“Works great! Once you have a rotating tree stand, you’ll never want to go back to a stationary stand again. It makes decorating your tree easier, and best of all, the rotation allows you to view and appreciate all your ornaments. Note: You will need to wrap the excess cord around the base of the tree, otherwise it will loop around as it turns and will eventually pull the plug out of the wall socket. I wrapped it a few times around the base and held it with the green twist-tie from some celery I had bought at the market.”
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.
We also like the Cinco C-144E Express, which remains a reliable backup choice after several years of considering new models. It’s stable, and its ample 3-gallon reservoir has an overflow basin to catch drips. The downside is that the tree is secured by four cumbersome hand-twisted bolts, but they do have a quick-release—this speeds up the process considerably and sets this stand apart from the many other similar designs. It’s not as easy to use as the Krinner, and not as versatile, with a design that accepts only tree trunks larger than 3.5 inches in diameter (that’s a tree about 6½ feet or taller). Last, this stand is quite large; if you’re planning on getting a smaller tree, you can step down to the Cinco C-148E.
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.
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.
“This little tree is absolutely perfect for our downsized Christmas display this year. The base is sturdy and heavy; the burlap covering is traditional and innocuous. The tree itself was fun to ‘fluff out.’ Our tree looks just like the photo! There is plenty of greenery to give a realistic look, and generous spaces between the branches to hold our mercury-glass heirloom ornaments. The pine cones are sturdy and well-attached. The tree is on a small table to add height. We put some photos on Facebook, and have gotten great compliments! We’ll use this tree for years.”
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.
But the definitive study on the subject (as reported by The New York Times, parent company of Wirecutter) gives the edge firmly to live trees. Artificial trees are made of petroleum-based plastics and are manufactured mostly in China, where environmental laws are less stringent. Live trees can be sustainably farmed and harvested, they absorb carbon while growing, and they provide some measure of wildlife habitat. Although live-tree farms contribute marginally to the consequences of fertilizer and pesticide use, they add value to land that might otherwise be valuable only to developers. But really, the study’s author says, your fake tree versus real tree choice is not a major way to make a difference for Earth: “If you exchange a couple of days of commuting by car with carpooling or riding a bicycle, you’ll completely overcompensate for whatever the impact of the [artificial] tree is. … It’s not such a big deal. Enjoy your tree, whichever one you prefer.”
A Christmas tree is the centerpiece of your holiday decorations, so you want to find the perfectly designed real or artificial Christmas tree (also known as a pop up Christmas tree) for your home. After all, Christmas trees are where you and your loved ones will gather on Christmas morning to spend time with one another and open presents. Selecting the right Christmas tree can be difficult because you want to make sure it fits well into your space. Do you want a faux Christmas tree or a real Christmas tree? Before purchasing a real or fake Christmas tree, make sure that you decide where you would like to place it in your home and measure the space. Do not forget to take into account the height of your tree topper when measuring Christmas trees. Typically, a tree topper takes up 4-6 inches of space. Ensure that your Christmas tree will fit in your home by measuring the height of your room before heading online to purchase a tree. If a real Christmas tree isn't for you, make sure to take a look through our huge selection of artificial Christmas trees.
Lead serves as a stabilizer in some forms of PVC. The one serious study (PDF) we’ve seen on artificial Christmas trees, published in 2004 in the Journal of Environmental Health, found that the lead levels and risk of lead exposure were generally very low, and well below federal guidelines at the time; a few models were outliers, however, and one slightly exceeded the federal limits. Lead exposure occurred in two ways: direct contact with the branches—as may occur when people are setting the trees up and decorating them—and contact with PVC dust beneath the tree, the result of physical decomposition of the “pine needles,” a particular concern for crawling infants. Significantly, new trees (new in 2004, that is) generally showed much lower levels of lead than trees manufactured in the 1980s and 1990s. The authors concluded that while the proportion of trees made with lead-stabilized PVC had “decreased only modestly” in the 20 years preceding 2004, “the amount of lead stabilizer used has been reduced to a much larger extent,” suggesting a long-term trend toward low-lead or lead-free artificial trees.
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!