Use a Suitable Christmas Tree Stand

View of Christmas tree at the far end of a hotel lobby with marble floors and crystal chandelier

Use a Suitable Christmas Tree Stand

Believe it or not, a tree stand is one component that’s often overlooked by many real Christmas tree buyers. Usually it’s families who make the move from an artificial tree where things like the stand are just part of the DIY kit that comes in the box. They’ll get their real Christmas tree home, excited to get decorating and then the realisation dawns on them that they have to start researching and shopping for a stand. It kind of takes the polish off the whole experience. Make sure you have a good stand!

Why would you need to research Christmas tree stands though, surely they’re all essentially the same, right? Well, it turns out there are many different ways to keep a Christmas tree upright and it may be difficult to see how you choose between them and which is the best option for your tree.

Children hanging decorations on a brightly lit Christmas tree
Children peering through a frosted window

There are three basic design types which we’ll call spike, clamp and slot type stands.

  • Spike stands are usually made of metal and consist of a single part that has three or four legs and a threaded spike in the center. This spike is then screwed directly into the base of the tree providing a firm connection between the tree and the base.
  • Clamp types can be made of metal but more usually they’re plastic. Metal ones will usually have legs and plastic versions look more like the stand you’d see at the base of a patio umbrella. In either case, there will be a central cup or ring that the base of the tree fits in. Most then have thumb screws that go through the sides of the cup and press against the side of the tree. Of course, more elaborate versions exist too but the clamping principle is what they boil down to.
  • Slot type stands are mainly made of metal, have three or four legs and instead of a spike or cup, they’ll usually have a number of ‘fingers’ in a ring extending up from the center. The base of the tree slots between these fingers which then do all the work of stopping the tree from falling over.

Each has their pros and cons of course.

  • Spike stands usually make for the best presentation of the tree because once the stand is affixed, it’s just a case of gently bending the legs themselves to correct any lean. They usually require drilling a hole for the spike to be screwed into though, so they’re the most difficult of the three to fit.
  • Clamp stands come in all kinds of designs and tend to be most popular. But we feel that this choice and popularity is down to plastic designs being easy and cheap to produce and not because clamp stands are the best tool for the job. It can be a really fiddly job getting the tree to stand vertically with clamps. There is a lot of screwing and unscrewing of each clamp to apply pressure to the tree in just the right way to correct any lean.
  • The slot stand is the simplest to fit of course, but the diameter of the ring of fingers needs to match pretty closely to the diameter of the tree. If the ring is too big then the tree will be unsteady in the stand and if the ring is too small then the tree won’t even fit inside.

A hand inspecting a sprig of Nordmann Fir
Close up of Christmas wreath with fir cones and a colourful artificial bird

Make sure the stand you choose is right for the tree you have. Taller trees require a larger footprint in order to keep them steady. And except for spike stands, trees with wider trunks need a big enough inner diameter in the stand to accommodate them. Don’t be tempted to trim or whittle the trunk to make a tree fit a stand that’s too small for it, the outer layer of the tree absorbs the most water and you’d be taking this away making it more difficult for your tree to stay fresh.

If you want the freshest looking tree all through the season, you really should make sure your stand has some kind of reservoir so that it can stay hydrated. Depending on the size and species, a large tree can drink anywhere up to two litres a day! It’s a good idea to make sure your reservoir can hold at least half a litre of water, even when there’s a tree inside it.

At Fir, we believe that the tree is the star of the show and the stand’s primary job should be to hold it upright and allow it to be presented in the best possible way. This is the reason why we only supply spike stands. Since the only down-side to a spike stand is that it’s difficult to fit, we include fitting it as part of our service. We’ll pre-drill the hole and fix any lean in the tree once it’s upright leaving you with nothing to do but decide where it should go. And the best bit is this service is absolutely free!

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