A Bremen guild chronicle of 1570 reports that a small tree decorated with "apples, nuts, dates, pretzels and paper flowers" was erected in the guild-house for the benefit of the guild members' children, who collected the dainties on Christmas Day. In 1584, the pastor and chronicler Balthasar Russow in his Chronica der Provinz Lyfflandt (1584) wrote of an established tradition of setting up a decorated spruce at the market square, where the young men "went with a flock of maidens and women, first sang and danced there and then set the tree aflame".
“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!”
“I wanted a little tabletop tree strung with only blue lights for a kind of retro look in my remodeled contemporary reading/puzzle/coffee room. The quality of the tree is excellent. The silver is nice and shiny, as well as soft. The branches are easily bent into place. The stand was easy to assemble. It is exactly what I wanted and a great value for the money. Very happy with my purchase.”
National Tree Company’s 7½-foot, unlit Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir (PEDD1-503-75) is a great tree at a great price, if you don’t need lights included. It’s the same size as our main pick, with the same generous branch count (1,867), sporting that same full, room-filling form. It’s identical in construction, too, with the same realistic polyethylene tips, hinged branches, and three sections. You’ll have to string the lights yourself, of course. If you already own enough lights for a 7½-foot tree (roughly 700 bulbs, per the 100-per-foot guideline), choosing this tree is a no-brainer, since you’ll save a chunk of money. Or if you simply prefer to string your own, even if it means spending down those savings, go for it—check out our recommended set of LED Christmas lights, or pick up three 300-bulb strings of incandescents for about $30. And for smaller homes and apartments, we think the 6½-foot version of this tree also makes a great pick.
The Christmas Tree Company makes a tree stand called Santa’s Solution. We enjoyed how festive this model was painted. We also liked how sturdy the construction is and that’s probably why the manufacturer is willing to back it with a lifetime guarantee. The exterior is made of steel, while the interior is lined with impact-grade plastic. The plastic tub on the inside can hold up to 1.5 gallons of water.
“This is seriously the most beautiful artificial tree I’ve ever seen. I love all the different textures, colors, and pine-cone accents. The lights are a nice, warm white. The tree is beautiful enough on its own, even without ornaments. Worth the money. It is amazingly full as well. Those who said it was thin did not take the time to fluff it properly, which does take a bit of patience, but is worth the effort. Love it!”
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.
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.
Height and dimensions: Consider the height of the tree you’d like to purchase, bearing in mind that you’ll need to access the top of the tree for decorating. If the ceilings in your home are within the standard (American) eight to nine foot range, a 7.5 foot tree is probably ideal for you. The dimensions of the tree you purchase should be dependent on where you’re displaying it. If you’re placing it in a small corner, a narrow tree is best, whereas a tree with a wide girth is best for a front and center display.
Charlie Brown arrives at the rehearsal, but he is unable to gain control of the situation, since everyone in the play has their own complaints, and everybody would rather dance along to the jazz-rock band (consisting of Schroeder on keyboards, Snoopy on an inaudible electric guitar and Pig-Pen on bass) as they play "Linus and Lucy." The play is revealed to be quite modern, with an upbeat jazz score, a "Christmas queen," shepherds, innkeepers and penguins but no identifiable Biblical figures. A displeased Charlie Brown decides the play needs "the proper mood" and suggests they should get a Christmas tree. Lucy instructs him, and the accompanying Linus, to get an aluminum Christmas tree that is big, shiny and pink from a nearby tree lot.
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. Guaraldi composed the music for the project, creating an entire piece, "Linus and Lucy," to serve as the theme. When Coca-Cola commissioned A Charlie Brown Christmas in spring 1965, Guaraldi returned to write the music. The first instrumentals for the special were recorded by Guaraldi at Glendale, California's Whitney Studio with bassist Monty Budwig and drummer Colin Bailey. Recycling "Linus and Lucy" from the earlier special, Guaraldi completed two new originals for the special, "Skating", and "Christmas Time Is Here". 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.
Pre-lit trees and type of lights: While deciding whether to buy a pre-lit tree is a personal decision, we suggest that you don’t. Though the quality of string lights has improved in the past several years, you still risk the lights on your tree burning out before you’ve gotten full use of the tree. Furthermore, you usually cannot remove the lights from the tree.
“We bought this for my 90-year-old in-laws who had recently moved into a retirement community and needed a compact Christmas display. The Charlie Brown tree is nostalgic to all of us who grew up waiting to watch the Charlie Brown Christmas Special come on the tube (back when they were literally tubes). They seem to love it, and now we’ll need to find a couple Peanuts figures to put around it next Christmas.”
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).
In Italy, Ireland and Argentina, along with many countries in Latin America, the Christmas tree is put up on 8 December (Immaculate Conception day) and left up until 6 January. In Australia, the Christmas tree is usually put up on 1 December, which occurs about 2 weeks before the school summer holidays (except for South Australia, where most people put up their tree in November following the completion of the Adelaide Christmas Pageant, a time frame that has started to filter into other states as the official time Christmas decorations and in store Santa Claus start to appear) and is left up until it is taken down. Some traditions suggest that Christmas trees may be kept up until no later than 2 February, the feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple (Candlemas), when the Christmas season effectively closes. Superstitions say that it is a bad sign if Christmas greenery is not removed by Candlemas Eve.
“This product does what it says it will do. The screw-in braces are very easy to use, and held an eight-foot tree without any problems whatsoever. I’m sure it would be fine with a ten-footer. I got another one for my parents-in-law, after I used their ancient tree stand, which took me an HOUR to get set up right! This stand should take no more than ten minutes to get your tree up and stabilized. Merry Christmas!”
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.
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:
Finally, we tied a length of twine to each tree, in each stand, at a consistent spot about a third of the distance from the top. Using a force gauge (a simple cylinder with a calibrated spring), we pulled on each tree to see how much force was required to make it tip over. Our gauge maxed out at 50 Newtons, which anyone with a physics background can tell you is not a lot of force—but, in most cases it was enough to tip over our test trees and not far beyond what you’d cause with an accidental bump into the tree. Only the exceptionally sturdy stands could resist it, and the exercise objectively helped us identify the best products in our test.
“For years, we’ve stuffed all of our ornaments on two-thirds of our artificial tree so we could see them all. It got pretty crowded. This stand is the solution to that problem. The stand has a big diameter base, which gives a good, solid footprint to support the tree. The cord has the switch built in to it, which has two buttons: one to turn the rotation on or off, and another that turns the lights on or off. So you can have separate, independent control of both lights and rotation. The top of the stand has two outlets built in to power a couple strands of lights. The hole has four screws to hold the tree post securely. One caution I offer is that the hole is exactly 1.25 inches in diameter, so make sure your tree post is that diameter or less. The rotational speed is just right for viewing ornaments continuously without them swinging or swaying from the motion. The motor is very quiet. The stand is for artificial trees only. The design will not structurally support a real tree of any size — not beefy enough and has no water trough. The cost was a bit high, but we decided it was worth taking the chance and are glad we did. We should get many uses out of it and was well worth the cost. I highly recommend it.”
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