Material and flocking: Consider whether you want a tree flocked with fake snow (or glitter) or if you want something more realistic. You may also want to choose a tree that’s made with more Polyethylene (PE) than PVC, since PE is thought to pose less health risk. If you read the fine print, many tree companies will tell you what percentage of PE their tree is made with (if any).
The debate about the environmental impact of artificial trees is ongoing. Generally, natural tree growers contend that artificial trees are more environmentally harmful than their natural counterparts. However, trade groups such as the American Christmas Tree Association, continue to refute that artificial trees are more harmful to the environment, and maintain that the PVC used in Christmas trees has excellent recyclable properties.
As for flaws, the Cinco is quite large. Huge, in fact. At about 2 feet in diameter and roughly 10 inches tall, it takes up some real estate and smaller tree skirts won’t be able to cover it. Because it has the capacity to hold a 12-foot tree, the screws on the Cinco don’t extend far enough to grip a tree with a trunk diameter less than 3½ inches (which, in our test, was about a 6-foot-8 tree). If you’re planning on having a smaller tree, Cinco also offers the C-148E, which has the same quick-release system, but is just sized down a little.
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. 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. 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.
Once you’ve purchased and assembled your artificial tree, you must fluff it. “Fluffing” is an (admittedly adorable) term for arranging all of the branches on the tree. It may seem like an imposing prospect but, in reality, it just requires a few simple steps repeated over and over again. This is a good time to bribe friends and family members to help you. We think a couple of hours of fluffing in return for some homemade hot chocolate is a good offer.
The stand accommodates large capacity trees up to eight feet tall and six inches wide. The base holds up to one gallon of water, and is supported by a “spill catcher” for the occasional overwatering. To stay in place, the frame contains a stabilizing spike and steel nut screws for smoother assembly. Bonus: The five gold-tone screws are made of wear-resistant hardware, so their exteriors won’t be compromised as you use them through the years. Supplemented by a five year warranty, this is one tree stand that’ll last you for all the occasions to come.
After placing the tree into the stand, a foot pedal tightens a steel cable and five ratcheting arms around the base of the tree. We found that this system allows for a more even distribution of pressure. During testing, we struck the Deluxe with considerable force and found the extendable legs more than enough to keep our 7.5-foot-tall tree from tipping over.
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.
“I recently purchased a seven-foot vintage aluminum Christmas tree that was missing its stand, so I bought this hoping it would do the trick. I was pleased that it not only fit the tree perfectly, it is also much sturdier and higher quality than the plastic tree stands that come with most artificial trees. I may eventually spray-paint this to match my silver tree, but the tree skirt I have covers it nicely. My cat also enjoys sleeping under the tree and using this thing as a chin rest, so there’s that.”
With a stand like this, you can spend more time doing your holiday shopping and less time struggling to set up your tree. This innovative design doesn't require screws or extra parts—all you have to do is lock the steel grips in place and insert the trunk into the stand. Within seconds, you’ll have a perfectly stationed Christmas tree that is ready to be decorated.
Please note that all tree heights indicated on our website include the tree stand. If you want the tallest Christmas tree your room will allow, we recommend buying a tree that is six inches shorter than your ceiling height to allow some clearance for a tree topper. For example, if you have a standard 8 - 9 foot ceiling, we would suggest a 7½ foot tree. Here are some more tips:
The Black and Decker BD3037 Smart Stand came in last in our roundup. The design looks very domineering and that's actually a problem. It sticks out like a bear-trap-like thumb. It also doesn't work that well. The advertisements tout a ten-second setup time and we did find that to be true. What you do is that you lock the three pongs into place and force the tree through them. The problem was we couldn't get our tree straight or stable.
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Around 78% of the people who reviewed the Jack-Post Welded Steel Christmas Tree Stand on Amazon gave it five stars. Buyers like how firmly this stand holds the tree in place. Also, setting up this unit can be done in a matter of minutes. Buyers were also impressed with how the stand does not rely on plastic pieces. Everything is made of sturdy metal.
The John Wright company produced the L.L. Bean Heirloom Christmas tree stand so the frame is entirely made of cast iron. While this tree stand felt nigh indestructible, it didn't hold onto our Christmas tree well. On a side note, some consumers may take issue with the cast iron construction. It weighs around 20 pounds. Not an insurmountable weight, but enough that we wouldn't want to lug it in and out of the attic every Christmas.
Much of the situation is due to the way artificial trees are manufactured: Almost all of them come out of a handful of factories in Taiwan and China. So while the companies selling the trees specify the details of their designs, the companies making the trees use similar materials and even many of the same basic components. That means you will be able to find a great artificial tree, even if it’s not our pick.
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 United States' National Christmas Tree has been lit each year since 1923 on the South Lawn of the White House. Today,[clarification needed] the lighting of the National Christmas Tree is part of what has become a major holiday event at the White House. President Jimmy Carter lit only the crowning star atop the tree in 1979 in honor of the Americans being held hostage in Iran. The same was true in 1980, except that the tree was fully lit for 417 seconds, one second for each day the hostages had been in captivity.
And even if you have room to store an artificial tree, bear in mind that, as Gurino noted, it won’t easily go back into its original box: “Once you fluff it, it’ll never fit exactly.” After we were done with our photo shoot, I spent about half an hour painstakingly collapsing each branch of our tree, one by one, as tight as I could against the central pole, to prep the tree for shipping. My best advice: Start from the top (the shortest branches) and end at the bottom (the longest branches). First pinch the branch tips together into a sort of bundle; then fold up the branch itself. Even after I did that, though, it made some obvious bulges in the original shipping box.
The Emerald Innovations stand in particular had our hopes up because it lets you adjust the angle of the tree by pressing a foot pedal and turning the tree on a large ball joint. But the initial setup proved more of a hassle than any other method: A separate sleeve fits over the tree’s trunk while it’s lying down, and you secure it with screw-down clamps. Then you fit the sleeve and tree together into the base. The frustrating setup, along with the lack of stability, outweighed the otherwise cool design.
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.
Christmas ornaments are decorations (usually made of glass, metal, wood, or ceramics) that are used to decorate a Christmas tree. The first decorated trees were adorned with apples, white candy canes and pastries in the shapes of stars, hearts and flowers. Glass baubles were first made in Lauscha, Germany, and also garlands of glass beads and tin figures that could be hung on trees. The popularity of these decorations grew into the production of glass figures made by highly skilled artisans with clay molds.
In anticipation of Christmas, I ordered, received and used Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree 2 weeks before the 25th. I use it Every time I have come home by triggering the music button. While the tune is redundant, it has a happy pleasant rhythm to it and keeps me in that great pre-Xmas spirit. In fact, on Christmas day my son-in-law immediately recognized Charlie Brown's Christmas song and pined for such a gift next year. I intend to order this wonderful symbolic leaning tree with lonely ornament in 2012 to add to his annual pleasure.
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Although the tradition of decorating churches and homes with evergreens at Christmas was long established, the custom of decorating an entire small tree was unknown in Britain until some two centuries ago. At the time of the personal union with Hanover, George III's German-born wife, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, introduced a Christmas tree at a party she gave for children in 1800. The custom did not at first spread much beyond the royal family. Queen Victoria as a child was familiar with it and a tree was placed in her room every Christmas. In her journal for Christmas Eve 1832, the delighted 13-year-old princess wrote: