JCPenney has a great selection of Christmas trees for sale at affordable prices. A Balsam Fir pre lit Christmas tree is an elegant choice, offering a full, natural shape with lots of branches for ornaments, available in multicolor or clear lights and a sturdy stand. Another artificial Christmas tree option is a frosted pine that’s hand-painted to create a snow-dusted look across its full branches. Clear lights assist in a creating a winter wonderland you’ll love. If you’re short on space, or just want another tree for a different part of the house, go for a corner tree in a convenient wedge shape. Always a classic, a pure white Christmas tree is a sure crowd pleaser, with multi-tip branches, clear lights and full, low profile. For a full, natural-looking downswept shape, look no further than a mixed pine tree that comes with either clear or multicolor lights.
The Christmas tree became very common in the United States in the early nineteenth century. The first image of a Christmas tree was published in 1836 as the frontispiece to The Stranger's Gift by Hermann Bokum. The first mention of the Christmas tree in American literature was in a story in the 1836 edition of The Token and Atlantic Souvenir, titled "New Year's Day," by Catherine Maria Sedgwick, where she tells the story of a German maid decorating her mistress's tree. Also, a woodcut of the British Royal family with their Christmas tree at Windsor Castle, initially published in The Illustrated London News December 1848, was copied in the United States at Christmas 1850, in Godey's Lady's Book. Godey's copied it exactly, except for the removal of the Queen's tiara and Prince Albert's moustache, to remake the engraving into an American scene. The republished Godey's image became the first widely circulated picture of a decorated evergreen Christmas tree in America. Art historian Karal Ann Marling called Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, shorn of their royal trappings, "the first influential American Christmas tree". Folk-culture historian Alfred Lewis Shoemaker states, "In all of America there was no more important medium in spreading the Christmas tree in the decade 1850–60 than Godey's Lady's Book". The image was reprinted in 1860, and by the 1870s, putting up a Christmas tree had become even more common in America.
A feature that’s available only with LEDs is the ability to toggle between all-white and multicolor light—but most artificial trees are still sold with only one color mode or the other. Our pick is one of the relatively few that come with color-switching lights (and we made sure that all our other picks in this guide have this ability, too). We think this versatility is a big selling point for a tree you’ll have around for several seasons, and possibly multiple settings and occasions. For example, you could use all-white for a more sophisticated look during a grown-up holiday party and use the multicolor mode when the mood is more festive. Or you could just do something different from year to year so that it doesn’t seem like the same tree every Christmas.
Comparing the Cinco to our pick, Wirecutter general manager David Perpich actually finds the Cinco’s bolt-tightening work to be a benefit, as he likes to have a lot of control when positioning the tree. “My take,” he says “Krinner is easier to stand up solo. Cinco is easier to make adjustments. If someone is doing this solo and ‘good enough’ works, the Krinner is a dream. If someone has a partner or wants to ability to tweak and get it just right, cinco is way better.” We’d add the Cinco is likely to be better able to compensate for crooked trees or trees with knots or other odd shapes at the point where it attaches to the stand.
^ 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.
Number of branch tips and shedding: If you’ve already started perusing through faux trees online, you’ve noticed that many companies specify the number of branch tips on their trees. This is because there’s a direct connection between number of tips and realism. More tips yield a more realistic tree. And just like real Christmas trees, these branch tips are also bound to shed some needles. This is especially true the first time you take the tree out of the box and set it up. The best fake Christmas trees will shed less with each year of use.
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Other trends have developed in the early 2000s as well. Optical fiber Christmas trees come in two major varieties; one resembles a traditional Christmas tree. One Dallas-based company offers "holographic mylar" trees in many hues. Tree-shaped objects made from such materials as cardboard, glass, ceramic or other materials can be found in use as tabletop decorations. Upside-down artificial Christmas trees became popular for a short time and were originally introduced as a marketing gimmick; they allowed consumers to get closer to ornaments for sale in retail stores and opened up floor space for more products. Artificial trees became increasingly popular during the late 20th century. Users of artificial Christmas trees assert that they are more convenient, and, because they are reusable, much cheaper than their natural alternative. They are also considered much safer as natural trees can be a significant fire hazard. Between 2001 and 2007 artificial Christmas tree sales in the U.S. jumped from 7.3 million to 17.4 million. Currently it is estimated that around 58% of Christmas trees used in the United States are artificial while numbers in the United Kingdom are indicated to be around 66%.
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.
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.
“I was a little worried ordering a Christmas tree online sight unseen. However, based on all the great reviews for this tree, I bit the bullet and ordered. I am 110 percent satisfied with my tree. This tree is very well made and I believe it will last for many years to come. The branches are soft and I love that they are not plastic. All the trees we saw in the stores had plastic branches and were two or three times the price of this tree. It comes very nicely packaged to your door. The branches are all secured with red ribbon. Everything is labeled, so you can easily put it together. I cannot find any fault with this tree and am truly glad I purchased.”
“We bought this for my 90-year-old in-laws who had recently moved into a retirement community and needed a compact Christmas display. The Charlie Brown tree is nostalgic to all of us who grew up waiting to watch the Charlie Brown Christmas Special come on the tube (back when they were literally tubes). They seem to love it, and now we’ll need to find a couple Peanuts figures to put around it next Christmas.”
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.
“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.”
Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing. We’ve covered the best artificial Christmas trees, Christmas tree toppers, Christmas lights, and wreaths, and now we’re zeroing in on the best Christmas tree stands on Amazon. (Note that reviews have been edited for length and clarity.)
This holiday shop to find a tree that’s the perfect height, shape and type for your lifestyle. For traditional Christmas decor, consider a live tree. Starting in November, we have a huge selection of fresh-cut trees to choose from. Use our Real Christmas Tree Guide to learn more about different tree varieties and useful care tips on lighting and watering to keep your tree healthy and your home safe.