Ease of assembly, disassembly and storage: Most of the artificial trees on the market (including the ones on our list) come in three parts that are easy to click together. However, the process of “fluffing” the tree (spreading the tips apart and arranging the branches) can be time consuming. The more time you spend fluffing your tree, the better it will look. More on that later.
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, 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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.
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.
“This is a beautiful tree! When you first receive it, you might be worried that it’s too sparse, but it is packed very well, so you must take the time to fluff out each branch. Once we put the lights and ornaments on it, there were no open spaces to see between the branches. I liked that it was not as wide at the bottom as our previous tree. It took up less space width-wise and used fewer ornaments, but still has a very full look. It also doesn’t shed.”
With our revolutionary Color Changing light technology, you can easily switch between clear and multi-colored LED lights to create a versatile and festive display. This option provides you with 4-in-1 LED lighting choices: 1) clear, 2) multicolored, 3) alternating from clear to multicolored, and 4) off. The same LED bulb changes from clear to colored light (yellow, red, blue, or green), giving your artificial Christmas trees a different look with just a click of a button.
^ Morris-Pierce, Elizabeth; Berger, Stephen A.; Dreher, Eulonda A.; Russel W. Dalton; D. Andrew Richardson; Jeanne Mueller; Judith Hale Wood; Ellen Edgar; James Edgar (1 January 2002). In Search of Christmas. CSS Publishing. p. 27. ISBN 9780788019166. Chrismons were first used in 1957 to decorate a Christmas tree in the Lutheran Church of the Ascension in Danville, Virginia.
For a cheery retro look, start with a grapevine wreath (we painted ours white) and hot-glue classic round Christmas ornaments in a single color but different shades and sizes. When gluing, adhere the balls to both the wreath and one another for extra hold. Although this wreath makes a big statement, it's lightweight enough to be hung from a stick-on hook.
Potential customers who have never actually seen one of our fresh holiday wreaths might find it helpful to know that the entire process of creating, decorating and shipping each fresh Christmas wreath is performed on our farm, thus enabling us to perform quality inspections from start to finish. We also handcraft cedar garland, holiday centerpieces, Christmas door swags and other decorative fresh evergreens. We do our best to take product pictures that help exemplify the quality of our beautiful live Christmas wreaths, but when it comes down to it you're going to have to buy one of our live wreaths to get a full understanding of how impressive our live Christmas wreaths really are!
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.
Product is as stated. The only shortcoming seems to be the factory packaging. The one ornament, a glass Christmas tree ball, was shattered. The original protection was the ball was in a plastic bag, with the thin blanket included wrapped around it, placed loosely in the box with the tree and the two parts of the base stand. The base stand pieces were not secured, so they would shift in the 2 foot long box, which by their weight alone would cause the glass ball to break. If any would arrive in one piece would be a miracle. However, it is easily replaced with another once the tree arrives, so it is not a big loss, but it does take away from the product overall. No one wants something new to arrive with a piece broken. But it does bring the story alive to have something that had only been seen in the cartoon story in your own home.
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.
National Tree Company’s 7½-foot Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir with dual-color LEDs (PEDD1-D12-75) is our pick among artificial Christmas trees. It’s very full and highly realistic, and its 59-inch girth will nicely fill the corner of most living rooms. The lights can switch from multicolor to all-white (actually more of a soft “golden” white), giving it versatility. It’s widely available, too: If you’d like to see it in person, Home Depot, Kohl’s, and many holiday stores typically carry it.
This presentation elevates premade grocery-store wreaths. They hang from fishing line that runs over the top of the door. Then, striped ribbon trails the fishing line. This allows the wreaths to move a bit, giving them a striking, free-hanging look. Sprays of fresh bay leaves, seeded eucalyptus, and large gray berzillia berries add tone-on-tone interest and texture.
For even more convenience, purchase a pre-lit tree so all you have to do is add ornaments and garland and you’re ready to celebrate. To help save money on electric bills, try a Christmas tree with energy-saving LED lights and add a light timer to make sure your lights consistently turn off at the same hour each night. Even better, you can set up Remote Control Christmas Trees that let you change the color of the lights with just a click of a button. For more information on how to choose the right artificial tree for your Christmas décor, see our Artificial Christmas Tree Buying Guide.