Wreaths are a crucial Christmas decoration; what home would be ready for the holidays without a one perched upon the front door to welcome in the season and the guests? Front door wreaths are one of the most traditional Christmas decorations, but just because they are traditional, doesn’t mean their design has to be. We offer a wide selection of wreaths ranging from the classic evergreen to magnolia foliage or red berry wreaths.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Charlie Brown arrives at the rehearsal, but he is unable to gain control of the situation, since everyone in the play has their own complaints, and everybody would rather dance along to the jazz-rock band (consisting of Schroeder on keyboards, Snoopy on an inaudible electric guitar and Pig-Pen on bass) as they play "Linus and Lucy." The play is revealed to be quite modern, with an upbeat jazz score, a "Christmas queen," shepherds, innkeepers and penguins but no identifiable Biblical figures. A displeased Charlie Brown decides the play needs "the proper mood" and suggests they should get a Christmas tree. Lucy instructs him, and the accompanying Linus, to get an aluminum Christmas tree that is big, shiny and pink from a nearby tree lot.
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.
National Tree Company’s 7½-foot Feel Real Downswept Douglas Fir with dual-color LEDs (PEDD1-D12-75) is our pick among artificial Christmas trees. It’s very full and highly realistic, and its 59-inch girth will nicely fill the corner of most living rooms. The lights can switch from multicolor to all-white (actually more of a soft “golden” white), giving it versatility. It’s widely available, too: If you’d like to see it in person, Home Depot, Kohl’s, and many holiday stores typically carry it.
Several cities in the United States with German connections lay claim to that country's first Christmas tree: Windsor Locks, Connecticut, claims that a Hessian soldier put up a Christmas tree in 1777 while imprisoned at the Noden-Reed House, while the "First Christmas Tree in America" is also claimed by Easton, Pennsylvania, where German settlers purportedly erected a Christmas tree in 1816. In his diary, Matthew Zahm of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, recorded the use of a Christmas tree in 1821, leading Lancaster to also lay claim to the first Christmas tree in America. Other accounts credit Charles Follen, a German immigrant to Boston, for being the first to introduce to America the custom of decorating a Christmas tree. August Imgard, a German immigrant living in Wooster, Ohio, is said to be the first to popularize the practice of decorating a tree with candy canes. In 1847, Imgard cut a blue spruce tree from a woods outside town, had the Wooster village tinsmith construct a star, and placed the tree in his house, decorating it with paper ornaments, gilded nuts and Kuchen. German immigrant Charles Minnegerode accepted a position as a professor of humanities at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1842, where he taught Latin and Greek. Entering into the social life of the Virginia Tidewater, Minnigerode introduced the German custom of decorating an evergreen tree at Christmas at the home of law professor St. George Tucker, thereby becoming another of many influences that prompted Americans to adopt the practice at about that time. An 1853 article on Christmas customs in Pennsylvania defines them as mostly "German in origin", including the Christmas tree, which is "planted in a flower pot filled with earth, and its branches are covered with presents, chiefly of confectionary, for the younger members of the family." The article distinguishes between customs in different states however, claiming that in New England generally "Christmas is not much celebrated", whereas in Pennsylvania and New York it is.
National Tree Company has a warranty for its realistic pre-lit trees taller than 6½ feet, like our pick, that covers manufacturer defects for five years from the date of purchase. The lights are covered for two years. You’ll need proof and date of purchase to file a claim, and you’ll need to have treated the tree and lights with reasonable care to have your claim approved. (Details here.) The 6½-foot version of this tree also falls under that warranty, and we recommend it for smaller homes and apartments.
The Peanuts Charlie Brown Christmas Tree has become one of the most recognizable and heart-warming holiday icons. The wilted branch has a single ornament attached and is finished off with the Linus blanket dressed around the base of the tree as a skirt. It is sure to bring the true spirit of Christmas to the holiday season as it plays the classic Peanuts theme song, all you need to add is love.
Other sources have offered a connection between the first documented Christmas trees in Alsace around 1600 and pre-Christian traditions. For example, according to the Encyclopædia Britannica, "The use of evergreen trees, wreaths, and garlands to symbolize eternal life was a custom of the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews. Tree worship was common among the pagan Europeans and survived their conversion to Christianity in the Scandinavian customs of decorating the house and barn with evergreens at the New Year to scare away the devil and of setting up a tree for the birds during Christmas time."
Your Christmas decor isn't quite complete without a Christmas wreath! At Kirkland's, we have a beautiful selection of artificial Christmas wreaths and wreath hangers to help get your home holiday ready. We even offer pre-lit Christmas wreaths that let you add a glow to your decor. Whether it hangs on your door or above your mantel, keep the Christmas tradition with a Christmas wreath.
Nicole is a Senior Content Specialist whose writing passion ranges from national recycling initiatives to how to find the perfect Christmas tree. She loves her dog more than most people, and she subsists almost entirely on iced coffee. When she’s not copy editing and researching for Your Best Digs, she’s usually curled up in bed with a good book or outside exploring nature.
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. 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. A 2008 United States Environmental Protection Agency report found that as the PVC in artificial Christmas trees aged it began to degrade. 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. 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.
Of the comments provided, most of them were from repeat buyers — which is always a great sign. They note how easy the stand makes it to decorate the tree, with no squeezing between the walls required to place ornaments on various branches. Their one callout is to ensure the stand is correctly-sized to fit your tree, which can often be confusing for faux buys. All around, most individuals were happy with their new holiday purchase.
“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!”
In a design common to modern artificial trees, the Downswept Douglas Fir’s branches are all permanently mounted on hinges on the center pole (older artificial trees required you to attach branches individually via sockets), and like most trees its height, it comes in three sections. As you set the tree up and the branches fold out, you need to fluff them: Just pull the individual tips apart into spreading clusters, adjust the arrangement of branches to close any gaps, and generally prettify the tree. House of Holiday’s Larry Gurino strongly recommends fluffing as you go—do the bottom section first, then put the middle section in place and fluff it, and finally top and fluff. This technique makes the job much easier than trying to fluff the whole thing at once. We followed his advice when setting up our Downswept Douglas Fir for our photo shoot, and we had the whole thing put together and looking great in less than 15 minutes.
“This is a beautiful tree! When you first receive it, you might be worried that it’s too sparse, but it is packed very well, so you must take the time to fluff out each branch. Once we put the lights and ornaments on it, there were no open spaces to see between the branches. I liked that it was not as wide at the bottom as our previous tree. It took up less space width-wise and used fewer ornaments, but still has a very full look. It also doesn’t shed.”