Several other species are used to a lesser extent. Less-traditional conifers are sometimes used, such as giant sequoia, Leyland cypress, Monterey cypress and eastern juniper. Various types of spruce tree are also used for Christmas trees (including the blue spruce and, less commonly, the white spruce); but spruces begin to lose their needles rapidly upon being cut, and spruce needles are often sharp, making decorating uncomfortable. Virginia pine is still available on some tree farms in the southeastern United States; however, its winter color is faded. The long-needled eastern white pine is also used there, though it is an unpopular Christmas tree in most parts of the country, owing also to its faded winter coloration and limp branches, making decorating difficult with all but the lightest ornaments. Norfolk Island pine is sometimes used, particularly in Oceania, and in Australia, some species of the genera Casuarina and Allocasuarina are also occasionally used as Christmas trees. But, by far, the most common tree is the Monterey pine. Adenanthos sericeus or Albany woolly bush is commonly sold in southern Australia as a potted living Christmas tree. Hemlock species are generally considered unsuitable as Christmas trees due to their poor needle retention and inability to support the weight of lights and ornaments.
Many of our wreaths, garland, and swags also offer the option of pre-strung lighting or permanent decorations. Pre-decorated wreaths and garlands add a lot of warmth and character to a space and can create a polished, cohesive look with their coordinating style. These also spare you the effort of decorating the greenery yourself and painstakingly attaching décor to every swag, wreath, and teardrop.
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.
Whether you pick a blue spruce or a balsam fir, you put all that effort into finding and cutting down the perfect Christmas tree—don't let it go to waste. The right Christmas tree stand can help keep your tree stable, hydrated, and alive longer (not to mention, help you show off your tree's best side), so they're worth the investment—unless you plan to go the artificial tree route.
For example, the pre-lit 7½-foot-tall, 59-inch-wide version of its Rocky Mountain Pine (same dimensions as our top pick) has 2,764 branch tips (versus our pick’s 1,867) and 1,000 bulbs (versus 750). And it has 54 percent realistic polyethylene branch tips, versus 37 percent. On the other hand, you have to choose white or colored bulbs; the Balsam Hill Rocky Mountain Pine doesn’t come in a color-switching model like our pick. And the extra tips, percent-polyethylene, and bulbs come at a premium: The Rocky Mountain pine has a list price of about $860, and typically retails for roughly $520—historically, $100 or more than our pick. If that’s in your budget, go for it: It’s a terrific tree. To get a similarly specced Balsam Hill tree at a price close to our pick, you’re limited to the company’s Traditional line, which is made entirely of PVC.
In 2013, we took our top four stands to Adams Nurseries in Lancaster, New York, where the staff members generously loaned us a pair of trees to set up and take down. Both of our test trees were Douglas firs, one of the most common Christmas trees sold in the US. One was 6 feet 8 inches tall with a trunk diameter of 3½ inches, and the other was 8 feet 4 inches tall with a trunk diameter of 5½ inches—a fairly typical span between large and small, which let us gauge how well each stand could handle most people’s trees.
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.
No family Christmas is complete without the perfect Christmas tree standing over a treasure trove of presents. Don’t go to just any Christmas tree store to find that perfect evergreen. Come to JCPenney to find all your holiday décor, inside and out. From ornaments to Christmas tree skirts, our shelves are lined with plenty of holiday magic to excite even the youngest of family members. But to make the holidays truly special, give your family nothing but smiles with the perfect Christmas tree. Shop online now and see how JCPenney can save you money for the holidays.
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.
It comes in a triangular-shaped box, and it is folded up. The tree is folded, I mean. It is sort of like paper-mache around wire. The "pine needles" are plastic, and can fall off. The ornament is wrapped up in the blanket. It was difficult to shape the tree into what it is supposed to look like, but I guess I didn't do too bad. I think the original tree doesn't have as many branches actually. The stand is horrible. The tree has a screw on the end you're supposed to screw into the base. It stuck through one piece of wood, and the other piece is too large, so it slips right out and since it is top heavy, can fall right over. So, I actually have a ruler sitting underneath the side of the base to keep it standing.
Our testing also included the Contech Enterprises TS9405 Indoor Steel Christmas Tree Stand and the currently unavailable Emerald Innovations XTS1 Swivel Straight Tree Stand For 12′ Tree (also known as the 1-Minute Tree Stand). Neither was as stable as the Tree Genie XXL or the Cinco. The Emerald Innovations started to tip at 30 Newtons of pulling force, and the Contech tipped at 25 Newtons. Performance was similar with large and small trees. Both the Emerald Innovations and Contech stands have 1½-gallon reservoirs—sufficient, but the smallest among tested models.
The debate about the environmental impact of artificial trees is ongoing. Generally, natural tree growers contend that artificial trees are more environmentally harmful than their natural counterparts. However, trade groups such as the American Christmas Tree Association, continue to refute that artificial trees are more harmful to the environment, and maintain that the PVC used in Christmas trees has excellent recyclable properties.
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!