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.
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.
The tradition was introduced to North America in the winter of 1781 by Hessian soldiers stationed in the Province of Québec (1763–1791) to garrison the colony against American attack. General Friedrich Adolf Riedesel and his wife, the Baroness von Riedesel, held a Christmas party for the officers at Sorel, delighting their guests with a fir tree decorated with candles and fruits.[54]
This lightweight plastic stand weighs less than 3 pounds and holds trunks up to 7 inches. You’ll need two people to install your tree—and occasionally you’ll have to pick the tree up a second time in order to slam it back down into the stand with enough force to get the spikes in the base to dig into the trunk—but you can’t beat the price. The reservoir holds two gallons, so you might even be able to skip a day of watering with this thing.

Tree Genie Live Tree Stand comes with the inventor’s original single cable operation and with water level indicator. It also includes 5 stabilizer feet for additional security. Just place your tree in the opened stand, hold it straight and pump the foot pedal until the claws firmly hold the trunk. Your tree will be straight and ready in just seconds.
Product availability, styles, colors, brands, promotions and prices may vary between stores and online. Early sell-out possible on special purchase items, and quantities may be otherwise limited. We reserve the right in our sole discretion to limit quantities to normal retail and online purchases. No rain checks available. Not responsible for typographical errors.
The 50th anniversary broadcast aired on November 30, 2015, and it featured a full two-hour time slot that was padded by a special, It's Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown, which was hosted by Kristen Bell, and featured musical performances by Kristin Chenoweth, Matthew Morrison, Sarah McLachlan, Boyz II Men, Pentatonix, David Benoit, and the All-American Boys Chorus.[35] It also included documentary features.[36]
By the early 1960s, Charles M. Schulz's comic strip Peanuts had become a sensation worldwide.[2] Television producer Lee Mendelson acknowledged the strip's cultural impression and had an idea for a documentary on its success, phoning Schulz to propose the idea. Schulz, an avid baseball fan, recognized Mendelson from his documentary on ballplayer Willie Mays, A Man Named Mays, and invited him to his home in Sebastopol, California, to discuss the project.[3] Their meeting was cordial, with the plan to produce a half-hour documentary set. Mendelson wanted to feature roughly "one or two" minutes of animation, and Schulz suggested animator Bill Melendez, with whom he collaborated some years before on a spot for the Ford Motor Company.[4]
User Amazon Queen found the Tree Genie much easier to use than screw-in varieties: “For years I’ve bothered with the wobbly screw-in versions…‘a little to the left, a little to the right.’ We put the tree into the stand, pumped the arms in and the tree stood straight and firm the first time in under 1 minute!” Other reviews consistently praise the stand for simplifying a difficult task, working quickly, preventing arguments, and otherwise saving Christmas. Robert Smith summed up the feelings of many reviewers with his “Marriage Saver” post, saying, “I’ve been putting up trees for 10 years, and this year is the first time my wife and I haven’t wanted to kill each other half way through.”

^ Wells, Dorothy (1897). "Christmas in Other Lands". The School Journal. E.L. Kellogg & Company. 55: 697–8. Christmas is the occasional of family reunions. Grandmother always has the place of honor. As the time approaches for enjoying the tree, she gathers her grandchildren about her, to tell them the story of the Christ child, with the meaning of the Christ child, with the meaning of the Christmas tree; how the evergreen is meant to represent the life everlasting, the candle lights to recall the light of the world, and the star at the top of the tree is to remind them of the star of Bethlehem.

For a solid stand at a lower price, we like the Cinco C-144E Express. The Cinco is similar to the Krinner in terms of stability, and both maxed out our force gauge. It uses a traditional bolt-tightening method, which is nowhere near as easy to set up as the Krinner, but a quick-release on the bolts makes the Cinco’s operation faster and easier than that of similarly priced competition. Think of this as a particularly good version of your basic tree stand—you still have to crawl underneath to secure the trunk while someone helps hold the tree from the top, but at least you’ll spend a little less time down there.

“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!”
For 100% hassle free setup. Just step on the foot lever until the claws firmly tighten the trunk. No cutting or sawing necessary. Straight every time. No assembly required, no screws to tighten. Holds up to 1.2 gallons of water. With fully automatic water level indicator that takes the guessing out of watering your tree. Fool-proof. 3 year warranty.
Over the years, other styles of artificial Christmas trees have evolved and become popular. In 1930, the U.S.-based Addis Brush Company created the first artificial Christmas tree made from brush bristles.[98] Another type of artificial tree is the aluminum Christmas tree,[94] first manufactured in Chicago in 1958,[99] and later in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, where the majority of the trees were produced.[100] Most modern artificial Christmas trees are made from plastic recycled from used packaging materials, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC).[94] Approximately 10% of artificial Christmas trees are using virgin suspension PVC resin; despite being plastic most artificial trees are not recyclable or biodegradable.[101]
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.[26]
A true classic, the festive red-and-white Christmas tree skirt helps you jingle all the way this holiday season. Protect your floors from needles and sap while showing off your Christmas presents. Go beyond traditional holiday colors with a luxurious white velvet tree skirt that’s adorned with a beaded, gold-tone nativity scene. For a more casual look, try a skirt that boasts snowflakes or a simple holiday message. Whatever your choice, you’re sure to bring some extra yuletide spirit to your tree all season long.
Wirecutter senior editor Erica Ogg’s parents, Steve and Debi Ogg, tested the Krinner for a year and they reported that it was “probably the best Christmas tree stand we’ve owned.” Steve was especially impressed with the easy setup, saying, “I’ve never been able to set up a Christmas tree by myself. I’ve always had to have someone else hold it up, while I’m down there [trying to screw in bolts].” With the Krinner, “I could hold it in and use the foot ratchet thing, didn’t need anyone else.”
Product availability, styles, colors, brands, promotions and prices may vary between stores and online. Early sell-out possible on special purchase items, and quantities may be otherwise limited. We reserve the right in our sole discretion to limit quantities to normal retail and online purchases. No rain checks available. Not responsible for typographical errors.

Unlike the impostors of the past, the best of today's imitation trees could pass as the real thing. Another big improvement: Most artificial Christmas trees come pre-lit, so you can skip the temper-fraying ritual of distributing lights evenly around the branches and focus on these Christmas tree decorating ideas instead. Whether you're looking for something classic with no-frills tree or a unique eye-catcher, there's an artificial Christmas tree here for you.


Maybe you don’t want to spend a couple hundred dollars on a tree stand. But maybe you buy huge, heavy trees. And maybe one year, that huge heavy tree fell down when your inexpensive and delicate stand broke. Maybe then you change your mind and get a Bowling’s. Made in Michigan since 1989, these steel stands can handle any tree you bring home. The classic, almost industrial design looks great even without a tree skirt, and the big reservoirs hold plenty of water, so you won’t have to refill it quite as often as other stands.


For example, the pre-lit 7½-foot-tall, 59-inch-wide version of its Rocky Mountain Pine (same dimensions as our top pick) has 2,764 branch tips (versus our pick’s 1,867) and 1,000 bulbs (versus 750). And it has 54 percent realistic polyethylene branch tips, versus 37 percent. On the other hand, you have to choose white or colored bulbs; the Balsam Hill Rocky Mountain Pine doesn’t come in a color-switching model like our pick. And the extra tips, percent-polyethylene, and bulbs come at a premium: The Rocky Mountain pine has a list price of about $860, and typically retails for roughly $520—historically, $100 or more than our pick. If that’s in your budget, go for it: It’s a terrific tree. To get a similarly specced Balsam Hill tree at a price close to our pick, you’re limited to the company’s Traditional line, which is made entirely of PVC.
The Peanuts are celebrating the start of the winter season by ice skating on a frozen pond and singing "Christmas Time Is Here." Leaning against a nearby fence, Charlie Brown tells Linus that despite all the traditions of Christmas presents, Christmas cards and decorations, he still winds up depressed, but is not sure why. Linus dismisses Charlie Brown's attitude as typical, quoting Lucy: "Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you're the Charlie Browniest."
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.[citation needed] 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.[83] Superstitions say that it is a bad sign if Christmas greenery is not removed by Candlemas Eve.[84]
Cost: The cost of artificial Christmas trees varies dramatically. And, while it’s true that higher cost is usually synonymous with a higher branch tip count and better looking tree, there are some bargains out there that look pretty realistic for an affordable price. The trees on our list run the gambit in cost, starting at about $20 (for a tiny apartment-sized tree) to over $100 for one of our top contenders. Though all of our picks fall under $200, it’s not unheard of to drop nearly half a grand for a tree.
The Krinner has a 2½-gallon water reservoir. Of the tested stands, only the runner-up Cinco is larger, with a 3-gallon capacity. But 2½ gallons is plenty large: A tree of roughly 6 to 8 feet in height has a trunk diameter of about 4 to 6 inches, and will usually take in 1½ gallons or less per day. In fact, you should even be able to relax a little about watering, as you may not need to each day. A gauge on the tank will tell you what the water level is between fillings.
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.
The Krinner has a 2½-gallon water reservoir. Of the tested stands, only the runner-up Cinco is larger, with a 3-gallon capacity. But 2½ gallons is plenty large: A tree of roughly 6 to 8 feet in height has a trunk diameter of about 4 to 6 inches, and will usually take in 1½ gallons or less per day. In fact, you should even be able to relax a little about watering, as you may not need to each day. A gauge on the tank will tell you what the water level is between fillings.
^ Fritz Allhoff, Scott C. Lowe (2010). Christmas. John Wiley & Sons. His biographer, Eddius Stephanus, relates that while Boniface was serving as a missionary near Geismar, Germany, he had enough of the locals' reverence for the old gods. Taking an axe to an oak tree dedicated to Norse god Thor, Boniface chopped the tree down and dared Thor to zap him for it. When nothing happened, Boniface pointed out a young fir tree amid the roots of the oak and explained how this tree was a more fitting object of reverence as it pointed towards the Christian heaven and its triangular shape was reminiscent of the Christian trinity.
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Balsam Hill is the top-selling artificial-tree brand in the US, and it offers an extraordinary array of top-quality trees in three ranges of realism. After viewing and handling examples in person, we consider its Realistic line comparable overall to National Tree’s Feel Real series. Both have a mix of realistic PE branch tips and plasticky PVC filler branches. And both do a great job of fooling the eye. An exact apples-to-apples comparison isn’t possible (due to differences in lighting options, for example), but Balsam Hill’s trees tend to feature more branch tips and light bulbs at a given height-width combination.
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.
Peanuts had become a phenomenon worldwide by the mid-1960s, and the special was commissioned and sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company. It was written over a period of several weeks, and animated on a shoestring budget in only six months. In casting the characters, the producers went an unconventional route, hiring child actors. The program's soundtrack was similarly unorthodox: it features a jazz score by pianist Vince Guaraldi. Its absence of a laugh track (a staple in US television animation in this period), in addition to its tone, pacing, music, and animation, led both the producers and network to predict the project would be a disaster preceding its broadcast.

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]
Contrary to that apprehension, A Charlie Brown Christmas received high ratings and acclaim from critics. It has since been honored with both an Emmy and Peabody Award. It became an annual broadcast in the United States, and has been aired during the Christmas season traditionally every year since its premiere. Its success paved the way for a series of Peanuts television specials and films. Its jazz soundtrack also achieved commercial success, selling 4 million copies in the US. Live theatrical versions of A Charlie Brown Christmas have been staged. ABC currently holds the rights to the special and broadcasts it at least twice during the weeks leading up to Christmas.
The first artificial Christmas trees were developed in Germany during the 19th century,[93][94] though earlier examples exist.[95] These "trees" were made using goose feathers that were dyed green.,[93] as one response by Germans to continued deforestation.[94] Feather Christmas trees ranged widely in size, from a small 2-inch (51 mm) tree to a large 98-inch (2,500 mm) tree sold in department stores during the 1920s.[96] Often, the tree branches were tipped with artificial red berries which acted as candle holders.[97]
Our Snap Tree™ is a comprehensive and effortless tree assembly and storage solution. Simply snap the stand in, tilt it up, connect the treetop, and setup is complete. A built-in rolling stand offers you an easy way to find the perfect spot for your tree. After the holidays, conveniently store the tree on its stand with its upright custom storage bag. The Quick Set™ lighting system incorporates all light strings within the tree trunk. Light connections are automatically made while setting up, so a single plug illuminates your tree.
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.
^ Ingeborg Weber-Kellermann (1978). Das Weihnachtsfest. Eine Kultur- und Sozialgeschichte der Weihnachtszeit [Christmas: A cultural and social history of Christmastide] (in German). Bucher. p. 22. ISBN 3-7658-0273-5. Man kann als sicher annehmen daß die Luzienbräuche gemeinsam mit dem Weinachtsbaum in Laufe des 19. Jahrhunderts aus Deutschland über die gesellschaftliche Oberschicht der Herrenhöfe nach Schweden gekommen sind. (English: One can assume with certainty that traditions of lighting, together with the Christmas tree, crossed from Germany to Sweden in the 19th century via the princely upper classes.)
Although the tradition of decorating churches and homes with evergreens at Christmas was long established,[32] 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.[33] The custom did not at first spread much beyond the royal family.[34] 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:[35]
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