With 1,867 lifelike polyethylene branch tips, this Downswept Douglas Fir model is thickly covered and shows no gaps. And at 37 percent polyethylene, it has a higher proportion of realistic foliage—and lower proportion of fakey PVC “pine needles”—than our GE and Home Accent Holiday picks. It’s also priced competitively with models offering similar quality and similar height, girth, and tip-count specs. Note, however, that the price of the Downswept Douglas Fir varies considerably between retailers; we’ve seen it listed for as low as $400 and as high as $800. It may ease the sting to remember that you’re making at least a 10-year investment.
^ Friedrich Amelung (1885). Geschichte der Revaler Schwarzenhäupter: von ihrem Ursprung an bis auf die Gegenwart: nach den urkundenmäßigen Quellen des Revaler Schwarzenhäupter-Archivs 1, Die erste Blütezeit von 1399–1557 [History of the Tallinn Blackheads: from their origins until the present day: from the testimonial sources of the Tallinn Blackheads archive. 1: The first golden age of 1399–1557] (in German). Reval: Wassermann.
There are many, many more competitors than what we list here. Given the way artificial trees are produced (described in How we picked), it’s not uncommon for companies to buy trees “off the shelf” and rebrand them under their own names. So if you can’t find one of our picks or a comparable tree from the makers listed here, you can still find an excellent tree. Here’s how.
“We used this for a three- to four-foot tree this past Christmas, and it’s a perfect stand with a nice, deep well, so you don’t have to water constantly (and it doesn’t spill easily). I had the hardest time finding a stand for a small (but not tiny) tree, but we hit the jackpot with this guy. The screws are easy to use, and screw easily, and since you’re dealing with a small tree, it’s not nearly the ordeal that putting big trees in a stand is. As long as we’re in our little apartment and buying more diminutive Christmas trees, this guy will serve us well. Highly recommend!”
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.
We unboxed and set up the tree over the Thanksgiving 2018 holiday weekend, and as we found the year before, it’s still in near perfect condition. The arms all fold down smoothly, the lights all work, no needles are bent or broken, the stand is still sturdy—we really have nothing to complain about. In the past two years, we’ve come to expect making some minor adjustments, including pulling branches into position, straightening the top stem, and positioning ornaments strategically to cover gaps, as you would with any tree. The cross-country truck ride in 2016 was more abuse than most owners are likely to put their tree through when simply hauling it in and out of storage at home. After seeing this tree survive the shipment unscathed, we’re fully confident in its ability to last the decade or so that most owners will keep it at home. It genuinely looks good, too: A 5-year-old seeing the tree for the first time in 2017 confidently declared that it was real (before he scooted underneath it mechanic-style and changed his mind upon a closer inspection).
More than a decade ago, the only material used in trees was polyvinyl chloride. Now, on good trees, PVC appears only as the obviously fake filler branches near the tree’s trunk. PVC is cheaper to produce than PE, and it’s also a lot lighter, so the mixed materials help to balance beauty, cost, and weight. All the trees we considered for this guide consisted of realistic PE branch tips around a lighter, cheaper PVC core. Even though all-PVC trees are still widely available, we don’t recommend them. From a distance they look like trees, but up close they look terrible. On the plus side, however, they are cheap: A 6-foot tree shouldn’t cost more than $100. Also, what was once a genuine health concern—the use of lead as a PVC stabilizer—is no longer an issue in most artificial trees sold in the US, according to National Tree Company and the American Christmas Tree Association, which represents artificial-tree companies.