Once you’ve purchased and assembled your artificial tree, you must fluff it. “Fluffing” is an (admittedly adorable) term for arranging all of the branches on the tree. It may seem like an imposing prospect but, in reality, it just requires a few simple steps repeated over and over again. This is a good time to bribe friends and family members to help you. We think a couple of hours of fluffing in return for some homemade hot chocolate is a good offer.
Real Christmas Trees are grown on farms just like any other agricultural crop. To ensure a constant supply, Christmas Tree growers plant one to three new seedlings for every tree they harvest. On the other hand, artificial trees are a petroleum-based product manufactured primarily in Chinese factories. The average family uses an artificial tree for only six to nine years before throwing it away, where it will remain in a landfill for centuries after disposal.
Tree stands are designed for trunks of a certain length and diameter. Typically, you use a tree stand designed for a taller tree on a smaller one. The exception is when the trunk is too narrow. For example, a tree stand designed to take a 12-foot tree may only take a trunk that's down to three inches in diameter, any slimmer and you risk the tree falling over.
True Needle™ Technology Balsam Hill's exclusive True Needle&tade; evergreen foliage is used to create our most realistic and luxurious artificial Christmas trees. This ultrarealistic foliage is created with injection-molded PE plastic and several different colors of pigment to mimic the structure, texture, and color of natural evergreen needles. A unique feature of True Needle™ foliage is the color variations within the branches. For example, the branch might be a brown/green while the needles start off a dark green and slowly fade to a lighter green.
But the definitive study on the subject (as reported by The New York Times, parent company of Wirecutter) gives the edge firmly to live trees. Artificial trees are made of petroleum-based plastics and are manufactured mostly in China, where environmental laws are less stringent. Live trees can be sustainably farmed and harvested, they absorb carbon while growing, and they provide some measure of wildlife habitat. Although live-tree farms contribute marginally to the consequences of fertilizer and pesticide use, they add value to land that might otherwise be valuable only to developers. But really, the study’s author says, your fake tree versus real tree choice is not a major way to make a difference for Earth: “If you exchange a couple of days of commuting by car with carpooling or riding a bicycle, you’ll completely overcompensate for whatever the impact of the [artificial] tree is. … It’s not such a big deal. Enjoy your tree, whichever one you prefer.”
“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.”
Several sites that review Christmas tree stands list this Good Tidings model among their top picks. The Z9 gave it high ratings because it is rustproof, has a large reservoir, allows for quick installation, and the polypropylene body is durable and reliable. DeWhiteHome, a site specializing in everything Christmas, ranked this stand as the top tabletop stand because of the strong, rustproof screws.
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.
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.