There was an old pagan custom, associated with Koliada, of suspending a branch of fir, spruce or pine called Podłaźniczka from the ceiling. The branches were decorated with apples, nuts, cookies, colored paper, stars made of straw, ribbons and colored wafers. Some people believed that the tree had magical powers that were linked with harvesting and success in the next year.
The modern Christmas tree is frequently traced to the symbolism of trees in pre-Christian winter rites, wherein Viking and Saxon worshiped trees.[14] The story of Saint Boniface cutting down Donar's Oak illustrates the pagan practices in 8th century among the Germans. A later folk version of the story adds the detail that an evergreen tree grew in place of the felled oak, telling them about how its triangular shape reminds humanity of the Trinity and how it points to heaven.[15][16]
Most artificial trees are made of recycled PVC rigid sheets using tin stabilizer in the recent years. In the past, lead was often used as a stabilizer in PVC, but is now banned by Chinese laws.[citation needed] The use of lead stabilizer in Chinese imported trees has been an issue of concern among politicians and scientists over recent years. A 2004 study found that while in general artificial trees pose little health risk from lead contamination, there do exist "worst-case scenarios" where major health risks to young children exist.[118] A 2008 United States Environmental Protection Agency report found that as the PVC in artificial Christmas trees aged it began to degrade.[119] The report determined that of the 50 million artificial trees in the United States approximately 20 million were 9 or more years old, the point where dangerous lead contamination levels are reached.[119] A professional study on the life-cycle assessment of both real and artificial Christmas trees revealed that one must use an artificial Christmas tree at least 20 years to leave an environmental footprint as small as the natural Christmas tree.[116]
Charlie Brown's depression is only made worse by the goings-on in the neighborhood, most of which show his peers' rampant commercialism. He encounters Violet and sarcastically "thanks" her for the Christmas card he never received, only for Violet to proudly snipe back that she never sent him one. At the psychiatric booth, Lucy expresses joy in the sound of jingling money, tries to diagnose Charlie Brown with various phobias, admits she never receives her Christmas wish of real estate, and ultimately decides that Charlie Brown needs more involvement. Lucy recommends that Charlie Brown direct an upcoming Christmas play and offers to help him do so; Charlie Brown jumps at the opportunity to have a leadership role. At Snoopy's doghouse, Charlie Brown is further disgusted when he finds out that his dog has entered the doghouse into a lights and display contest with a cash prize. He is finally accosted by his sister Sally, who asks him to write her letter to Santa Claus. When she hints at having an extremely long and specific list of requests, and says she will accept large sums of money as a substitute ("tens and twenties"), Charlie Brown becomes even more dismayed and runs off.
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]
For this guide, we gave ourselves a crash course in artificial Christmas trees. Wirecutter editor Tim Heffernan visited a fake-tree manufacturer’s New Jersey headquarters, shopped for trees at several big-box stores, and spent hours examining trees at House of Holiday—New York City’s largest holiday shop—whose owner Larry Gurino “love[s] to geek out over artificial trees.” Gurino’s deep knowledge greatly added to this guide, as did the time we spent shopping and researching the hundreds of options online. Wirecutter research editor Courtney Schley spent hours speaking with the American Christmas Tree Association, which represents artificial-tree makers, to understand the industry itself, including manufacturing processes, sales and design trends, and statistics.
The Cinco has a big 3-gallon reservoir and an added overflow basin to catch drips (which the Krinner lacks). Its reservoir is more exposed than the Krinner’s, which makes it easier to fill, but some pets could treat it like a giant pine-scented water dish in your living room. This stand is made of a hard plastic, like the Krinner, and they both seem tough enough for the job. We should mention that durability of the stands didn’t seem like an issue in any of the options we tested—the bigger variable was the stability, and that’s what set the Cinco and our main pick apart.
Comparing the Cinco to our pick, Wirecutter general manager David Perpich actually finds the Cinco’s bolt-tightening work to be a benefit, as he likes to have a lot of control when positioning the tree. “My take,” he says “Krinner is easier to stand up solo. Cinco is easier to make adjustments. If someone is doing this solo and ‘good enough’ works, the Krinner is a dream. If someone has a partner or wants to ability to tweak and get it just right, cinco is way better.” We’d add the Cinco is likely to be better able to compensate for crooked trees or trees with knots or other odd shapes at the point where it attaches to the stand.
Because we advised against pre-lit trees (as you typically can’t remove the lights from the tree even if they burn out), we chose to focus our research on unlit trees. That being said, we know that the convenience of a pre-lit tree is sometimes irresistible. And we have to admit, they make festive night lights. So, we’re still sharing our favorite pre-lit pick.

The program's script has been described as "barebones", and was completed in only a few weeks.[13] In the days following the special's sell to Coca-Cola, Mendelson and animator Bill Melendez met with Schulz in his home to expand upon the ideas promised in the pitch. Mendelson noted that on the previous Christmas Day he and his spouse had read Hans Christian Andersen's "The Fir-Tree" to their children.[8] Schulz countered with the idea that there be a tree with the spirit of lead character Charlie Brown.[14] Mendelson suggested they employ a laugh track, a staple of television animation, but Schulz rejected this idea immediately.[14] He felt strongly that the audience should not be informed on when to laugh.[13] They spoke at length about creating an official theme that was neither jazz nor traditional to open the program. Schulz wanted a part of the special to feature the character of Schroeder performing Beethoven, and Mendelson combined this with the inclusion of Guaraldi's "Linus & Lucy" number.[14] Schulz penned the script for A Charlie Brown Christmas, with Melendez plotting out the animation via a storyboard. His storyboard contained six panels for each shot, spanning a combined eighty or-so pages.[14]
For one, several of this GE tree’s specs are favorable when 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 (2,073 versus 1,867). Like our top pick, the GE lets you switch between white and multicolor lighting modes; additionally, the lights connect automatically through the central pole as you assemble the three sections of the tree, a handy (but not vital) feature. But we especially love the way GE’s LED Christmas lights look—in our test of Christmas lights, we found GE’s tones closest to the familiar warm glow of incandescent bulbs. That’s not to say anything against National Tree’s lights: We found them very pretty, especially the pale gold of the white-light setting. But if you seek something close to the incandescent look, the GE tree may be your ticket.
At only 2 ft. tall the Crestwood Spruce At only 2 ft. tall the Crestwood Spruce Tree is great for tabletop display or for adding holiday cheer to children's or secondary rooms. Trimmed with silver bristle pine cones red berries and glitter this tree is pre-lit with 35 energy-efficient and long lasting warm white LED lights. It features ...  More + Product Details Close
Other trends have developed in the early 2000s as well. Optical fiber Christmas trees come in two major varieties; one resembles a traditional Christmas tree.[102] One Dallas-based company offers "holographic mylar" trees in many hues.[95] Tree-shaped objects made from such materials as cardboard,[103] glass,[104] ceramic or other materials can be found in use as tabletop decorations. Upside-down artificial Christmas trees became popular for a short time and were originally introduced as a marketing gimmick; they allowed consumers to get closer to ornaments for sale in retail stores and opened up floor space for more products.[105] Artificial trees became increasingly popular during the late 20th century.[94] Users of artificial Christmas trees assert that they are more convenient, and, because they are reusable, much cheaper than their natural alternative.[94] They are also considered much safer[106] as natural trees can be a significant fire hazard. Between 2001 and 2007 artificial Christmas tree sales in the U.S. jumped from 7.3 million to 17.4 million.[107] Currently it is estimated that around 58% of Christmas trees used in the United States are artificial while numbers in the United Kingdom are indicated to be around 66%.[108]
Several other species are used to a lesser extent. Less-traditional conifers are sometimes used, such as giant sequoia, Leyland cypress, Monterey cypress and eastern juniper. Various types of spruce tree are also used for Christmas trees (including the blue spruce and, less commonly, the white spruce); but spruces begin to lose their needles rapidly upon being cut, and spruce needles are often sharp, making decorating uncomfortable. Virginia pine is still available on some tree farms in the southeastern United States; however, its winter color is faded. The long-needled eastern white pine is also used there, though it is an unpopular Christmas tree in most parts of the country, owing also to its faded winter coloration and limp branches, making decorating difficult with all but the lightest ornaments. Norfolk Island pine is sometimes used, particularly in Oceania, and in Australia, some species of the genera Casuarina and Allocasuarina are also occasionally used as Christmas trees. But, by far, the most common tree is the Monterey pine. Adenanthos sericeus or Albany woolly bush is commonly sold in southern Australia as a potted living Christmas tree. Hemlock species are generally considered unsuitable as Christmas trees due to their poor needle retention and inability to support the weight of lights and ornaments.
The Cinco has a big 3-gallon reservoir and an added overflow basin to catch drips (which the Krinner lacks). Its reservoir is more exposed than the Krinner’s, which makes it easier to fill, but some pets could treat it like a giant pine-scented water dish in your living room. This stand is made of a hard plastic, like the Krinner, and they both seem tough enough for the job. We should mention that durability of the stands didn’t seem like an issue in any of the options we tested—the bigger variable was the stability, and that’s what set the Cinco and our main pick apart.

“I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it when I first assembled it. But it’s perfect! Now that it’s all decorated and in its special spot, it’s really pretty. I like the fact that it is not really full, as we have a very small house and a full tree takes up too much space. This one is perfect. I also like the fact that the tree trunk shows! I am thinking that I can remove the Christmas ornaments and leave it up. Will put some ‘non-Christmas’ things on it and leave it up all year! Love it.”
Much of the background cast came from Mendelson's home neighborhood in northern California.[18] According to Robbins, the children viewed the script's sophisticated dialogue as "edgy," finding several words and phrases, among them "eastern syndicate", difficult to pronounce.[15] He recalled the recording sessions as chaotic, with excited children running rampant. Nevertheless, the recording of A Charlie Brown Christmas was completed in one day.[15] Jefferson Airplane was recording next door and came over to get the children's autographs.[2] Following the special's broadcast, the children became wildly popular in their respective elementary schools; Robbins recalled groups approaching him asking him to recite lines of dialogue.[18]
In 2013 Tams-Witmark Music Library, Inc. began licensing an official stage version of the television special authorized by the Schulz family and Lee Mendelson.[43] The stage version follows the television special but includes an optional sing-along section of Christmas songs at the end. It includes all of Vince Guaraldi's music from the television special and the television script is adapted for the stage by Eric Schaeffer. It has been performed at hundreds of schools, churches and community theatres.
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.
A little pricey, but you won’t find a stand that’s easier to use—and that includes when you’re stuck putting the tree up by yourself. Unlike most stands, which require you to screw in three or four long threaded bolts, the Krinner has a simple foot pedal. Pump it up and down and five claws slowly close in on and grip your tree. All you have to do is hold it up straight. The XXL fits trees up to 12 feet tall with trunk diameters up to seven inches. That might be overkill for most families, but you’d much rather have a stand that’s too big than come home to find out that your tree won’t fit. There’s a convenient water level indicator, too.

A layer of cork on the bottom of the stand protects your floors, which is nice if you have hardwood. The most innovative aspect of this stand is the vertical arms, which can be adjusted up or down to avoid issues with limbs. That’s a much better solution than just cutting them off and taking away some of the fullness of your tree. Santa’s Solution has a 1.5 gallon water reservoir and holds trees as tall as ten feet, with trunks up to 6.5 inches in diameter.
The Tree Genie XXL stand has a 20-inch diameter and is made of a plastic resin. It weighs approximately eighteen pounds without water. The base holds 2.5 gallons and features a water level indicator that tells you when to refill the water. The Tree Genie L has an 18-inch diameter, weighs thirteen pounds, holds a gallon of water, and accommodates trees up to eight feet tall.
“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.”
In addition to different materials and levels of realism, Balsam Hill offers four Signature artificial Christmas tree collections, including Aspen Christmas Signature, Vermont Signature, Napa Christmas Signature, and Smoky Mountain Christmas Signature. All 12 foot and under Christmas trees in these collections even come with our 3-year limited warranty. So, you can rest assured that your Balsam Hill artificial Christmas tree will look flawless all season long, and for years to come!
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