However, this GE tree has fewer lights than the National Tree—600 versus 750—so it falls just short of our recommended 100 lights 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, or even halfway across it, but up close you may find the GE slightly more artificial-looking.

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.

We unboxed and set up the tree over the Thanksgiving 2018 holiday weekend, and as we found the year before, it’s still in near perfect condition. The arms all fold down smoothly, the lights all work, no needles are bent or broken, the stand is still sturdy—we really have nothing to complain about. In the past two years, we’ve come to expect making some minor adjustments, including pulling branches into position, straightening the top stem, and positioning ornaments strategically to cover gaps, as you would with any tree. The cross-country truck ride in 2016 was more abuse than most owners are likely to put their tree through when simply hauling it in and out of storage at home. After seeing this tree survive the shipment unscathed, we’re fully confident in its ability to last the decade or so that most owners will keep it at home. It genuinely looks good, too: A 5-year-old seeing the tree for the first time in 2017 confidently declared that it was real (before he scooted underneath it mechanic-style and changed his mind upon a closer inspection).
The Cinco Express fits in the mid-sized tree stand range. It is ideal for real trees up to ten feet tall with a trunk diameter of up to seven inches. This stand is made of heavy-duty plastic. The base features three galvanized pins in its center to hold the tree in place before final adjustments. A push-pull ratchet mechanism makes it easier to set up and take down your tree. The base has an overall diameter of 20 inches and fits two gallons of water.
On December 6, 2001, a half-hour documentary on the special titled The Making of 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' (hosted by Whoopi Goldberg) aired on ABC. This documentary has been released as a special feature on the DVD and Blu-ray editions of the special. In subsequent years, to allow the special in an hour timeslot to be broadcast uncut for time, the animated vignette collection, Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales, is broadcast in the remaining time for that hour.
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.

“I was VERY impressed by this affordable little tree!! Came in perfect condition, set up in less than two minutes, lights worked perfectly, and it has a very sturdy, dependable base. It breaks down into a box that a short stack of large dinner plates could fit into. All in all, I would consider it my best-valued decoration in my home to date, as far as price goes. It definitely makes a beautiful holiday statement and I’m sure I will be displaying it for YEARS to come! I may add some more LED lights myself for a more profound look at night, though.”
The most significant factor that sets the Krinner apart is the unique fastening mechanism that’s far simpler and easier to use than that of any other tree stand available. You simply set the tree in the stand, press several times on a foot pedal, and then five very sturdy plastic claws, looped together with a heavy-gauge metal wire, tighten down against the tree trunk to set it in position. The final pushes on the pedal snug up the claws and hold the tree securely. A sliding red button on the pedal locks it in place, but if you need to make further adjustments, it’s really no big deal to unlock the claws and reset the tree. (A slightly more expensive Deluxe version even rings a bell when the tree is secured.)
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.
You’ll want to make sure you have the right Christmas tree base. Keep in mind, the taller the tree, the larger the base. Also, the Christmas tree stand will add height to your tree, so plan to leave enough room between the tree and the ceiling to fit a Christmas tree topper. Surround the base of your tree with a Christmas tree skirt to create the perfect backdrop for presents. If you choose a real tree, the skirt can collect any fallen needles. For the final touch of holiday flair, shop The Home Depot’s huge assortment of Christmas decorations, including Christmas lights, ornaments and garland. And for after the holidays, be sure you have tree bags, organizers and plenty of storage options to get everything packed away neatly for next year.
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