“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!”
When decorating for the holidays, many make it their goal to diffuse Christmas spirit through every room. And while the Christmas tree typically takes center stage, it’s the garlands, wreaths, teardrops, and swags that help to spread holiday cheer throughout the rest of a home. These accents make a home feel lush, inviting, and most of all, festive.
One disclaimer about both The Best Choice and National Tree Company trees: like many artificial trees in their price range, they are made with PVC rather than PE. As we mentioned earlier, some people are dubious about the potential health risks of being around PVC. While finding a tree with less PVC and more PE (a safer alternative) is possible, it will typically cost you more.
Virtually all contemporary artificial trees have branches permanently mounted on hinges on the center pole. This design means that they all unfurl into place quickly when you set up the tree; in the past, you often had to snap individual branches into sockets on the center pole one by one, a time-consuming and fussy process. For this guide, we sought trees with permanently mounted, hinged branches—not that there’s much choice on that anymore.
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]

If you’re looking to switch up your holiday decor, a great place to start is with your Christmas tree. Take a little decorative risk and opt for extravagance with a statement-making tree that will enliven your home and wow your guests. Whether you're set on a color scheme, love one style, or have heirloom ornaments you can't wait to use, your tree should reflect your taste and personality
Because we advised against pre-lit trees (as you typically can’t remove the lights from the tree even if they burn out), we chose to focus our research on unlit trees. That being said, we know that the convenience of a pre-lit tree is sometimes irresistible. And we have to admit, they make festive night lights. So, we’re still sharing our favorite pre-lit pick.
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]

Our designs offer a combination of the most popular artificial Christmas tree features at affordable price points. Whether you need a tree with a slim shape, LED lights, or realistic foliage, you will be able to find one that the whole family will love - no compromise required. For decorating inspiration and gift ideas, visit the Tree Classics blog. There we show you how you can maximize your tree and holiday décor with practical tips and tricks. When done browsing, easily place orders through our convenient online store.
Tinsel and several types of garland or ribbon are commonly used to decorate a Christmas tree. Silvered saran-based tinsel was introduced later. Delicate mold-blown and painted colored glass Christmas ornaments were a specialty of the glass factories in the Thuringian Forest, especially in Lauscha in the late 19th century, and have since become a large industry, complete with famous-name designers. Baubles are another common decoration, consisting of small hollow glass or plastic spheres coated with a thin metallic layer to make them reflective, with a further coating of a thin pigmented polymer in order to provide coloration. Lighting with electric lights (Christmas lights or, in the United Kingdom, fairy lights) is commonly done. A tree-topper, sometimes an angel but more frequently a star, completes the decoration.
Holiday wreaths are true signs of the season. A beautiful Christmas wreath always brightens a gorgeous home and makes guests feel at home for the holidays. Here, our editors share their ideas for how to choose and use festive Christmas wreaths to decorate your home for the holidays. Whether on your front door, windows, or inside your home, Christmas wreaths can be traditional or modern; they can be evergreen, succulent, or anything in between. For a sense of drama, you’ll see how to hang two wreaths, three wreaths, or even hang a Christmas wreath in front of a mirror. The Southern Living editors even suggest that you consider the shape of your Christmas wreath—you may want to choose an unusual shape. From squares to a Tree Form Wreath to one constructed from snowy pinecones, your Christmas wreaths can reflect your creativity and inspiration. Simply think of the splendor of the holiday, and let your Christmas wreath reflect the joy in your heart.
Because we advised against pre-lit trees (as you typically can’t remove the lights from the tree even if they burn out), we chose to focus our research on unlit trees. That being said, we know that the convenience of a pre-lit tree is sometimes irresistible. And we have to admit, they make festive night lights. So, we’re still sharing our favorite pre-lit pick.

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.


At the end of the Middle Ages, an early predecessor appears referred in the Regiment of the Order of Cister around 1400, in Alcobaça, Portugal. The Regiment of the local high-Sacristans of the Cistercian Order refers to what may be considered one of the oldest references to the Christmas tree: "Note on how to put the Christmas branch, scilicet: On the Christmas eve, you will look for a large Branch of green laurel, and you shall reap many red oranges, and place them on the branches that come of the laurel, specifically as you have seen, and in every orange you shall put a candle, and hang the Branch by a rope in the pole, which shall be by the candle of the altar-mor."[21]

We looked at, but didn’t test, the Santa’s Solution Steel Extreme. This expensive stand accommodates trunks up to 7 inches in diameter and has a 2-gallon water well. The name is quite apt: The Steel Extreme is imposing, but it still uses only the traditional bolt design. If you can spend this much on a stand, save a few bucks and get the much simpler Krinner.
The product holds trees up to 7.5 feet tall with trunks up to 4 inches in diameter. Quick Stands use a speed nut design that allows you to easily and quickly push stabilizing bolts into the base of the tree without tediously turning the bolt. Once the bolt makes contact with the trunk, simply tighten the bolt to secure and straighten your tree upright. It's easy as one, two, tree!
A creative and relatively easy-to-work assembly: Slide a little cone-shaped piece on the trunk of the tree, then pick up the tree and drop that into the base. Tap the lever in the base with your foot to allow you to adjust the tree until it’s straight, then lock it in position. This base has a small diameter of 19.25 inches, since it doesn’t have the long arms of other options. Just be warned: It can’t take trees with trunks larger than five inches in diameter, and the water reservoir is tough to fill, since you have access only at the little slot at the top of the stand.
Several sites that review Christmas tree stands list this Good Tidings model among their top picks. The Z9 gave it high ratings because it is rustproof, has a large reservoir, allows for quick installation, and the polypropylene body is durable and reliable. DeWhiteHome, a site specializing in everything Christmas, ranked this stand as the top tabletop stand because of the strong, rustproof screws.
If you want to pay slightly less—or you just prefer to string your own lights—National Tree Company’s 7½-foot, unlit Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir (PEDD1-503-75) is a great tree at a great price. It’s as tall and wide as our pick, with the same number of branch tips to give it that same full, room-filling form. It’s also identical in construction, with the same realistic polyethylene branch tips and PVC core. Simply losing the lights saves you more money than you might expect: This model is usually well over $100 cheaper than our main pick. But remember—if you don’t already own Christmas lights, you’ll eat up most of that savings buying them. (For smaller homes and apartments, we also recommend the 6½-foot version of this tree).
This Christmas Tree Rug Pad Mat is the perfect solution to all of your tree mishaps! Prevent watering spills and scratches from ruining your floors with this safe layer of protection! Featuring a rubber backing and thick pile, this pad will keep your tree base in place while also protecting your floors from your tree stand, water or sap. It is the perfect size so it can be easily hidden by your favorite tree skirt or collar!
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
We also found the Best Choice tree really easy to set up. Simply click the three tree sections into place, fluff and you’re done. The only challenging part was the top third of the tree. Some of its branches were compressed so tightly against the center pole that we didn’t realize they needed to be pulled down at first. There were some complaints on Amazon about the top of this tree being too small, and we think that this could be why.

We raised our concerns with the American Christmas Tree Association, which stated in response that leaded PVC is no longer used at all in its members’ products. We also asked National Tree Company about its products specifically, and representatives confirmed that the company uses entirely lead-free PVC. We have no reason to doubt those claims, but since no federal standards or tests for artificial-tree materials exist, we have no independent data to confirm or contradict them, either. In general, it seems wise to wash your hands after setting up and decorating your artificial tree, as well as to prevent kids and pets from playing underneath it or (obviously) chewing on the branches. But the risk of lead exposure from a contemporary artificial Christmas tree is likely to be minimal to nonexistent.

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]
Georgians have their own traditional Christmas tree called Chichilaki, made from dried up hazelnut or walnut branches that are shaped to form a small coniferous tree. These pale-colored ornaments differ in height from 20 cm (7.9 in) to 3 meters (9.8 feet). Chichilakis are most common in the Guria and Samegrelo regions of Georgia near the Black Sea, but they can also be found in some stores around the capital of Tbilisi.[citation needed] Georgians believe that Chichilaki resembles the famous beard of St. Basil the Great, because Eastern Orthodox Church commemorates St. Basil on January 1.
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