The modern Christmas tree is frequently traced to the symbolism of trees in pre-Christian winter rites, wherein Viking and Saxon worshiped trees. The story of Saint Boniface cutting down Donar's Oak illustrates the pagan practices in 8th century among the Germans. A later folk version of the story adds the detail that an evergreen tree grew in place of the felled oak, telling them about how its triangular shape reminds humanity of the Trinity and how it points to heaven.
As we set up each tree with each stand (in the pouring rain), we noted how difficult it was to get the tree into the stand, position it, and fasten the tree inside. We also looked at how hard it was to make adjustments to straighten the tree. We then filled the stand’s reservoir with 1½ gallons of water (or the stand’s maximum, if it was less than this amount), and noted how difficult it was to fill, and how likely it was to overflow or spill onto your floor.
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.
Sturdy and solid the Cinco Express Plastic Tree Sturdy and solid the Cinco Express Plastic Tree Stand holds trees up to 12 ft. tall. The stand features a push-pull express bolt system and spill guard for convenient tree support and hassle-free maintenance. An easy-fill design helps save low branches while the heavy-duty construction ensures lasting use for seasons ... More + Product Details Close
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.
The Krinner Tree Genie is the best-selling Christmas tree stand on Amazon, and for good-reason—all you have to do is put your tree in and pump the foot pedal to tighten it in place, and it only takes a minute. It can secure any tree up to 12 feet tall and has a basin that retains 2.5 gallons of water, plus it has an automatic water level indicator so you can easily see if it's running low.
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.
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.
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.
The "similar styles" price noted is our researched retail price at a point in time of similar style of aesthetic item at another retailer offering home décor products. Like other home décor retailers, we work with a variety of partners to source our products, making each one unique to At Home. Copyright © 2018 At Home Stores LLC. Selection, quantities and pricing of products may vary by participating store. All rights reserved.
Pre-lit wreaths have lights strung into them that are often permenently attached. You can choose between white and multicolored lights, as well as bulb types with various LED and incandescent bulb options. LED bulbs are known for their energy efficiency and longevity, while incandescent bulbs tend to provide a warmer glow than their LED counterparts. Keep in mind, pre-lit wreaths tend to be slightly heavier than the unlit variety so be sure to hang them from supportive wreath hooks or stands.
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.
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.
Testing came in three phases looking at assembly, usage, and stability. During the assembly stage, we always tried to set up the stands without looking at the instructions first. It’s not because all the testers were men–mostly. A Christmas tree stand should last for years and from season to season, instructions get lost. Intuitive design is a must. We used a seven-and-a-half foot tall Fraser fir. After surveying our office and researching the average ceiling height for American households, we decided to get a tree that was no taller than eight feet, but not shorter than seven.
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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.
Featuring our exclusive Real Feel™ needles, our highly realistic trees mimic the texture and color of true evergreen foliage, allowing you to enjoy all of the advantages of an artificial Christmas tree without sacrificing the beauty of a real one. These realistic tree varieties look and feel so lifelike and natural, you can almost smell the familiar fragrance of snow-covered pine on Christmas morning. Its sturdy, evenly placed branches and tips offer plenty of room for your Christmas decorations, making it easier for all members of the family to hang their favorite cards and ornaments. From the lofty beauty of the Grand Fir to the sleek design of the Oregonian Slim that allows you to save decorating space, you can find a tree that fits your home and style perfectly.
This lightweight plastic stand weighs less than 3 pounds and holds trunks up to 7 inches. You’ll need two people to install your tree—and occasionally you’ll have to pick the tree up a second time in order to slam it back down into the stand with enough force to get the spikes in the base to dig into the trunk—but you can’t beat the price. The reservoir holds two gallons, so you might even be able to skip a day of watering with this thing.
User Amazon Queen found the Tree Genie much easier to use than screw-in varieties: “For years I’ve bothered with the wobbly screw-in versions…‘a little to the left, a little to the right.’ We put the tree into the stand, pumped the arms in and the tree stood straight and firm the first time in under 1 minute!” Other reviews consistently praise the stand for simplifying a difficult task, working quickly, preventing arguments, and otherwise saving Christmas. Robert Smith summed up the feelings of many reviewers with his “Marriage Saver” post, saying, “I’ve been putting up trees for 10 years, and this year is the first time my wife and I haven’t wanted to kill each other half way through.”
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.
Here’s the basic fact: You can find plenty of great artificial trees these days. They come in dozens of “species” (assorted firs, spruces, redwoods, and pines); multiple heights and girths; multiple levels of realism (and many colors never seen in nature); versions that are bare-branched, or frosted or flocked with fake snow; and pre-lit and unlit variants with LED or incandescent options.
For even more convenience, purchase a pre-lit tree so all you have to do is add ornaments and garland and you’re ready to celebrate. To help save money on electric bills, try a Christmas tree with energy-saving LED lights and add a light timer to make sure your lights consistently turn off at the same hour each night. Even better, you can set up Remote Control Christmas Trees that let you change the color of the lights with just a click of a button. For more information on how to choose the right artificial tree for your Christmas décor, see our Artificial Christmas Tree Buying Guide.