Several cities in the United States with German connections lay claim to that country's first Christmas tree: Windsor Locks, Connecticut, claims that a Hessian soldier put up a Christmas tree in 1777 while imprisoned at the Noden-Reed House,[57] while the "First Christmas Tree in America" is also claimed by Easton, Pennsylvania, where German settlers purportedly erected a Christmas tree in 1816. In his diary, Matthew Zahm of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, recorded the use of a Christmas tree in 1821, leading Lancaster to also lay claim to the first Christmas tree in America.[58] Other accounts credit Charles Follen, a German immigrant to Boston, for being the first to introduce to America the custom of decorating a Christmas tree.[59] August Imgard, a German immigrant living in Wooster, Ohio, is said to be the first to popularize the practice of decorating a tree with candy canes.[citation needed] In 1847, Imgard cut a blue spruce tree from a woods outside town, had the Wooster village tinsmith construct a star, and placed the tree in his house, decorating it with paper ornaments, gilded nuts and Kuchen.[60] German immigrant Charles Minnegerode accepted a position as a professor of humanities at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1842, where he taught Latin and Greek. Entering into the social life of the Virginia Tidewater, Minnigerode introduced the German custom of decorating an evergreen tree at Christmas at the home of law professor St. George Tucker, thereby becoming another of many influences that prompted Americans to adopt the practice at about that time.[61] An 1853 article on Christmas customs in Pennsylvania defines them as mostly "German in origin", including the Christmas tree, which is "planted in a flower pot filled with earth, and its branches are covered with presents, chiefly of confectionary, for the younger members of the family." The article distinguishes between customs in different states however, claiming that in New England generally "Christmas is not much celebrated", whereas in Pennsylvania and New York it is.[62]
Let a living wreath fill your home with the unmistakable scent of lavender to help you unwind from your day or during hectic holiday gatherings; it also lends a rustic vibe to any room. Give your senses a treat with flowers and herbs woven into a backdrop of greenery in one of our intricately handcrafted dried wreaths. With salal, reindeer moss, hydrangea and curly willow, these assortments create magical indoor displays. Welcome in spring with budding fruit branches and speckled birds' eggs. It's a chic way to decorate your door for Easter and other festive gatherings. Instantly create your backyard decor theme with a wreath of vibrant yellows and lush greens on your patio door. Elevate your interior style with live terrariums, planters filled with bright flowers and other plants to complement your wreaths.
The tradition was introduced to North America in the winter of 1781 by Hessian soldiers stationed in the Province of Québec (1763–1791) to garrison the colony against American attack. General Friedrich Adolf Riedesel and his wife, the Baroness von Riedesel, held a Christmas party for the officers at Sorel, delighting their guests with a fir tree decorated with candles and fruits.[54]

Artificial Christmas trees are a great way to save time and money each year. We carry a wide array of realistic faux holiday trees available both unlit or pre-lit with LED and incandescent lights. We also carry imitation alpines, colored trees, and fiber optic trees from quality brands including Darice, Northlight and Vickerman. All artificial trees are available in a variety of styles and sizes, including giant commercial sizes and slim, space-saving options.
If the National Tree and GE are unavailable, the Home Accents Holiday 7.5 ft. Pre-Lit Grand Fir Quick Set Artificial Christmas Tree with Supernova Color Changing Lights is a worthy alternative. It’s not as widely available—Home Accents Holiday is exclusive to Home Depot—but in most parts of the country that still means you can find one easily enough.
Puleo is Larry Gurino’s favored brand at House of Holiday; like National Tree, it’s a New Jersey–based, family-run business. Unfortunately, Puleo is not as widely available as some other brands, but its quality ranks among the best. Gurino has sold Puleo trees for 20 years, and they were some of the nicest-looking trees we came across in our search. If you find one you like, you can be confident in your purchase.

^ Fritz Allhoff, Scott C. Lowe (2010). Christmas. John Wiley & Sons. His biographer, Eddius Stephanus, relates that while Boniface was serving as a missionary near Geismar, Germany, he had enough of the locals' reverence for the old gods. Taking an axe to an oak tree dedicated to Norse god Thor, Boniface chopped the tree down and dared Thor to zap him for it. When nothing happened, Boniface pointed out a young fir tree amid the roots of the oak and explained how this tree was a more fitting object of reverence as it pointed towards the Christian heaven and its triangular shape was reminiscent of the Christian trinity.
Wirecutter senior editor Erica Ogg’s parents, Steve and Debi Ogg, tested the Krinner for a year and they reported that it was “probably the best Christmas tree stand we’ve owned.” Steve was especially impressed with the easy setup, saying, “I’ve never been able to set up a Christmas tree by myself. I’ve always had to have someone else hold it up, while I’m down there [trying to screw in bolts].” With the Krinner, “I could hold it in and use the foot ratchet thing, didn’t need anyone else.”

And even if you have room to store an artificial tree, bear in mind that, as Gurino noted, it won’t easily go back into its original box: “Once you fluff it, it’ll never fit exactly.” After we were done with our photo shoot, I spent about half an hour painstakingly collapsing each branch of our tree, one by one, as tight as I could against the central pole, to prep the tree for shipping. My best advice: Start from the top (the shortest branches) and end at the bottom (the longest branches). First pinch the branch tips together into a sort of bundle; then fold up the branch itself. Even after I did that, though, it made some obvious bulges in the original shipping box.


A true classic, the festive red-and-white Christmas tree skirt helps you jingle all the way this holiday season. Protect your floors from needles and sap while showing off your Christmas presents. Go beyond traditional holiday colors with a luxurious white velvet tree skirt that’s adorned with a beaded, gold-tone nativity scene. For a more casual look, try a skirt that boasts snowflakes or a simple holiday message. Whatever your choice, you’re sure to bring some extra yuletide spirit to your tree all season long.
The Christmas tree was first used by German Lutherans in the 16th century, with records indicating that a Christmas tree was placed in the Cathedral of Strassburg in 1539, under the leadership of the Protestant Reformer, Martin Bucer.[120][121] In the United States, these "German Lutherans brought the decorated Christmas tree with them; the Moravians put lighted candles on those trees."[122][123] When decorating the Christmas tree, many individuals place a star at the top of the tree symbolizing the Star of Bethlehem, a fact recorded by The School Journal in 1897.[5][124] Professor David Albert Jones of Oxford University writes that in the 19th century, it became popular for people to also use an angel to top the Christmas tree in order to symbolize the angels mentioned in the accounts of the Nativity of Jesus.[6]

Heading into Christmas 2017, we feel the Krinner Tree Genie XXL is still the best Christmas tree stand available. With a unique, easy-to-use, and quick tree-clamping mechanism that operates by a foot pedal, this was the only stand we tested that we could set up without an assistant. It can handle a wide variety of tree sizes, has a large 2½-gallon water reservoir, and it’s sturdy—attempting to tip it over almost broke our test equipment. It’s also the most aesthetically pleasing stand we could find.
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.
^ 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.
The experts almost universally agree that the Krinner Tree Genie is the top stand on the market. The Sweethome (now Wirecutter) has picked it as the best Christmas tree stand for four years in a row because of its one-of-a-kind design that is versatile, secure, and easy to set up. WRAL, a new station in North Carolina, posted an in-depth test of the tree. The reviewers found it had no trouble supporting a twelve-foot tree and required minimal effort to set up. Galt Technology called it the most convenient tree stand because it was easy to assemble and "install" the tree.
Lead serves as a stabilizer in some forms of PVC. The one serious study (PDF) we’ve seen on artificial Christmas trees, published in 2004 in the Journal of Environmental Health, found that the lead levels and risk of lead exposure were generally very low, and well below federal guidelines at the time; a few models were outliers, however, and one slightly exceeded the federal limits. Lead exposure occurred in two ways: direct contact with the branches—as may occur when people are setting the trees up and decorating them—and contact with PVC dust beneath the tree, the result of physical decomposition of the “pine needles,” a particular concern for crawling infants. Significantly, new trees (new in 2004, that is) generally showed much lower levels of lead than trees manufactured in the 1980s and 1990s. The authors concluded that while the proportion of trees made with lead-stabilized PVC had “decreased only modestly” in the 20 years preceding 2004, “the amount of lead stabilizer used has been reduced to a much larger extent,” suggesting a long-term trend toward low-lead or lead-free artificial trees.
Number of Bolts: When looking for Christmas tree stands, you’ll notice the base is equipped with a certain number of bolts that work together to securely hold the tree trunk. These bolts can be easily adjusted to position your tree horizontally and vertically. For an even distribution of pressure, look for Christmas tree stands with at least four bolts.
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.
The Krinner has a 2½-gallon water reservoir. Of the tested stands, only the runner-up Cinco is larger, with a 3-gallon capacity. But 2½ gallons is plenty large: A tree of roughly 6 to 8 feet in height has a trunk diameter of about 4 to 6 inches, and will usually take in 1½ gallons or less per day. In fact, you should even be able to relax a little about watering, as you may not need to each day. A gauge on the tank will tell you what the water level is between fillings.
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