strip's most popular character who seemed to seize "the best jokes," but realized they could not cast a voice for the cartoon dog. "In the process, we gained a veritable 'canine Harpo Marx,'" Mendelson later wrote.[15] Melendez suggested he provide gibberish for Snoopy's mutterings, and simply speed up the tape to prevent viewers from knowing.[15] There are no adult characters in the strip or in this special. Later specials would introduce an offscreen teacher; her lines are eschewed for the sound of a trombone as the team behind the specials found it humorous.[16]

The special opens and closes with a choir of children, culled from St. Paul's Episcopal Church in San Rafael, California, performing "Christmas Time Is Here" and "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing".[18] One of the singers, Candace Hackett Shively, went on to become an elementary school teacher, and sent a letter of gratitude to Schulz after he announced his retirement in 2000.[18] In the letter, she recalls recording the choir at Fantasy Studios and going out for ice cream afterwards, while also noting that she tells the story to her grade-schoolers each holiday season.[16] The recording sessions were conducted in late autumn 1965, and were cut in three separate sessions over two weeks. They often ran late into the night, resulting in angry parents, some who forbade their children from returning; consequently, numerous new children were present at each session.[22] The children were directed by Barry Mineah, who demanded perfection from the choir. Mendelson and Guaraldi disagreed, desiring the "kids to sound like kids"; they used a slightly off-key version of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" in the final cut.[22] Children were paid five dollars for their participation. In addition, the children recorded dialogue for the special's final scene, in which the crowd of kids shout "Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!"[22]


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.[26]
The tradition was introduced to North America in the winter of 1781 by Hessian soldiers stationed in the Province of Québec (1763–1791) to garrison the colony against American attack. General Friedrich Adolf Riedesel and his wife, the Baroness von Riedesel, held a Christmas party for the officers at Sorel, delighting their guests with a fir tree decorated with candles and fruits.[54]

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]
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).
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.
Most artificial trees are made of recycled PVC rigid sheets using tin stabilizer in the recent years. In the past, lead was often used as a stabilizer in PVC, but is now banned by Chinese laws.[citation needed] The use of lead stabilizer in Chinese imported trees has been an issue of concern among politicians and scientists over recent years. A 2004 study found that while in general artificial trees pose little health risk from lead contamination, there do exist "worst-case scenarios" where major health risks to young children exist.[118] A 2008 United States Environmental Protection Agency report found that as the PVC in artificial Christmas trees aged it began to degrade.[119] The report determined that of the 50 million artificial trees in the United States approximately 20 million were 9 or more years old, the point where dangerous lead contamination levels are reached.[119] A professional study on the life-cycle assessment of both real and artificial Christmas trees revealed that one must use an artificial Christmas tree at least 20 years to leave an environmental footprint as small as the natural Christmas tree.[116]
Of course, wreaths are not just for Christmas, and are a lovely addition to give your house a cheerful and welcoming look at any time of year. Fall foliage makes for striking thanksgiving or autumn wreaths, artificial floral blooms in pastel hues are great for Easter, and fresh green leaves, eucalyptus, or cheerful summer flower wreaths are stunning during any of the warmer months.
Puleo is Larry Gurino’s favored brand at House of Holiday; like National Tree, it’s a New Jersey–based, family-run business. Unfortunately, Puleo is not as widely available as some other brands, but its quality ranks among the best. Gurino has sold Puleo trees for 20 years, and they were some of the nicest-looking trees we came across in our search. If you find one you like, you can be confident in your purchase.
The program premiered on CBS on December 9, 1965, at 7:30 pm ET (pre-empting The Munsters),[27] and was viewed by 45% of those watching television that evening,[13] with the number of homes watching the special an estimated 15,490,000, placing it at number two in the ratings, behind Bonanza on NBC.[2] The special received unanimous critical acclaim: The Hollywood Reporter deemed the show "delightfully novel and amusing," while the Weekly Variety dubbed it "fascinating and haunting."[28] Bob Williams of the New York Post praised the "very neat transition from comic page to screen," while Lawrence Laurent of The Washington Post declared that "natural-born loser Charlie Brown finally turned up a real winner last night."[29] Harriet Van Horne of the New York World-Telegram hailed the scene in which Linus recites scripture, commenting, "Linus' reading of the story of the Nativity was, quite simply, the dramatic highlight of the season."[29] Harry Harris of The Philadelphia Inquirer called the program "a yule classic [...] generated quiet warmth and amusement," and Terrence O'Flaherty of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, "Charlie Brown was a gem of a television show."[28] Ben Gross of the New York Daily News praised the special's "charm and good taste," while Rick DuBrow of United Press International predicted, "the Peanuts characters last night staked out a claim to a major television future."[29]
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 Christmas tree was first used by German Lutherans in the 16th century, with records indicating that a Christmas tree was placed in the Cathedral of Strassburg in 1539, under the leadership of the Protestant Reformer, Martin Bucer.[120][121] In the United States, these "German Lutherans brought the decorated Christmas tree with them; the Moravians put lighted candles on those trees."[122][123] When decorating the Christmas tree, many individuals place a star at the top of the tree symbolizing the Star of Bethlehem, a fact recorded by The School Journal in 1897.[5][124] Professor David Albert Jones of Oxford University writes that in the 19th century, it became popular for people to also use an angel to top the Christmas tree in order to symbolize the angels mentioned in the accounts of the Nativity of Jesus.[6]
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.
Since the early 20th century, it has become common in many cities, towns, and department stores to put up public Christmas trees outdoors, such as the Macy's Great Tree in Atlanta (since 1948), the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in New York City, and the large Christmas tree at Victoria Square in Adelaide. The use of fire retardant allows many indoor public areas to place real trees and be compliant with code. Licensed applicants of fire retardant solution spray the tree, tag the tree, and provide a certificate for inspection. Real trees are popular with high end visual merchandising displays around the world. Leading global retailers such as Apple often place real trees in their window displays. In 2009, Apple placed two Fraser fir trees in every one of its retail establishments.[citation needed]

The re-boxed artificial tree of this size is heavy (over 50 pounds), difficult to fit on most shelves, and has a volume comparable to a tank-style water heater. But if you have ample storage space, you don’t have to keep a tree in its original box. Rather, Gurino said, keeping it covered and dry is the main thing. You can separate the sections and flatten the branches as compactly as you can, or keep it whole; just don’t store it somewhere it’ll be trampled or moved a lot. Do cover it with a light plastic painter’s tarp or an old sheet to keep the dust off, or buy a tree bag. And a climate-controlled space (converted basement, storage closet) is always preferable to an attic or garage.


The special opens and closes with a choir of children, culled from St. Paul's Episcopal Church in San Rafael, California, performing "Christmas Time Is Here" and "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing".[18] One of the singers, Candace Hackett Shively, went on to become an elementary school teacher, and sent a letter of gratitude to Schulz after he announced his retirement in 2000.[18] In the letter, she recalls recording the choir at Fantasy Studios and going out for ice cream afterwards, while also noting that she tells the story to her grade-schoolers each holiday season.[16] The recording sessions were conducted in late autumn 1965, and were cut in three separate sessions over two weeks. They often ran late into the night, resulting in angry parents, some who forbade their children from returning; consequently, numerous new children were present at each session.[22] The children were directed by Barry Mineah, who demanded perfection from the choir. Mendelson and Guaraldi disagreed, desiring the "kids to sound like kids"; they used a slightly off-key version of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" in the final cut.[22] Children were paid five dollars for their participation. In addition, the children recorded dialogue for the special's final scene, in which the crowd of kids shout "Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!"[22]

Along the lower Rhine, an area of Roman Catholic majority, the Christmas tree was largely regarded as a Protestant custom. As a result, it remained confined to the upper Rhineland for a relatively long period of time. The custom did eventually gain wider acceptance beginning around 1815 by way of Prussian officials who emigrated there following the Congress of Vienna.


The pint-sized Home Accents Holiday – 5 Foot Pine with Clear Lights comes pre-trimmed with clear lights. It arrives in two pieces that you slide together. Then you fluff it, plug it in and it’s ready for ornaments. Most reviewers shared that this entire process took them less than an hour. This little tree is compact and festive, especially for the sub- $50 dollar price point. One big negative? The bulbs are incandescent. However, there are a good amount of them for such a small tree, and we found that they cast a nice warm glow when we examined this tree in person.
^ Wells, Dorothy (1897). "Christmas in Other Lands". The School Journal. E.L. Kellogg & Company. 55: 697–8. Christmas is the occasional of family reunions. Grandmother always has the place of honor. As the time approaches for enjoying the tree, she gathers her grandchildren about her, to tell them the story of the Christ child, with the meaning of the Christ child, with the meaning of the Christmas tree; how the evergreen is meant to represent the life everlasting, the candle lights to recall the light of the world, and the star at the top of the tree is to remind them of the star of Bethlehem.

“Yes, this is a very expensive tree. However, I could not be more pleased with this purchase. I was looking for a tree to fill a 12-foot ceiling space and this fit the bill perfectly! I have had so many compliments. I love the fact that you can set the lights to be different colors and functions — white, multicolored, flashing, still, nine modes in all. Yes, it takes a while to set up, but it is well worth it.”
“This is a lovely tree; it is so realistic-looking that it has to be touched to confirm that it’s not real. Substantial branches don’t sag, except with the very heaviest ornaments. I like lots of lights, and the way these lights are mounted gives the appearance of having more lights, even with ornaments. It was easy to assemble; though you should plan on spending a lot of time ‘fluffing’ since there are many, many branch tips! I bought this one for my mother; and we liked it so much, I’ve ordered the 7.5-foot-tall one as a gift for my daughter’s family!”
Another thing we loved about the NTC tree is that its branch tips are varied in length. It has the same amount as the Best Choice tree (1346), but some are short and some are long, giving the tree a more organic, and therefore realistic, look. Our anti-artificial tree tester even mentioned that this tree “looked better than [he] expected it to” after fluffing.
A Christmas tree is a decorated tree, usually an evergreen conifer such as spruce, pine, or fir or an artificial tree of similar appearance, associated with the celebration of Christmas. The modern Christmas tree was developed in medieval Livonia (present-day Estonia and Latvia) and early modern Germany, where Protestant Germans brought decorated trees into their homes.[1][2] It acquired popularity beyond the Lutheran areas of Germany[1][3] and the Baltic countries during the second half of the 19th century, at first among the upper classes.[4]
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