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.
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.
For one, several of this GE tree’s specs are favorable when compared with our top pick from National Tree. It’s the same height and width, but it has more branch tips for a fuller appearance (2,073 versus 1,867). Like our top pick, the GE lets you switch between white and multicolor lighting modes; additionally, the lights connect automatically through the central pole as you assemble the three sections of the tree, a handy (but not vital) feature. But we especially love the way GE’s LED Christmas lights look—in our test of Christmas lights, we found GE’s tones closest to the familiar warm glow of incandescent bulbs. That’s not to say anything against National Tree’s lights: We found them very pretty, especially the pale gold of the white-light setting. But if you seek something close to the incandescent look, the GE tree may be your ticket.

“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.”

After writing the original version of this guide in fall 2016, we carefully disassembled and packed our pick at the time—a very similar National Tree model, the PEDD1-312LD-75X—in its original box and shipped it to Los Angeles for long-term use. After the long journey (in which the tree was jostled enough that it arrived with its top spike and branches sticking out of a corner of the box), it sat on a garage shelf for about 10 months, enduring temperatures over 100 degrees and gathering a little dust and grit without any plastic seal around the box or the contents. (Yes, we fell short of following our own advice on storage.)
The TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) was influential on the pop culture surrounding the Christmas tree. Aluminum Christmas trees were popular during the early 1960s in the US. They were satirized in the Charlie Brown show and came to be seen as symbolizing the commercialization of Christmas. The term Charlie Brown Christmas tree, describing any poor-looking or malformed little tree, also derives from the 1965 TV special, based on the appearance of Charlie Brown's Christmas tree.[66]

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We tested the Krinner on two trees: a 6-foot-8 tree, which we put up unassisted, and a bigger 8-foot-4 tree, which was easier with a second person. As long as you can heave the tree into the Krinner’s open jaws, you may be able to manage it on your own. This is a huge distinction between the Krinner and basically every other stand, which forces you to get down on your belly to tighten individual bolts. Even for a smaller tree, that’s nearly impossible to do without help.

^ Morris-Pierce, Elizabeth; Berger, Stephen A.; Dreher, Eulonda A.; Russel W. Dalton; D. Andrew Richardson; Jeanne Mueller; Judith Hale Wood; Ellen Edgar; James Edgar (1 January 2002). In Search of Christmas. CSS Publishing. p. 27. ISBN 9780788019166. Chrismons were first used in 1957 to decorate a Christmas tree in the Lutheran Church of the Ascension in Danville, Virginia.
The TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) was influential on the pop culture surrounding the Christmas tree. Aluminum Christmas trees were popular during the early 1960s in the US. They were satirized in the Charlie Brown show and came to be seen as symbolizing the commercialization of Christmas. The term Charlie Brown Christmas tree, describing any poor-looking or malformed little tree, also derives from the 1965 TV special, based on the appearance of Charlie Brown's Christmas tree.[66]
Customers rave about the product’s sturdy base and easy mounting. Based on the design, they state it’s easy to rotate the trunk as well if need be. They also claim that this stand works particularly well on larger trees with a wide base. One reviewer even claimed, “This is by-far the best stand I've ever used.” Since many of the commenters have been using the product for years, the longevity of the product simply goes unstated.
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.
Although the tradition of decorating churches and homes with evergreens at Christmas was long established,[32] 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.[33] The custom did not at first spread much beyond the royal family.[34] 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:[35]

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.


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There are many, many more competitors than what we list here. Given the way artificial trees are produced (described in How we picked), it’s not uncommon for companies to buy trees “off the shelf” and rebrand them under their own names. So if you can’t find one of our picks or a comparable tree from the makers listed here, you can still find an excellent tree. Here’s how.
^ Dunphy, John J. (26 November 2010). From Christmas to Twelfth Night in Southern Illinois. Arcadia Publishing Incorporated. p. 28. ISBN 9781614232537. Having a Christmas tree became so closely identified with following Luther's path that German Catholics initially wanted nothing to do with this symbol of Protestantism. Their resistance endured until the nineteenth century, when Christmas trees finally began finding their way into Catholic homes.
Tinsel and several types of garland or ribbon are commonly used to decorate a Christmas tree. Silvered saran-based tinsel was introduced later. Delicate mold-blown and painted colored glass Christmas ornaments were a specialty of the glass factories in the Thuringian Forest, especially in Lauscha in the late 19th century, and have since become a large industry, complete with famous-name designers. Baubles are another common decoration, consisting of small hollow glass or plastic spheres coated with a thin metallic layer to make them reflective, with a further coating of a thin pigmented polymer in order to provide coloration. Lighting with electric lights (Christmas lights or, in the United Kingdom, fairy lights) is commonly done. A tree-topper, sometimes an angel but more frequently a star, completes the decoration.
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.
The simple to set up and store option, saving you from having to purchase a new tree every year. With slim and small artificial Christmas trees for rooms short on space to full size firs and spruce trees, artificial trees are a great choice for any home. Artificial Christmas trees are also hypo-allergenic and don’t shed needles, making them ideal for families with pets or small children. Plug in a fir needle, spruce or eucalyptus scented oil air freshener or light a holiday scented candle to create that authentic Christmas tree smell. Whether you prefer traditional, rustic Christmas trees or trendy, pink Christmas trees, we can help you find the right fit.
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