Although the tradition of decorating churches and homes with evergreens at Christmas was long established, the custom of decorating an entire small tree was unknown in Britain until some two centuries ago. At the time of the personal union with Hanover, George III's German-born wife, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, introduced a Christmas tree at a party she gave for children in 1800. The custom did not at first spread much beyond the royal family. Queen Victoria as a child was familiar with it and a tree was placed in her room every Christmas. In her journal for Christmas Eve 1832, the delighted 13-year-old princess wrote:
The United States' National Christmas Tree has been lit each year since 1923 on the South Lawn of the White House. Today,[clarification needed] the lighting of the National Christmas Tree is part of what has become a major holiday event at the White House. President Jimmy Carter lit only the crowning star atop the tree in 1979 in honor of the Americans being held hostage in Iran. The same was true in 1980, except that the tree was fully lit for 417 seconds, one second for each day the hostages had been in captivity.
People often overlook the fact that they’ll need to store an artificial tree for 10 or 11 months out of the year, Gurino pointed out. And lack of storage space is the main reason, he added, that city and apartment dwellers favor live trees. (He also noted that when live trees get thrown out, they often become free mulch for public parks—in effect, they’re recycled.) Our tree, after being packed up after the photo shoot, took up a corner of our test space for a month before we were able to send it off to another Wirecutter editor for long-term testing. So unless you have lots of storage room in your place, a live tree may make more sense.
When shopping for the right Christmas tree stand, there are a few specifications you must take note of. Most importantly, how large of a tree will the stand accommodate? If you like to make full use of your vaulted ceiling with a large real tree, make sure you can fit your 12-foot-tall tree in the stand base. Likewise, artificial trees generally have skinny poles that will only fit in specific models. We make it clear what type and size of tree are best for each stand.
A super-fun way to mix things up this year is with colored Christmas trees. Use one as your main tree or start a monotone holiday theme room. We’ve got a rainbow of colors to pick from: a black Christmas tree, white Christmas tree, pink Christmas tree, red Christmas tree, blue Christmas tree or purple Christmas tree. Or go metallic with a silver Christmas tree, aluminum Christmas tree or gold Christmas tree.
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.
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.
“Been waiting for years to get an artificial tree, and I chose the right brand and style! It looks fabulous when fluffed out. Granted it takes at least 45 minutes to get it from the box to fluffed out, more if you are symmetry OCD like I am, but it is well worth the time. Pack-up is very easy into the reusable box to store for next Christmas. Love it. Well-designed and well-made. Great value for the money.”
Balsam Hill is the top-selling artificial-tree brand in the US, and it offers an extraordinary array of top-quality trees in three ranges of realism. After viewing and handling examples in person, we consider its Realistic line comparable overall to National Tree’s Feel Real series. Both have a mix of realistic PE branch tips and plasticky PVC filler branches. And both do a great job of fooling the eye. An exact apples-to-apples comparison isn’t possible (due to differences in lighting options, for example), but Balsam Hill’s trees tend to feature more branch tips and light bulbs at a given height-width combination.
A Christmas tree is a decorated tree, usually an evergreen conifer such as spruce, pine, or fir or an artificial tree of similar appearance, associated with the celebration of Christmas. The modern Christmas tree was developed in medieval Livonia (present-day Estonia and Latvia) and early modern Germany, where Protestant Germans brought decorated trees into their homes. It acquired popularity beyond the Lutheran areas of Germany and the Baltic countries during the second half of the 19th century, at first among the upper classes.
A unique design makes clamping a tree in the Krinner far easier than any kind of stand we’ve found. The Krinner grips the tree trunk with five claws that you tighten by stepping on a ratcheting foot pedal, instead of turning a set of bolts into the bottom of the tree trunk, like nearly every other tree stand. This means average-size and smaller trees, around 6 to 7 feet tall, can be set up with just one person. No other tree stand does anything like it. The Krinner can handle a wide range of trunk diameters (even very small ones), it’s extremely stable and it’s attractive, and the enclosed 2½-gallon reservoir has a gauge to show you its water level. Priced at around $100, the Krinner is not cheap, but it’s so superior to the competition, we feel it’s worth the investment.
^ Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal (National Library of Portugal) - Codices Alcobacenses ( Archived 2013-02-21 at the Wayback Machine. ); [BN: cod. alc. CLI / 64, Page. 330] Translated ("Nota de como has de poer o ramo de natal, scilicet: Em vespera de natal, buscarás huu grande Ramo de loureiro verde, e colherás muitas laranjas vermelhas e poer lhas has metidas pelos ramos que dele procedem specificadamente segundo já viste. E em cada hua laranja, poeras hua candea. E pendurarás o dicto Ramo per hua corda na polee que ha de star acerca da lampada do altar moor")
^ so in The Lutheran Witness, Volume 83 (1964), p. 548 "the Chrismon (from CHRISt-MONogram) tree", and in James Edgar, Ellen Edgar, A Chrismon Service (1981), p. 2. The word's actual etymology, from Middle Latin (Landulf of Milan, 12th century) crismon, is less than clear: George Henry Lane-Fox Pitt-Rivers, The riddle of the 'Labarum' and the origin of Christian symbols, Allen & Unwin, 1966, p. 28; "I can find no roots, etymology or grounds for the adoption of the word adopted by some Christians, 'Chrismon', which is supposed to mean the 'Monogram of Christ', and which appears in some dictionaries (i.e. Funk and Wagnalis, 1922)."
Jack-Post manufactures tree stands in Asia and Michigan under a variety of brand names. The Welded Steel Christmas Tree Stand is the most heavy-duty option coming with its lifetime warranty and wide leg span of nearly 30 inches (for the large version). The base and the hollow legs of the stand are made out of steel, and the four T-nut tipped eye bolts are made of corrosion-resistant zinc dichromate.
Kind of like your preference for toothpaste or what you eat for breakfast in the morning, the Christmas tree you choose will come down largely to personal taste. So, we didn’t get overly technical with our tree comparisons. Instead, we simply considered objective factors like the number of branch tips on each of our top contenders. We took an in-depth look at the material composition of each tree. Then we looked at what it took to assemble and disassemble each one, and considered each tree’s cost.
You can dress a standard wreath in white Christmas fashion as quick as you can say “St. Nick.” All you need to get a decorator look is an inexpensive evergreen wreath, available at garden stores and tree lots, and a can of white flocking spray. Take the project outside to ensure you don’t “dust” the unintended, and then let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.
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.”
The Christmas tree was first used by German Lutherans in the 16th century, with records indicating that a Christmas tree was placed in the Cathedral of Strassburg in 1539, under the leadership of the Protestant Reformer, Martin Bucer. In the United States, these "German Lutherans brought the decorated Christmas tree with them; the Moravians put lighted candles on those trees." When decorating the Christmas tree, many individuals place a star at the top of the tree symbolizing the Star of Bethlehem, a fact recorded by The School Journal in 1897. Professor David Albert Jones of Oxford University writes that in the 19th century, it became popular for people to also use an angel to top the Christmas tree in order to symbolize the angels mentioned in the accounts of the Nativity of Jesus.
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.
Unlike the fresh version made with real pine needles, an artificial Christmas wreath lasts year after year. Simply use a wreath hanger to adorn your front door each year and enjoy with no maintenance worries and no mess. Holiday wreaths also make great gifts. Double up on your purchase and spread cheer to friends, family or an elderly neighbor this holiday season.
A couple things that stopped this tree from being number one? The branch tips on this tree start relatively far from the center pole, meaning that from certain angles, you risk seeing a lot of bare metal hinges. Though, if you plan to decorate the tree with lights and ornaments, this becomes less of a problem. The branches also extend very low to the ground, which means it’s hard to slide sizeable presents underneath.
Maybe you prefer the traditional bolted stand, or maybe you're in the market for a stand that's designed to make set-up a total breeze. Or, maybe you just want one that's secure enough to hold the biggest tree you can fit inside your house. In any case, these are the best Christmas tree stands you can buy this holiday season, and why they're worth the purchase. Add your favorite ornaments, and you're good to go.
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.
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.
^ Blainey, Geoffrey (24 October 2013). A Short History of Christianity. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 418. ISBN 9781442225909. Many Lutherans continued to set up a small fir tree as their Christmas tree, and it must have been a seasonal sight in Bach's Leipzig at a time when it was virtually unknown in England, and little known in those farmlands of North America where Lutheran immigrants congregated.
The Jack-Post 519-ST Oasis Tree Stand falls behind the competition because of how difficult it is to use. First, five bolts need to be screwed in and secured. We understand the more angles that you come in from the more likely the tree will become straight, but if you're going to use five bolts give them larger handles to prevent fatigue. However, we have to give the Jack-Post props for being stable. Its vague star shape dispersed most of the force when we struck it with our testing weight. It barely moved an inch.
^ Encyclopædia Britannica. 2003. The modern Christmas tree ... originated in western Germany. The main prop of a popular medieval play about Adam and Eve was a fir tree hung with apples (paradise tree) representing the Garden of Eden. The Germans set up a paradise tree in their homes on December 24, the religious feast day of Adam and Eve. They hung wafers on it (symbolizing the host, the Christian sign of redemption); in a later tradition, the wafers were replaced by cookies of various shapes. Candles, too, were often added as the symbol of Christ. In the same room, during the Christmas season, was the Christmas pyramid, a triangular construction of wood, with shelves to hold Christmas figurines, decorated with evergreens, candles, and a star. By the 16th century, the Christmas pyramid and paradise tree had merged, becoming the Christmas tree.
Size: The size and width of your tree is an important factor to consider when searching for Christmas tree stands. Standard Christmas tree stands support trees up to 7 feet tall. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines to find out if a stand can accommodate taller Christmas trees. If you do have a taller tree, look for Christmas tree stands with a circular base. A stand with a wide, circular Christmas tree base provides better stabilization, preventing your room’s star attraction from tipping over while also keeping it perfectly aligned.
^ Friedrich Amelung (1885). Geschichte der Revaler Schwarzenhäupter: von ihrem Ursprung an bis auf die Gegenwart: nach den urkundenmäßigen Quellen des Revaler Schwarzenhäupter-Archivs 1, Die erste Blütezeit von 1399–1557 [History of the Tallinn Blackheads: from their origins until the present day: from the testimonial sources of the Tallinn Blackheads archive. 1: The first golden age of 1399–1557] (in German). Reval: Wassermann.
The program's script has been described as "barebones", and was completed in only a few weeks. In the days following the special's sell to Coca-Cola, Mendelson and animator Bill Melendez met with Schulz in his home to expand upon the ideas promised in the pitch. Mendelson noted that on the previous Christmas Day he and his spouse had read Hans Christian Andersen's "The Fir-Tree" to their children. Schulz countered with the idea that there be a tree with the spirit of lead character Charlie Brown. Mendelson suggested they employ a laugh track, a staple of television animation, but Schulz rejected this idea immediately. He felt strongly that the audience should not be informed on when to laugh. They spoke at length about creating an official theme that was neither jazz nor traditional to open the program. Schulz wanted a part of the special to feature the character of Schroeder performing Beethoven, and Mendelson combined this with the inclusion of Guaraldi's "Linus & Lucy" number. Schulz penned the script for A Charlie Brown Christmas, with Melendez plotting out the animation via a storyboard. His storyboard contained six panels for each shot, spanning a combined eighty or-so pages.
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.
The Sweethome (now Wirecutter) listed the Cinco Express as the runner-up for best tree stand. They liked that the reservoir has an overflow basin to catch drips and that it's easy to fill. Thoroughly Reviewed also ranked this model as one of its top three Christmas tree stands because it is convenient, stores easily, and involves effortless installation for live trees.
The Emerald Innovations stand in particular had our hopes up because it lets you adjust the angle of the tree by pressing a foot pedal and turning the tree on a large ball joint. But the initial setup proved more of a hassle than any other method: A separate sleeve fits over the tree’s trunk while it’s lying down, and you secure it with screw-down clamps. Then you fit the sleeve and tree together into the base. The frustrating setup, along with the lack of stability, outweighed the otherwise cool design.
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.
When Charlie Brown complains about the overwhelming materialism that he sees amongst everyone during the Christmas season, Lucy suggests that he become director of the school Christmas paegent. Charlie Brown accepts, but it proves to be a frustrating struggle. When an attempt to restore the proper spirit with a forlorn little fir Christmas tree fails, he needs Linus' help to learn what the real meaning of Christmas is. Written by Kenneth Chisholm
In Russia, the Christmas tree was banned after the October Revolution but then reinstated as a New-year spruce (Новогодняя ёлка, Novogodnyaya yolka) in 1935. It became a fully secular icon of the New Year holiday, for example, the crowning star was regarded not as a symbol of Bethlehem Star, but as the Red star. Decorations, such as figurines of airplanes, bicycles, space rockets, cosmonauts, and characters of Russian fairy tales, were produced. This tradition persists after the fall of the USSR, with the New Year holiday outweighing the Christmas (7 January) for a wide majority of Russian people.