For this guide, we defaulted to the most popular choices in our quest to come up with a tree that would please the most people. Our interview with the sales manager at National Tree Company yielded a few key facts about trends in the industry. The 7½-foot size is the most popular, as US home ceilings are usually 8 feet high, but we’ve also added several smaller (6½-foot) trees to this guide for those with smaller homes or apartments. People hugely prefer pre-lit trees, as well; to cover everyone’s tastes, we decided to look for a tree that could switch between all-white and multicolor. People also want artificial trees to appear convincingly lifelike. And although first-time tree buyers will probably be surprised at a good tree’s price, we knew we’d be in the mainstream range as long as we came in between $250 and $400, judging by the information we got from House of Holiday’s Larry Gurino, National Tree, and our own research. An artificial tree can easily last 10 or 15 years, so the amortized cost is a lot easier to swallow—the average price for a live tree as of 2016 was $51, according to CBS News.
Despite the popularity of the strip and acclaim from advertisers, networks were not interested in the special. By April 1965, Time featured the Peanuts gang on its magazine cover, perhaps prompting a call from John Allen of the New York-based McCann Erickson Agency. Mendelson imagined he would sell his documentary, and blindly agreed to Allen's proposal: an animated half-hour Peanuts Christmas special. The Coca-Cola Company was looking for a special for advertising during the holiday season. "The bad news is that today is Wednesday and they'll need an outline in Atlanta by Monday," Allen remarked to Mendelson. He quickly contacted Schulz, and the duo got to work with plans for a Peanuts Christmas special. The duo prepared an outline for the Coca-Cola executives in less than one day, and Mendelson would later recall that the bulk of ideas came from Schulz, whose "ideas flowed nonstop." According to Mendelson, their pitch to Coca-Cola consisted of "winter scenes, a school play, a scene to be read from the Bible, and a sound track combining jazz and traditional music." The outline did not change over the course of its production.
A reference to the animated television special A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) based on the comic strip Peanuts by American cartoonist Charles M. Schulz (1922–2000), in which the title character Charlie Brown picks an unattractive Christmas tree to decorate. The selection of the tree represents a protest against the commercialization of Christmas.
Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing. We’ve covered the best artificial Christmas trees, Christmas tree toppers, Christmas lights, and wreaths, and now we’re zeroing in on the best Christmas tree stands on Amazon. (Note that reviews have been edited for length and clarity.)
The TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) was influential on the pop culture surrounding the Christmas tree. Aluminum Christmas trees were popular during the early 1960s in the US. They were satirized in the Charlie Brown show and came to be seen as symbolizing the commercialization of Christmas. The term Charlie Brown Christmas tree, describing any poor-looking or malformed little tree, also derives from the 1965 TV special, based on the appearance of Charlie Brown's Christmas tree.
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Aside from appreciating the quality, beauty, and value of our pick, we chose a National Tree model for a few other reasons, namely exceptionally wide availability (online, in national chain stores, and in mom-and-pop shops), diverse options (in lighting, height, girth, and other considerations) to fit everyone’s unique needs, consistently great reviews, and the solidity of 50-plus years of a family-run business.
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.
A Charlie Brown Christmas became a Christmas staple in the United States for several decades afterward. Within the scope of future Peanuts specials, it established their style, combining thoughtful themes, jazzy scores, and simple animation. It also, according to author Charles Solomon, established the half-hour animated special as a television tradition, inspiring the creation of numerous others, including How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966) and Frosty the Snowman (1969). (Earlier animated specials such as Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer ran a full hour.) USA Today summarized the program's appeal upon its 40th anniversary in 2005: "Scholars of pop culture say that shining through the program's skeletal plot is the quirky and sophisticated genius that fueled the phenomenal popularity of Schulz's work." Beyond its references to religion, unheard of on television at the time, the special also marked the first time children voiced animated characters.
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".
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.
If you want a rotating stand for a live tree, you don’t have many choices. This one from Northlight will hold trees smaller trees between 4 and 7 feet tall, and up to 65 pounds. You don’t even have to worry about the lights unwrapping from the tree, since this stand rotates 150 degrees one way, then 150 degrees back the other way. Just build in a little slack in the cord to account for that. A three-way switch lets you choose among the three settings: rotation, rotation with Christmas songs, and songs only.
^ The Christmas Tree: published by Darton and Clark, London. "The ceremony of the Christmas tree, so well known throughout Germany, bids fair to be welcomed among us, with the other festivities of the season, especially now the Queen, within her own little circle, has set the fashion, by introducing it on the Christmas Eve in her own regal palace." Book review of The Christmas Tree from the Weekly Chronicle, 14 December 1844, quoted in an advert headlined "A new pleasure for Christmas" in The Times, 23 December 1844, p. 8.
^ so in The Lutheran Witness, Volume 83 (1964), p. 548 "the Chrismon (from CHRISt-MONogram) tree", and in James Edgar, Ellen Edgar, A Chrismon Service (1981), p. 2. The word's actual etymology, from Middle Latin (Landulf of Milan, 12th century) crismon, is less than clear: George Henry Lane-Fox Pitt-Rivers, The riddle of the 'Labarum' and the origin of Christian symbols, Allen & Unwin, 1966, p. 28; "I can find no roots, etymology or grounds for the adoption of the word adopted by some Christians, 'Chrismon', which is supposed to mean the 'Monogram of Christ', and which appears in some dictionaries (i.e. Funk and Wagnalis, 1922)."
Water Basin: To keep your tree hydrated throughout the holiday season, look for Christmas tree stands that can hold the recommended amount of water your tree needs. Trees that are 6 feet tall require about a gallon of water a day, while taller trees need around 1.5 to 1.75 gallons a day. Be sure to water your tree every day. A dry Christmas tree is a major fire hazard. Plus, not watering your Christmas tree will cause it to shed its pine needles and lose its brilliance.
The GE 7.5’ Just Cut EZ Light Frasier Fir Dual Color LED has many favorable specs compared with our top pick from National Tree. It’s the same height and width, but it has more branch tips for a fuller appearance (2,076 versus 1,867). Like our top pick, the GE lets you switch between white and multicolor lighting modes; in addition, the GE model’s light strings connect automatically via the central pole as you assemble the three sections of the tree, a minor but handy feature that our top pick lacks. But we are especially fond of the way GE’s LED Christmas lights look—in our test, we found them to come closest to the familiar warm glow of incandescent bulbs. However, the GE has 600 lights, versus our top pick’s 750, meaning it falls just short of our recommended 100 bulbs per foot of tree. And at 30 percent polyethylene, versus 37 percent on the National Tree pick, the GE tree has a lower proportion of ultra-realistic branch tips—and a higher proportion of fake-looking PVC “needles.” You’ll never notice a difference from across the room, but up close you may find the GE slightly more artificial-looking.
^ Encyclopædia Britannica. 2003. The modern Christmas tree ... originated in western Germany. The main prop of a popular medieval play about Adam and Eve was a fir tree hung with apples (paradise tree) representing the Garden of Eden. The Germans set up a paradise tree in their homes on December 24, the religious feast day of Adam and Eve. They hung wafers on it (symbolizing the host, the Christian sign of redemption); in a later tradition, the wafers were replaced by cookies of various shapes. Candles, too, were often added as the symbol of Christ. In the same room, during the Christmas season, was the Christmas pyramid, a triangular construction of wood, with shelves to hold Christmas figurines, decorated with evergreens, candles, and a star. By the 16th century, the Christmas pyramid and paradise tree had merged, becoming the Christmas tree.
A super-fun way to mix things up this year is with colored Christmas trees. Use one as your main tree or start a monotone holiday theme room. We’ve got a rainbow of colors to pick from: a black Christmas tree, white Christmas tree, pink Christmas tree, red Christmas tree, blue Christmas tree or purple Christmas tree. Or go metallic with a silver Christmas tree, aluminum Christmas tree or gold Christmas tree.