Real vs. fake. Which is better? It’s a highly-contested topic each holiday season, and it’s one that the American Christmas Tree Association (the organization representing the artificial tree industry) and the National Christmas Tree Association (the organization representing the real tree industry) take seriously. Both groups make their cases for selecting either a real or faux tree, and we used them to inform our comparison.


Cost and realism go hand in hand. Using molds often taken from actual branches, artificial-tree manufacturers shape polyethylene, or PE, to produce highly realistic branch tips. More tips generally make the tree look fuller, with fewer gaps, and more tips cost more money. Similarly, a higher percentage of polyethylene in a tree’s construction generally equates to greater realism—and a higher price. Our pick, for reference, has 1,867 tips and is 37 percent polyethylene, and is convincingly lifelike even up close. You can get trees with far more eye-popping stats, though. This particularly lovely Balsam Fir from Balsam Hill’s most-realistic line of trees, for example, has almost 6,000 tips and is 70 percent polyethylene—and comes at a price to match that extravagance. As with real trees, overall bigger sizes come with bigger costs: House of Holiday, for example, carries more than two dozen trees measuring 12 feet or taller with price tags north of $1,000.

“Let’s face it, this tree stand is made for people who LOVE Christmas. They love it so much that they want to enjoy every minute of it, not ruin it with the stress, squabbles, broken ornaments, broken dreams, and broken relationships that come with putting up a real Christmas tree in one of those pathetic screw-based stands that just flat-out suck. For the past four years, we’ve gotten our 10- to 12-foot trees up, straight, and secure in the German-engineered-and-built Genie XXL in under TWO MINUTES each time. True story. If you insist on a live tree to make the most of your Christmas season, insist on a Krinner Genie XXL to put it in. You won’t be disappointed!”


Pre-lit trees make up 90 percent of the artificial trees sold in the US, according to the American Christmas Tree Association; incandescent bulbs still dominate, but LEDs are rapidly making inroads. LED bulbs cost a bit more up front but should last longer than incandescents, in both lifespan and durability terms. However, modern incandescents are more reliable than those of the past, and one burned-out bulb no longer necessarily causes the whole string to go dark. On pre-lit trees, you want roughly 100 bulbs (or more) per foot of tree height; less than that looks a bit sparse. Finally, you shouldn’t pay extra for the fancy flashing patterns that are increasingly common, unless you know you’ll use them. As Larry Gurino of House of Holiday confided to us, “Most people don’t use them—they just want to see them [advertised] on the box.”
^ "1 мая собираются праздновать 59% россиян" [May 1 going to celebrate 59% of Russians] (in Russian). April 27, 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-11-01. Retrieved December 2, 2012. New Year is among the most important holidays for 81% of Russians, while Christmas is such only for 19%, ranking after Victory Day, Easter, International Women's Day.
Height and dimensions: Consider the height of the tree you’d like to purchase, bearing in mind that you’ll need to access the top of the tree for decorating. If the ceilings in your home are within the standard (American) eight to nine foot range, a 7.5 foot tree is probably ideal for you. The dimensions of the tree you purchase should be dependent on where you’re displaying it. If you’re placing it in a small corner, a narrow tree is best, whereas a tree with a wide girth is best for a front and center display.

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.
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.
Unlike other models, this stand doesn’t come with screws or assembly required. To use, simply place the tree in the stand, hold it and then pump the foot pedal until the claws grasp the tree into place.This patented structure is designed to hold trees up to 12 feet tall securely in place with only a few minutes of assembly required. Plus, its automatic water level indicator retains up to two-and-a-half gallons of liquid, so can you rest-easy knowing your accent will be watered — even on the days you forget!
The 30" round Christmas Tree Mat is composed of two non-woven fiber materials separated by a patented barrier media. It is lightweight and can be easily cleaned. It is designed to protect hardwood and carpeted floors from spilled live tree stand water and resulting stains as well as hardwood scratches associated with a trimmed tree during the holidays. Can be used with live or artificial trees.
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.

Our designs offer a combination of the most popular artificial Christmas tree features at affordable price points. Whether you need a tree with a slim shape, LED lights, or realistic foliage, you will be able to find one that the whole family will love - no compromise required. For decorating inspiration and gift ideas, visit the Tree Classics blog. There we show you how you can maximize your tree and holiday décor with practical tips and tricks. When done browsing, easily place orders through our convenient online store.
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.

If our pick isn’t your cup of tea, the good news is, you generally get what you pay for in artificial trees, and you can rely on a few key specs when shopping. The price directly relates to the number of branch tips, the height, and the girth—an often-overlooked factor that Gurino emphasized in our interview—and all those details contribute to the tree’s general level of realism. Pretty much all trees come out of a handful of factories in China and Taiwan to be branded and sold here, with the same tree sometimes renamed. National Tree Company representatives told us on a visit to its New Jersey headquarters that the tree sold as the Bucks County Fir in Pennsylvania may be called something totally different in Connecticut. You may very well find another brand selling a different version of the Downswept Douglas Fir, disguised by some superficial finishing touches that could suit your style better. If one of the brands we recommend has something you like, and the specs and price seem in line with our reporting, you’ve probably found your perfect tree.
Perhaps a good “starter tree” for a young family, it has all of the basic functionalities like quick-set technology and an included stand, lights and fuses. However, this tree’s comparatively low price point shows through in its branch tip count (just 1000 tips) and only 500 lights. Even less reassuringly, the lights are incandescent, which means you risk burnout before you’ve gotten the most out of your tree.

Give the hanging wreath a break, and incorporate one into your table setting. Here, we spruced up a boxwood wreath with succulents, eucalyptus sprigs, and gold ribbon and placed a grouping of mismatched green candles in the center. If guests are coming, add a few fresh white tulips to the wreath with florist water picks and light the candles. Because this is a low arrangement, dinner-party conversations will flow easily all night.


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.
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.
Please note that all tree heights indicated on our website include the tree stand. If you want the tallest Christmas tree your room will allow, we recommend buying a tree that is six inches shorter than your ceiling height to allow some clearance for a tree topper. For example, if you have a standard 8 - 9 foot ceiling, we would suggest a 7½ foot tree. Here are some more tips:
Height and dimensions: Consider the height of the tree you’d like to purchase, bearing in mind that you’ll need to access the top of the tree for decorating. If the ceilings in your home are within the standard (American) eight to nine foot range, a 7.5 foot tree is probably ideal for you. The dimensions of the tree you purchase should be dependent on where you’re displaying it. If you’re placing it in a small corner, a narrow tree is best, whereas a tree with a wide girth is best for a front and center display.
One of the Krinner’s other major advantages is the ability to handle a wide range of trunk sizes. With the claws cranked all the way down, this stand will hold a tree with a trunk as small as 1 inch in diameter. The maximum trunk diameter it will accept is 7 inches. That gives you a lot of flexibility on tree sizes. When testing on our smaller tree, with its 3.5-inch diameter trunk, some other stands’ screws could barely extend far enough to meet the trunk (and they wouldn’t work with a tree any smaller than that).
“This is seriously the most beautiful artificial tree I’ve ever seen. I love all the different textures, colors, and pine-cone accents. The lights are a nice, warm white. The tree is beautiful enough on its own, even without ornaments. Worth the money. It is amazingly full as well. Those who said it was thin did not take the time to fluff it properly, which does take a bit of patience, but is worth the effort. Love it!”
^ 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 product holds trees up to 10 feet tall with trunks up to 6 inches in diameter. They use a speed nut design that allows you to easily and quickly push stabilizing bolts into the base of the tree without tediously turning the bolt. Once the bolt makes contact with the trunk, simply tighten the bolt to secure and straighten your tree upright. It's easy as one, two, tree! It features a 1-gallon water reservoir and a wide drip lip at the base to prevent any water from getting on your floor if...
^ Connelly, Mark (2000). Christmas at the Movies: Images of Christmas in American, British and European Cinema. I.B.Tauris. p. 186. ISBN 9781860643972. A chapter on representations of Christmas in Soviet cinema could, in fact be the shortest in this collection: suffice it to say that there were, at least officially, no Christmas celebrations in the atheist socialist state after its foundation in 1917.
A feature that’s available only with LEDs is the ability to toggle between all-white and multicolor light—but most artificial trees are still sold with only one color mode or the other. Our pick is one of the relatively few that come with color-switching lights (and we made sure that all our other picks in this guide have this ability, too). We think this versatility is a big selling point for a tree you’ll have around for several seasons, and possibly multiple settings and occasions. For example, you could use all-white for a more sophisticated look during a grown-up holiday party and use the multicolor mode when the mood is more festive. Or you could just do something different from year to year so that it doesn’t seem like the same tree every Christmas.
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.
The 10 ft. Snowy Pine is an Artificial The 10 ft. Snowy Pine is an Artificial Christmas Tree from Fraser Hill Farm. This model features a traditional full silhouette with extremely lifelike foliage and all-metal hinged branch construction. A heavily flocked finish was designed to resemble freshly fallen snow that is true to season and produces a natural ...  More + Product Details Close
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