Balsam Hill's designers carefully craft our trees to mimic nature using site visits and cutting from live trees to guide them. We offer three types of foliage options that are made from either PE or PVC material. While some trees use one type of foliage exclusively, others may use mix of foliage types to achieve a particular look. The specific mix is specified on each product detail page in the section that describes the tree's foliage.
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.”
The tree was traditionally decorated with "roses made of colored paper, apples, wafers, tinsel, [and] sweetmeats". In the 18th century, it began to be illuminated by candles, which were ultimately replaced by Christmas lights after the advent of electrification. Today, there is a wide variety of traditional ornaments, such as garlands, baubles, tinsel, and candy canes. An angel or star might be placed at the top of the tree to represent the Angel Gabriel or the Star of Bethlehem, respectively, from the Nativity. Edible items such as gingerbread, chocolate and other sweets are also popular and are tied to or hung from the tree's branches with ribbons.
I don't need a big, flashy Christmas tree. Mostly because I don't have the time to set it up and decorate it, only to then undecorate and store it for most of the year. Plus, I have dogs. Who, will more than likely, take any sort of decorations off the tree...if not "water" the tree when I'm not looking. So, I went with the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. It isn't such a bad little tree.
Next, we consulted review sites like Wirecutter and cultivation sites like New York Magazine to get a more well-rounded view of the trees on the market. And finally, we browsed home decorating sites like Good Housekeeping to see which artificial trees they liked best. From there, we charted all of the trees and their specs (like height and material) to compare and contrast which ones were best.
“This is a lovely tree; it is so realistic-looking that it has to be touched to confirm that it’s not real. Substantial branches don’t sag, except with the very heaviest ornaments. I like lots of lights, and the way these lights are mounted gives the appearance of having more lights, even with ornaments. It was easy to assemble; though you should plan on spending a lot of time ‘fluffing’ since there are many, many branch tips! I bought this one for my mother; and we liked it so much, I’ve ordered the 7.5-foot-tall one as a gift for my daughter’s family!”
While they're growing, Real Christmas Trees support life by absorbing carbon dioxide and other gases and emitting fresh oxygen. The farms that grow Christmas Trees stabilize soil, protect water supplies and provide refuge for wildlife while creating scenic green belts. Often, Christmas Trees are grown on soil that doesn't support other crops. See what the experts say about Real Christmas Trees.
The John Wright company produced the L.L. Bean Heirloom Christmas tree stand so the frame is entirely made of cast iron. While this tree stand felt nigh indestructible, it didn't hold onto our Christmas tree well. On a side note, some consumers may take issue with the cast iron construction. It weighs around 20 pounds. Not an insurmountable weight, but enough that we wouldn't want to lug it in and out of the attic every Christmas.
More than a decade ago, the only material used in trees was polyvinyl chloride. Now, on good trees, PVC appears only as the obviously fake filler branches near the tree’s trunk. PVC is cheaper to produce than PE, and it’s also a lot lighter, so the mixed materials help to balance beauty, cost, and weight. All the trees we considered for this guide consisted of realistic PE branch tips around a lighter, cheaper PVC core. Even though all-PVC trees are still widely available, we don’t recommend them. From a distance they look like trees, but up close they look terrible. On the plus side, however, they are cheap: A 6-foot tree shouldn’t cost more than $100. Also, what was once a genuine health concern—the use of lead as a PVC stabilizer—is no longer an issue in most artificial trees sold in the US, according to National Tree Company and the American Christmas Tree Association, which represents artificial-tree companies.
A number of pre-lit wreaths are battery-operated, so no extension cord is necessary. This keeps a neat and tidy appearance wherever you put them which is great for creating a festive front door. The lights on your pre-lit wreath can even brighten a hallway or entryway. Dazzle a kitchen window with a tinsel wreath or place a large, 48-inch wreath over a bed in the guest room for a little extra holiday cheer.
We started our quest for the best artificial christmas tree to buy by researching the artificial Christmas tree market. While there are quite a few brands out there, many of the trees that are sold are almost (if not completely) identical in material and composition. Many of them are just renamed for different brands. We also found that some stores, like Walmart, sold multiple brands online but only had their in-house brand in our local brick and mortar stores.
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.
If the National Tree and GE picks are unavailable, this Home Accents Holiday tree is a worthy alternative. It’s only 21 percent polyethylene—barely half our pick’s percentage—and up close, the fakey PVC needles that make up most of its foliage are pretty obvious. But its high branch-tip count (2,602 versus our pick’s 1,867) gives it a full, realistic appearance when viewed from across the room, and its greater girth (68 versus 59 inches) will fill even the largest living space. Like our other picks, its lights (750, same as our top pick) can switch between white and multicolored; and as on our GE also-great pick, the light strings connect automatically when you assemble the tree.
Ease of assembly, disassembly and storage: Most of the artificial trees on the market (including the ones on our list) come in three parts that are easy to click together. However, the process of “fluffing” the tree (spreading the tips apart and arranging the branches) can be time consuming. The more time you spend fluffing your tree, the better it will look. More on that later.
The show's glowing reviews were highlighted with an ad in trade magazines; one thanked Coca-Cola, CBS, United Features Syndicate, and the show's viewers. Fantasy released the special's soundtrack the first week of December 1965, coinciding with the special's airdate. United Feature Syndicate pushed hard to promote the special, while Word Publishing issued a hardcover adaption of the special. CBS promptly ordered four additional Peanuts specials. A Charlie Brown Christmas was awarded the Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's Program in 1966. "Charlie Brown is not used to winning, so we thank you," Schulz joked.
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.
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 a live Christmas tree has lots of roots you'll need more of a bucket to keep the tree fresh and healthy. This base can hold up to a nine foot tree with a whopping six inch diameter trunk. Once the stand is set up (less than five minutes) the whole tree (roots and all!) get placed into the bucket, and the turn straight system will ensure it sit prettily inside. A one-gallon basin for water keeps your tree nice and hydrated.
If the National Tree and GE are unavailable, the Home Accents Holiday 7.5 ft. Pre-Lit Grand Fir Quick Set Artificial Christmas Tree with Supernova Color Changing Lights is a worthy alternative. It’s not as widely available—Home Accents Holiday is exclusive to Home Depot—but in most parts of the country that still means you can find one easily enough.
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.
The first artificial Christmas trees were developed in Germany during the 19th century, though earlier examples exist. These "trees" were made using goose feathers that were dyed green., as one response by Germans to continued deforestation. 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. Often, the tree branches were tipped with artificial red berries which acted as candle holders.
“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!”
Classic Needles Balsam Hill's Classic Needle foliage has soft, flat and flexible needles with a more classic artificial look. These needles are made from thin sheets of PVC that are cut into fine strands to resemble evergreen needles. We use these resilient, flexible needles as the primary foliage of many of the trees in our very affordable Traditional trees. It is also used as filler for most of our Realistic and Most Realistic Christmas trees because of its superior ability to block light and create a "full" look for the tree.
^ 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.
The modern Christmas tree is frequently traced to the symbolism of trees in pre-Christian winter rites, wherein Viking and Saxon worshiped trees. 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.