Christmas Tree Stands

Let’s face it: setting up a Christmas tree can be stressful! But it doesn’t need to be. With the right stand and some pro pointers, you’ll be setting up your tree with enough time to enjoy some eggnog as you decorate and congratulate yourself on a job well done.

The stand is literally the foundation of a successful fresh Christmas tree experience, so you want to make sure you get the right stand for your tree.

First Things First

The height, weight, and trunk diameter will give you an idea of how big your stand needs to be. Friendly reminder: a tree can drink up about a quart of water per inch of trunk diameter, so make sure your water reservoir is big enough. Also, water will be displaced by the trunk when the tree is in the stand, so go for a bigger size. For larger trees, you’ll want a stand with a wider, sturdier base.

Photo of the base of a Christmas tree inside a plastic green tree stand.

Most stands today are made of plastic or metal and usually a combination of both. No matter what type of stand you have, check the durability of the material, so you can assess the effectiveness of the stand. Is it sturdy enough to hold your tree? Are there any cracks in the water bowl? Do you need to shop for a new one?

The right stand makes setting up the tree easy (with a few helpful tips) and there are all types of stands to fit any style and budget.

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Pin Style

An easy way to make sure your tree will stand straight is to use a pin style Christmas tree stand (aka drill stand, aka “Marriage Saver”). These stands have a pin or post at the base, and retailers who carry these have a tree drill system. They will perfectly position your tree upright and drill a hole up the center of the tree trunk that aligns with the pin in the stand. Set-up is as easy as setting the tree on the pin! Perfect for one person set-up and you can easily “spin” the tree once in the stand to find the best side. These stands are most often found at choose and cut farms and some seasonal lots.

Classic or Traditional with Eye Bolts

These stands may be the most common – and perhaps most feared. They typically have four or five eye bolts or screws surrounding the large water basin that secure the tree. Most newer eye bolt stands have plastic water basins and better water-holding capacity than their vintage cousins with shallow basins made of metal – usually aluminum.

A man and a woman standing in a living room trying to see if their Christmas tree is tilted.

Getting the tree standing straight is the challenge. Making set-up a two-person job will allow you to get the tree upright and straight with limited stress. One person holds the tree, while the other screws it into place. Bada bing, bada boom! You’re Christmas ready. Also, some newer models have quick-release bolts, making the takedown process quicker. 

Clamps or Claws

Newer to the Christmas tree stand market are clamp stands. These stands grip the tree trunk with clamps that are tightened by stepping on a ratcheting foot pedal. Because they make it so easy to secure and set up the tree, clamp stands can make it a one-person job; however a helper does make it a much easier task. These stands also handle a variety of tree sizes and have large water reservoirs. Clamp stands may be a little more expensive than more traditional stands, but they last and make tree set-up a breeze!

Heavy Duty Steel Stand

Heavy duty stands are perfect for serious Christmas tree decorators and folks with large trees. Made from steel, these stands tend to be a bit pricey, but they are made for the long haul. These stands secure the tree with T handle bolts (similar to the traditional eye bolt stands) and feature legs that extend out from the stand providing a sturdy home for your tree. Perhaps a future family heirloom?

Antique and Vintage

Although you may be tempted to display your tree in an antique or vintage stand, they rarely have the water-holding capacity to keep your Christmas tree fresh all season long. Still yearning for times of yore? Display your fun antique shop find with other vintage décor and holiday decorations.

Decorator Stands

The popularity of online shopping has opened up a world of different “decorator” stands. Whether your aesthetic is mid-century modern, cast-iron heirloom or artistic “tree root,” when it comes to having a successful real Christmas tree experience water capacity is key! Make sure the reservoir has enough water for your tree size.

Big Success with Big Trees

Tall Christmas trees are beautiful but it takes special stands to ensure success and safety. The packaging of any new stand should clearly state the height of tree that it can support. Most stand types make versions for big trees; however consumers wanting to display a tall tree should specifically look for a stand that has some weight and a wide base or legs that extend out beyond the stand.

Water You Waiting For?

No matter which type you select, make sure that the stand of your dreams can hold a quart of water per inch of trunk diameter. And don’t forget to factor in the water that will be displaced by the trunk itself!

A field of Christmas trees alongside a hill