artificial Christmas tree; Frontgate? Balsam Hill?

kardutNovember 19, 2007

We're thinking of going with an artificial Christmas tree this year, and are looking for one that we're happy with. Of course, the ones that look good are pricey. Does anyone have any experience with Frontgate and/or Balsam Hill trees? Are they worth the extra money? Frontgate has 20% off til Wednesday, so would like to make a decision before then. TIA

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i got the balsam hill silver fir (i think that's what it's called==it's their most expensive). we decided to go ahead and put it up yesterday. we spent nearly 4 hours. and we still do not have it connected properly. i previously bought 2 trees from and they have 3 connections for the lights. no problem. they set up in a couple of minutes. i am so upset with this balsam hill tree i could scream (actually, we all did==lol)

    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 10:48AM
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I had a tree from Tree Classics and loved it (lost it in Katrina.) It had the brightest lights of any tree I've ever seen. This year will be our first Christmas in our new house and I wanted something special. I researched everyone, and kept coming back to Tree Classics. They are so great to work with, have free and quick shipping, and also you can google and get an additional 10% off coupon to apply online.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 11:00AM
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I haven't purchased trees from Frontgate but I have their lighted sprays and long, outdoor garland. Some of the best quality I've seen and easy to put up each year.
I'm now eyeing one of their outdoor trees!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 11:38AM
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I've always been a real-tree person but since moving here 5 years ago, we've had a lot of trouble keeping our trees alive. I think the combination of forced air heat and our woodstove is just drying them out--last year we cut a fresh one a week before Christmas and it was dried out/needles falling off by New Years.

Anyway, the whole point of this is that I have always disliked fake trees but yesterday I saw one in Home Depot, of all places, that might convince me to switch. It was pricey ($300) but looked and felt very real. It was prewired with lights that had bigger bulb covers than just the sparkly ones and was very pretty. I'm thinking if our tree dies on us again this year, I'll be buying one of those fake ones at the after-Christmas clearance sales.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 1:03PM
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Thanks everyone for your input. DH, for some reason, insists that any artificial tree have a "natural-looking" trunk. I've tried to drill into him that you won't be able to see the trunk with a decent tree, but he's pretty stubborn in that respect! Anyway, Frontgate seemed to be the only company with the brown "bark-like" trunk, so I went ahead and ordered from them. Will let you know what I think when it arrives.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 2:40PM
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Before you buy, try to find a "GE Just Cut" artificial tree to see how real looking they are.

Lowes and Home Depot carry them in the South East.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 5:07PM
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The GE Just Cut was the one that amazed me at Home Depot.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 5:55PM
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I love my tree from Tree Classics. I can't remember which model it is, but it is so easy to assemble and looks very real. I have gotten many compliments on it in the 2 years I have had it. It is pre-lit, and I will never go back to putting lights on, this is so much easier.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 8:58PM
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still crying over the balsam hill tree. btw--the trunk on this one looks so real and "barky". the needles on the tree look sooo real--but why can't we figure out the LIGHTS!!!!!!!! AGH!!!!!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 8:42AM
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i'm returning the balsam hill tree. i've ordered another from tree classics. i'll let ya'll know if it's as good as the other ones i've gotten from them. this balsam hill tree is a pita!!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 1:18AM
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Have you checked craigslist? The one here is chock full of artificial Christmas trees for very low prices... all sizes, all types.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 8:37AM
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Hi, I purchased a tree from frontgate last year. It looked great and was easy to put together. The best part is that they have a tree bag cover (extra charge of course) that you can use that prevens you from ever having to take the tree apart. This year, put the tree where we wanted it, slide the bag down, the branches unfolded and the tree was perfect. Enjoy your tree!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 1:10PM
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I said I'd never have an artificial tree, but after years of paying a hefty price for the beautiful Noble Firs, only to be afraid to turn the lights on the week of Christmas, I acquiesced and bought a prelit tree from TreeClassics.

We are very pleased and I just spray "tree fragrance" every time I pass it. It's not the real thing, but not as bad as I thought it would be.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 5:21PM
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I am new to this site and am not sure of the protocol, but would like to know more about the Balsam Hill Aspen Silver Fir purchased and returned by hellpaso. I've been looking for a "real" artificial tree for quite some time and it is the only one I've found that has a "bark" trunk and almost 100% molded plastic needles. Most, even the bulk of the Balsam Hill trees, have molded plastic only on the exterior and PVC on the interior. I liked the Frontgate trees and they seem to have well hidden wire hinges, at least according to their video, but was concerned about the PVC on the interior. When I found the Balsam Hill tree that had bark and almost no PVC I thought I'd struck gold, but I haven't been able to find any sites with customer reviews and/or opinions. The problem with the lights on hellpaso's tree has me concerned. I'd love more details on the problems as well as the other aspects of the tree as it's a rather expensive thing to buy sight unseen. (I did get the branch sample kit which was a great help with picking a type of tree.) Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2007 at 8:39PM
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now I'm worried. before reading this site I ordered a Balsam Douglas pinecone tree to be delivered in about 6 days. I have looked at dozens of trees and was going crazy trying to decide which one. When my husband saw this one (we saw them at the mall) he said it was the best artificial tree he had ever seen so that made up my mind. I got the one with both clear and/or colored lights. I will post after it arrives and I have put it together. I really hope it is fairly easy as my husband recently had heart surgery and isn't much help right now. Would love to hear how other people like their Balsam trees.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2007 at 9:38PM
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I've been eyeing one of those Frontgate trees for years (with the pull-down bag). Problem is, I have a perfectly good (unlit) tree here that I got at Target during an after Christmas clearance in February at 90% off (you read that right). It was a $200 tree and I got it for $10. So while I admire the Frontgate trees I have such a hard time justifying it.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2007 at 12:54AM
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I just bought a GE Just Cut 9 ft. tree at Sears. It is similiar to the HD and Lowe's ones, but is fuller and has about 300 more lights. It is beautiful and bigger in my house than I thought it would be. My son says it's a beast and really sweet. When we lit it, we couldn't believe how bright it was. I'm worried that it is too bright! Maybe it will be better once I decorate. I use lots of ornaments and ribbon. Can you put a dimmer on the tree?

Here's the best part of the whole thing. I went to HD to get their tree, they were out. So I got them to write down the price for me. I took it to Sears. The name on each tree was the same. They matched HD's price.

If you're looking for a tall tree, this one is very nice. It did take a long time to arrange the branches, but I'm hoping that it's because it was the first time up. Also, it was easy to put together, but not for someone who has trouble lifting. Also, if you don't like ladders, this is not a tree for you. I'll be going up and down quite a bit.

I love big, beautiful trees with my cathedral ceiling, but the more I write, the more I think, "What did I get myself into?" LOL Why isn't 7 1/2 enought for me? Oh well, I'll do it for my kids. Hearing that the tree was "sweet" was all I needed.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 1:52AM
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I don't get this whole thing about artificial having to look EXACTLY like a fresh cut tree to be any good. The fake trees of today are a LOT nicer than the ones from years ago. They do look more realistic and the prices have come down a lot from where they started when they changed the look.

The way I have always seen it, there are pros and cons to both fake vs. real. With my fake tree I can have it up for a month or more and not have to worry about it. We don't have sinus problems, needles to clean up, the mess of watering the tree, the worry that the dogs will drink the water and the yearly expense among other issues. My fake tree (Wal-Mart, 6 years ago) may have to be stored in our shed but it's there when I need it and it's not that hard to take down and put up. It may not have the same exact color or look EXACTLY like a real pine tree (heck, I have seen REAL trees that look fake and there are many that aren't so perfect looking) but it's a tree and it makes my kids happy and it's our favorite thing to get out out of all of our Christmas decorations and that is ALL that matters.

BTW~Unless you go for like a Primitive Country looking feathertree that has few branches, you will not see the trunk so bark like looking metal won't make a difference either.

I'm sorry but I can't believe Christmas has become so commercialized that people agonize over their artificial tree looking exactly like the blue spruce in the front yard.....It's NOT what Christmas is about.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 7:32AM
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Once again, Tree Classics has not disappointed me. This was my second order from them (lost the first tree due to Katrina.) We have 11 ft. ceilings in our new home, so I ordered the 9 ft slim Augusta Classic Spruce, and we love it. Very natural looking, bright lights, free bags to store it in, and free shipping, plus the little pedal switch to easily cut on/off the lights. It was so pretty, right out of the box, did not even really have to "fluff" the branches....

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 9:48AM
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I've looked at all the websites and couldn't see spending $500 plus for a fake tree. I ended up getting a 9' slim MS tree at Kmart. I need about 70-80' of garland to do my railings, so this seemed a good compromise. If money was no object I would get a 12' slim tree, the best I could find (I have 17' ceilings in that room).

What is everyone's favorite source for pre-lit garland?

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 10:26AM
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After everyone's great comments about Tree Classics, I decided that I'd give them a try. But, after I went to their website, I found that I had a few questions about their trees. I tried to give the customer service a call, but couldn't get through to anyone. I've tried calling 4 times! Anyone else have this problem? I'm concerned about paying $700 for a tree if I can't even reach a human.

I'm now thinking about trying Balsam Hill instead.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 2:06PM
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chich, that's unfortunate that you can't reach Tree Classics. I had questions, too, when I was trying to make a decision and they were very helpful, but it was about a month ago. I imagine they're a lot busier these days. Good luck with your choice. To me, Christmas trees are like babies, no such thing as an ugly one!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 2:37PM
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Tree classic is down the street from me in Lake Barrington, IL. I should check them out!

I did check craigslist and there are TONS of BIG fake trees for like $100. I'd definately check out craigslist.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 4:08PM
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I just purchased a Balsam Hill tree and am very pleased with it. We've always had a live tree but we had to take down this year's tree last week because one of our dogs was allergic to it... it had only been up about a week. I admit after reading this thread I searched for a tree from different companies because of the light problem mentioned. Many were already sold out... I also looked locally but they were not the quality I was searching for. So I decided to give a Balsam Hill tree a try. I ordered the 6 1/2 Noble Fir with white and colored lights and it arrived yesterday. I too had a problem with the lights at first... I thought "oh, great". I made 3 calls to customer service and finally asked if there was a schematic for connecting the light strands. The 3rd person I spoke with was most informative. She told me to look in the packet with the extra bulbs and took her time to explain how the lights on this particular tree/size connected to a power strip in the middle section of the tree and a power cord traveled down to the power pack that plugged into the wall. I should have opened all the packages because sure enough, there it was. My problem was that for the life of me I couldn't find the cords that traveled down to the bottom power pack... they were wrapped very securely near the trunk. If you get a Balsam Hills tree, look for the light schematic. My husband and son were disappointed that we weren't having a live tree this year. This particular tree won over my husband... he LOVES it which is saying a lot since he scorned artificial trees. :) My son hasn't seen it yet... later today hopefully. Just be prepared to spend several hours adjusting the branches... it took me around 5 hours to set it up and I still have a little adjusting to do. It's a heavy tree... the FedEx info said it was a 94 pound package. Also, I found an online coupon and save $25... not a lot but it took a little off the faster shipping method I selected. Good luck with your search.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 11:21AM
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snowflakes--i'm glad you were able to get your tree to work. i have the balsam hill tree in the boxes in my garage, set to return. we tried talking with the people there, and they were of no help. they gave us an email address (i was also wanting a schematic) and said they would reply within 24 hours. well, that's been weeks ago, now. i got a treeclassics tree to replace it, and it took us all of 10 minutes to assemble & light it.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 1:48PM
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Well the Balsam Hill tree is up and I am happy. We had a few minutes of heavy stress when it wouldn't light correctly but my DH discovered it came from the factory plugged incorrectly. A quick switch of plugs and it is fine. I did discover that we apparently took ALL of our Christmas decorations up to our house that we are moving to in a few months. I was pretty unhappy about that but have decided the tree is beautiful just the way it is and so no decorations this year! Just goes along with my theory that "it's always something".

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 10:28AM
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I live in So. California and there is a brand of Christmas trees I saw at Roger's Gardens in Newport Beach that I thought was just amazing...the brand name was Barcana - they looked similar to the pictures I have seen here of the Beacon Hill trees. The thing I was absolutely blown away from was that they not only looked real but they felt absolutely real as well. They had a stand of them outside with white lights only - looked like a forest of living trees...I was so impressed.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 10:46AM
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Sorry - I meant Balsam Hill not Beacon Hill in my previous post.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 10:48AM
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Anyone have an artificial "easy to take down, not too heavy" tree to recommend?

My in-laws have had an artificial tree for a number of years that is on its last legs, so they're looking to get a new one after this Christmas. But as they are getting into their 80's, they want something that is not as heavy to put together as their current one. And they do have to take it down to store it, as they don't have much storage space.

I don't know what their current model is, but it comes in three pieces that get "stacked" like a pyramid to make the whole tree. My in-laws are getting too old to lift the pieces, and we're not there every year at the time they want to put together the tree and can help them.

Soooo, does anyone have one that they find is not too heavy to lift to put together?

Thanks in advance!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 6:17PM
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LA, maybe it's time for them to consider a smaller tree (tabletop) that they can manage. My mom is 90 and has been using a 4.5' artificial tree for the past 10 years.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 7:17PM
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Whatever you do, DO NOT order from Balsam Hill. I deliberated over ordering some wreaths between Balsam Hill and Tree Classics. I finally decided on Balsam Hill. But when the wreaths arrived, all the pinecones were smushed on the wreaths. I contacted them about returning them and they said I would have to send them back on my own and they would review. I returned them at a cost to me of $73. They credited my account for the original cost of the wreaths but not the shipping costs. I am filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau about their customer service practices. I have nothing good to say about this company- their product was inferior as well as their customer service. Save yourself some headaches and order from anywhere but Balsam Hill!!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 11:50AM
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lisademaio is certainly the place to go for great trees & garlands. I had HUGE problems dealing with Balsam Hill. I ordered a large amount of premium garland from them, I did not receive the garland type that I ordered plus the garland that I received was awful looking very bright green and FAKE looking. I called cust serv. What a joke! Very very rude. The "supervisor" kept insisting that I made the mistake-even after I said that I would order a more expensive garland if they would pay the shipping on the return, Balsam Hill would not budge and effectively made no sell at all and left me a very angry cust. who found treeclassics and placed a very large order w/them. TREECLASSICS now has a satisfied and loyal customer

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 10:48PM
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I have bought from both these companies, but my new favorite company for Christmas trees is Just bought my tree for this year, and it arrived quickly without any damage!

Here is a link that might be useful: Christmas Tree World

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 10:52AM
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Hey greg, nice viral plug. C'mon, customers aren't stupid and they can see right through your post that you work for that company. I for one don't appreciate a public forum getting plastered by a fake review. It makes your company christmasworldtree look like garbage and desperate! sorry! :)

    Bookmark   November 27, 2010 at 5:54PM
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Frontgate has good quality, but do not trust that the photos match the actual product. One of the trees, Fraser Fir, had two close up photos - one with pine cones, one without. We called and asked which it was. The rep answered that we should just go by the verbal description for all the products.

I wish I would have known that about the cordless wreath I purchased from them. The photo has a bow and all white lights, but the actual item has no bow and a mix of red and white lights. I see now that the description says "red and white", but this was not reflected in the photo.

The Christmas tree comparison chart said "yes" for the Flip Feature of the 7.5' Denmark Tree, but it turns out that it is only an option and that they were out of it. Had I ordered the tree based on the chart, I would have been irate. I didn't order the tree because some of the models (they weren't sure which), do not have "Constant On" technology, meaning that if one bulb goes out, the whole tree can too.

For that kind of money, I felt that I should really know exactly what I was getting and that the technology should be the most current.

Maybe in a few years, when I purchase another artificial tree, I'll give them a shot, but they lost my business this year.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 1:02PM
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Tree Classics used to be a very good company. But before you buy from them now, please google Tree Classics reviews, or complaints. There are 100's of them on the net.

I purchased a Tree Classics tree in late 2007 on sale for almost $600. The past two years I have had more than 200 lights go out on this tree. Tree Classics did sell the replacement bulbs for $30 per 100, but did not have them available in 2010. They say they have lost their supplier. I have not been able to find any replacement bulbs that will work in my "worry free lighting" tree. Now Tree Classics is not answering any phone calls or emails. I suspect they have gone out of business due to the lousy quality of their trees in the past couple years, and the number of complaints lodged by their customers. I suspect I will have to throw out my tree and purchase a new one for the 2011 Christmas season. My tree is a beautiful tree, but definitely not worth $200 each Christmas season. I am very disappointed! Please do not buy from this company without researching the recent complaints. The vast majority of complaints are due to lighting issues. Buyer BEWARE!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 4:50PM
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First of all, forget Tree Classics since they are gone and I mean gone (aka bankrupt). My sister lives in the Barrington area and knows the previous owner. The company was liquidated and there was a message on their site about it. Bought by Heavenly brands and I looked up was actually Balsam Hill who is already one of the worst-known scams online for Christmas trees(I know, I was a sucker and got one of their faulty trees in 09').

Secondly, I went to the old Tree Classics location to see if anyone was there and sure enough a Christmas showroom was being built by a company called Treetime. Totally new owners but total sweethearts, too! This nice woman let me in to their showroom area that wasn't even done yet, was willing to walk me around and spent time to speak to me.

My sister and I were having lunch across the street and figured what the heck to check it out but I had no idea it was being re-opened and it was pretty amazing inside.

After about 20 minutes I ended up buying an artificial Christmas tree from Treetime (I got the Telluride Spruce)and she really did absolutely everything to make my experience a memorable one. I'm the type of woman that WILL spend the time cheering good people online unlike most who just gripe!

Anyways, check them out they are definitely professional and the quality of my tree from them is just superb. I live in Arizona so believe me its not easy to find a good quality fake tree out here. Look them up its called Treetime Christmas trees and yes they are open in the same place Tree Classics was at the site is I believe.

Here is a link that might be useful: Treetime Artificial Christmas Trees

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 11:10PM
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Sometimes web and catalogue pictures can be deceiving, as they are photographed after many hours of a host of people making them perfect for the photographer. The look, once finished arranging and shaping branches, you will have is that of the most perfect, life-like tree you could every want. To make sure I was getting the best, I also ordered the best tress from Frontgate and Hammacher Schlemmer, who also advertise their noble firs as "the finest trees available!" After putting all 3 trees together in one room and comparing them, the Balsam Hill was the obvious best choice and the others were returned. Understand, to get them to look like Balsam Hill makes them look, you are going to have to put some time into shaping the tree. I just have to be upfront about that, and it can be time consuming depending on how "perfect" you want it. Everyone will find their own best way of putting it together and shaping, but the finished product is amazing! Again, I cannot stress enough "shaping" as you put the tree together. Spending the time to make it look perfect is well worth your efforts, and that is a BEAUTIFUL Christmas tree!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 7:06PM
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Wow, wdtalton. What an amazing made-up review that was. Do you honestly think Internet shoppers are THAT naive that we can't see through a made-up plug? I mean really folks, like I can't search the Internet for "Balsamhill disasters" or and see the plethora of horrendous complaints about your trees plastered across the known interweb. Give me a break.... "obvious best choice" my ***.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 7:51PM
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I agree, wonder who in the company wrote that review? The trees look nice but if you have a problem, forget it. Balsam Hill customer service is the ABSOLUTE WORST! I feel bad for the employees who have to tell irate customers that the company refuses to stand behind their products.

We bought a tree and the lights quit working after 2 years on the bottom section. The solution offered? Buy another section for $150.00! We will never buy anything from this company again.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 12:35PM
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I had a very good customer service experience with and I'm not even officially their customer. I called Treetime two days ago with an issue I had with a Tree Classics pre-lit tree I purchased 4 years ago. The company that purchased the Tree Classics name and website (Balsam Hill) didn't have the courtesy to assist me even though I was still under their warranty. Their customer service actually had the nerve to tell me to call Treetime's showroom for service because they don't honor the warranty after they bought the name...purely ridiculous and shameful.

Without much hope for a resolution I called the Treetime Barrington store anyways and spoke to a woman who understandably told me that they could not replace or provide lights for a tree they didn't carry but insisted that later that evening she could come to my home to fix my tree's lights (completely at her own free will and her own time). She did. I am a widowed woman and without my husband I have a hard enough time dealing with Christmas without him and I can't tell you how appreciative I am of good people like this that still care about others. Treetime showed me that the people they employ care about their job and about other people.

I would never hesitate to buy from this company and my next artificial Christmas tree will definitely be from them! Thank you, Joanne, you are a fine example of a young lady with character and class!

Here is a link that might be useful: Pre Lit Artificial Christmas Trees

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 2:24PM
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I am confused now. I had a tree classic LED tree in my cart but I will not be buying it. I am disappointed that some of the posts here are fake. It is too bad that these "fakers" don't spend more time serving their customers and less time on forums telling lies.

That said . . . What kind of tree do you like? I am from the Midwest and I think the fir trees look good. I like LED lights because I want the avoid the nightmare of replacing the bulbs (specifically the kind that all go out when one bulb goes wrong). Also, I want a tree that goes together in sections instead of by the branch. I have more storage now so, I will probably leave it upright with a tree bag. Every year I dread reshaping the branches.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 7:40AM
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Last night, my DS and I started putting up our 7 year old artificial tree (bought locally), which has had problems with the lights for 4 years now. When we got it up and plugged it in, only 2 strands on a 9 foot tree lit. So I said, "'Forget' THIS" and took it down, dragged it out to the curb, jumped in the truck and went to Costco. I bought their 9 foot GE tree because if I ever have problems with it, I'm going to stick it back in the box and trudge it on up to Costco and have them replace it.

After experiences like I've had with pre-lit trees--frustrating!!!!--next expensive tree I purchase is going to be unlit!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 10:55AM
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I don't blame you Angie. I had the same issues and if I had the means I'd definitely just get a new tree as well. I won't do Costco though because they carry the GE stuff which is terrible lighting. They should call it "constant off" instead of "on" because there is a single bulb in their strands that can't be replaced - EVER - if it fails. the whole set has to be replaced. Not worth it. My next tree will be LED or an unlit.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 11:39AM
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I had a horrible experience with Balsam hill - I paid $800 for a tree which after finally getting in touch with them I found out they did not have in stock. I asked them to send an alternative overnight and they refused. The manager I spoke with was incredibly rude and they were not even able to confirm the measurements of their tree - they had different measurements than what was on the website. Truly a horrible experience. I would not go near this company again under any circumstances

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 8:34PM
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Six years ago I decided no more expensive fresh trees that were so dry we feared plugging in the lights by Christmas Eve.

I researched on this forum and found Tree Classics recommended--and that tree I orderedis fabulous and people think it's the real thing! I even still use the huge box of sample branches they sent for decorating around the house!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 11:14PM
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You must have read a recommendation of Tree Classics from 2007...because if you bothered to read anything past 2010 when they went out of business and were purchased by another poorly rated brand you would have seen that they are not the real thing any longer. Just what seems to be another site for unfortunate buyers of Balsam Hill products. :(

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 2:15AM
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I just bought a tree from Balsam HIll and I got burned. They ship fast but the lights on top did not work. Called, sent in photos as requested. Just asked for a new string of lights and it has been a week and no luck with their shoddy customer service who did not even have a record of my first two calls!
Beware! Don't buy one!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 9:16PM
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I'm late on the topic, but I researched trees and found that Balsam Hill has a lot of complaints and that Frontgate's trees look better. I ordered the Eastern Fir flip tree, and it is great, easy to install and I'm happy with it. I was torn between the Fraiser Fir & this eastern Fir.. but was afraid the Fraiser would be too large. I probably should have ordered the Fraiser.. as the Eastern is slightly smaller than I thought, but I didn't want to pay shipping fees, so I kept it.

I should note - I have had nothing but EXCELLANT service from Frontgate. After I placed the order, it went on sale (as well as a couple other items) I called them up and they adjusted the price! Also had an animated store, and part didn't work, they sent a replacement next day air and issued a pick-up for the defective one. Very happy with their service!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 12:38PM
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We just put our Tree Classics tree up (purchased in 2005), and almost none of the lights are working. Anyway, I think it is the last year for this tree, so will be on the hunt again.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 1:50PM
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We bought a 6.5' Noble Classic Tree (Santa's Own brand) from . I read a review of one of their trees on Good Housekeeping's website, and couldn't find anything bad about the company on the web.

My son unboxed and put together the tree in about 10 minutes. I was reading the directions, looked up, and it was already done! It looks beautiful. The needles are soft, so that we didn't need to worry about being lacerated by them. It is a prelit LED tree.

Our sole guest thought the tree was real. My husband said if he didn't know I'd bought a fake tree, he'd have thought it was real, too.

We are very pleased, so I don't have any experience with the company's customer service.

Here is a link that might be useful: Christmas Tree for Me

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 12:13AM
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Texasjana, that was us last year, but what we did was just cut off all the lights as the tree is still in great shape and still looks great. We bought lights and now string them on. Although it was nice to have the pre lit and just put it up we just couldn't find anything that looks as good as the one we have and it is so easy to throw away a string of lights if they stop working. Really didn't take me that much time to string some lights on.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 2:57PM
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I bought a Balsam Hill tree in 2009 and it worked for only that year. It is a 9 foot clear lights/colored lights option purchased at over $1300. The second year I could not figure out the lights to get them to be all clear or all colored (the reason I bought this tree in the first place). Apparently, the lines were crossed and I spent hours trying to fix it to no avail. The folowing year I spent days on it coming back and forth trying to get it all lit- half of the lights burned out. This year, I spent hours cutting all of the light strands off. I do not want to buy another tree and have the same problem. I'm just going back to the old fashioned way of stringing my lights on and taking them off, this way if any burn out, I will just buy new ones and not worry about it. But I would not recommend buying from this company. When I called back in 2010, I could not get through to a person. Recording said something about this being a busy time of year and the best time to call was after the season. Ridiculous and a complete rip off!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 1:44PM
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I am SO VERY GRATEFUL to all those who took the time to post your experiences with various artificial christmas tree companies. I have agitated for an artificial tree for over 30 years; today, my DH finally started looking around online for a tree.

He was settled on Balsam Hill when I asked if he had googled the internet for reviews. He hadn't, so I did. This site was one of the first three listed in the results. As I started with the initial question, posted several years ago, it became clear very quickly that Balsam Hill would be more trouble than it appeared they would be at their website.

Everyone who posted here has made our search a lot more focused on just two companies. My DH has come a LONG way just being willing to look. But, if we had ordered from Balsam Hill and had the problems and disappointments described here, I'd be vacuuming needles after Christmas for the rest of my life! Thank you, thank you.

BTW, they were just barely accredited with the BBB November 2013. They are still getting complaints on that site, with many of the same kinds of problems listed here. All I know is that we will not be doing business with them, this, or any, year.

Thank you all again. Your reviews have saved us from making a purchase we probably would have regretted.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 3:40PM
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Definitely consider the setup!! Mine is in 3 pieces, not counting the stand, and all I need to do is pull the branches out and fluff. It's still very time consuming since it's a 10 footer, purchased at a Christmas store in San Diego about 6 years ago. Very realistic looking.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 5:29PM
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time to rev this topic up again, I guess. I got rid of my Martha Stewart white tree after several years because it was just looking sad. I'd like another, but prices sure have gone up in the interim! And I can't seem to find an unlit tree either.

Probably will go with a real tree this year, and look for sales for an artificial white tree next year. I like them because you can easily change the look with lights or ornaments without a lot of trouble. For years I collected ornaments . . . am so over that. Gave them all to my kids.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 8:15PM
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So glad to have found this thread through a google search, I had forgot about the GardenWeb.

We are probably going to buy a pre-lit LED tree from Costco - at least that is DH's plan, but I am worried that they will be too bright. Someone asked above about dimming them - is this a possibility? Are there brands that have less bright LEDs.

Our artificial tree is 28 years old - takes hours to assemble and two days to get the lights on. I am ready for a pre-lit model.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 10:17AM
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So, I can't figure out where the taller trees are. So, do you think a 9 foot tree is tall enough if I have 16.5 foot ceilings??

Also, what do you think of Costco's 9 foot LED tree by GE?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 10:00PM
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    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 10:13PM
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I have to laugh now. I glanced at the date on this post and saw Nov 19 and that it had 63 posts already and thought this must be a really hot topic. Didn't see the year at first. lol

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 10:34PM
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Like most posters here we were tired of messing with lighting issues with our 10 year old pre-lit artificial tree (Bethlehem). We were intrigued with the catalogs from Frontgate, and initially the reviews of Balsam Hill, Tree Classics, etc. After reading all the bad stuff however, we ordered a tree from Hammacher Schlemmer which seems to have very few bad reviews. Will post an update when we receive it in a week or so.

12/12/2013 Update
Still haven't received the tree, but did receive the wreath. We're hoping the wreath is a good indication of what the tree will be like, as it is really great. It's the nicest artificial wreath we've ever seen. Very natural branches, and the LED lights are a nice warm color temperature so they don't have the bluish glare that older LEDs have.

According to UPS the tree is close and should be delivered today.

Christmas tree arrived. First observation is this thing is heavy--at least 2x the weight of our old Bethlehem tree, although this is a 8 1/2' tree and the old one was 7'. Second observation is that the needles are amazingly lifelike. Just like the wreath, they look very realistic.

Took me about 20 minutes to unpack, carry the 3 sections and stand in from the garage, and get everything put together. Took another 10 minutes or so to untangle the branches and wires to unfold everything, and 5 minutes or so to find the 6 internal electrical connectors, connect them, and plug everything in.

The connectors seem really solid--2 prong round connectors that have a sleeve that screws them together securely. We'll see what it's like in 5 years or so, but so far I'm pretty impressed.

The lights are great--nice warm (2700k?) color temperature.

It will take quite a bit of fluffing to get it just right, but hopefully we can figure out a way to store it so that fluffing is largely a 1-time event.

Here's a close up of the wreath. The tree is similar and I'll post photos of it in a subsequent reply.

This post was edited by ACHiPo on Sat, Dec 14, 13 at 14:04

    Bookmark   December 6, 2013 at 9:49AM
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The Balsam Hill tree I ordered has been a nightmare! I wish I had returned it. The Noble Fir tree with white and multi-colored lights is a beautiful, realistic tree. But after spending 6-7 hours shaping it, there were about 12 branches (not in just 1 section)in which the clear lights did not light. I FINALLY found a broken bulb and some of them came on. 2 dome-shaped fuse lights did not light and I took the tree apart and switched them out but they did not work still. After calling and having to wait a long time to be helped, the man told me I hadn't "gotten to know" my tree yet and needed to get "intimate" with it. I AM NOT WANTING TO MARRY the tree, I just want the lights to work that I paid for! I have never had an artificial tree but can no longer get the real tree in the stand and in the house, so decided to get an artificial tree. I regret getting this tree and should have sent it back but I spent so much time putting it up, I hate to start over. I might take it down and not have one this year. Oh, yes, the "helper" also told me their goal was for me to have a beautiful tree by Christmas. NO, my goal was to have a beautiful tree by last weekend!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 8:33PM
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I'm single and go out of town for XMAS every yr. Still, I wanted to hang the many PB ornaments I got on sale after XMAS last yr. I ALMOST bought from Balsam Hill, but couldnt see spending $500, when I dont have a family and wont be here at XMAS anyway.

Lowes had a sale so I went over there Black Friday. I got a 6.5 foot tree (smaller than I wanted) for $48. It set up in 5 mins. the lights work. It has some gaps, but I filled them in with the bigger ornaments. It's not perfect, but I'm glad I got it. If I am in town next yr., maybe I'll get a nicer one and move this to the den.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 2:37AM
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Here's a photo of the Hammacher Schlemmer tree (pre-fluffed)

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 2:06PM
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Here's a photo of the electrical connections for the lights. Not sure if Balsam Hill or others use a similar connector, but this is a lot different from our old Bethlehem tree. You can also see the pretty typical branch and trunk treatment. Nothing very special there.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 2:09PM
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Here's a photo of the fluffed tree. Pretty impressive. Hopefully it will hold up and the lights will continue to work. Fluffing took a while--probably 30 minutes for three of us.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 12:42AM
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I'm new here but need to advise prospective buyers of my disappointing experience with 'pre lit' trees. Our BalsamHill lighted tree (almost $400 in 2010) had multiple light failures this year >> less than 3 weeks out of the 3 yr warranty. So we had 2 years of 'Plug-n-Play' and this year- multiple failures.

We thought the high (imho) price was worth it for two reasons.
1- never have to string lights on a tree again
2- high quality pre lit trees would come with very long lasting lights. We had strings from Walmart/Kmart that have lasted several years, so I wasn't worried.

So now we were wrong on BOTH counts.

Consider- a 9 ft tree has MANY lights, all tightly attached and the same shade of green as the branches. So tracing down the faulty socket is a monumental job.

FYI, we used moving boxes (wardrobe size) for storage, so it wasn't like we jammed anything together during storage.

Finally- I checked fuses, and the 1st socket downstream of the failure, and changed those bulbs anyway- no luck.

My Opinion- Unless you are wealthy enough to toss a $400 tree every few years, chasing faulty tree light becomes very difficult when you're working with hundreds.

Maybe we got a bad one, but I've seen similar complaints on lighted trees. So as lights are a big part of the price of a 'Pre-Lit' tree, "Be Forewarned".

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 12:53PM
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I purchased a 5' 5" tree from Balsam Hill. It came with a bag for off season storage, but I cannot fit the tree sections into the bag. No instructions were included with the tree. I called Balsam Hill for help and learned that I did not receive straps with which to reduce the diameter of the sections so that they could fit in the supplied bag. Balsam Hill simply told me that they would not send me those straps because they were not available. No offer was made to send the straps in the future, and no direction was given on how the tree sections could fit into the supplied bag. Instead I was told that I could buy a larger bag or follow the personal practice of the customer service rep by tying a bungee cord around the tree sections. It would take a large number of bungee cords to compress each tree section, and I find it hard to believe that Balsam Hill could offer no other solution.

I am now faced with the problem of having to find space to store the very bulky sections of the tree.

I expected more of Balsam Hill and am very disappointed in the manner in which Balsam Hill trivialized my problem, leaving me with the impression that they considered my problem as unimportant.

Yes, the product is good, but Balsam Hill's customer service is nonexistent. I strongly urge people shopping for an artificial tree to buy one from a different company, one that cares about its customers.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 2:25PM
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We went with artificial several years ago. I'm just tooo allergic to them to keep getting them. This is ours. 9', 750 lights. Nice space at the bottom so there's room for packages.

I got it from Brad's Deals in July of 2012. It was a horrendous heatwave. The UPS guys got out of his truck and said "Really? REALLY? A Christmas tree?" haha

It was originally $278. I got it for.........$31!!!! Delivered.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 7:02PM
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Forgot to mention, it was from Lowes. Hmmm, or Home Depot? One of the two.

Here's a close up....

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 7:04PM
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I have probably had at least a dozen, or so. I usually have 2 trees each year.

The best one I ever had, shape and lights, purchased at Lowe's in 1990 to replace one from a high-end shop that lasted a week. (My DIL gave up on trees for her tall entryway after so many had burned-out lights, and asked to borrow the 1990 model. I let her borrow it in 2002. She still has it after 12 years). This, of all the trees she puts up, is her favorite for her entry because the shape is so nice and the needles don't glob or collapse. It is not Chinoiserie.

My favorites, at this time, came from Hobby Lobby and the lights are GE and have lasted 4 years. .

I have GE clear lights inside my book case and the strands burning now are at least 2 years old and have burned everyday without being unplugged since. I don't work for GE and I really, really do not like Jeffrey Immelt, so no endorsement for the company, just the lights.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2014 at 7:12PM
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I will have three trees this year, all artificial after one awful year we had a ruined floor from a leaking tree stand. Our library tree is so full of ornaments that it almost doesn't matter what the tree itself looks like as long as it is green, 9-10 ft tall and slim. When the lights start winking out, Handy Guy keeps an eye out for a suitable replacement and brings it down. The bedroom tree is "planted" in a nice urn and is only around 6.5 ft tall.

This summer I purchased a Frontgate tree at 20% off that will be shipped the second week of October. It has the appearance of an Alpine tree, but fuller, with natural pinecones and IIRC around 500 lights. It is 7.5 ft because the ceiling in the back room of our lower level is just 8.5 ft. We are going to try something new with this tree--- wire on all the ornaments, then wrap the tree in clean cotton sheets and store it fully decorated. I've never tried this before, as we carefully wrap each and every ornament on our other trees, even though most are unbreakable. I purchased all the ornaments over the summer and have no emotional investment in them at all, so I'm willing to take a chance by leaving them on the tree. (Does anyone else do that?)

    Bookmark   September 27, 2014 at 12:04AM
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kswl, I knew a lady that had a rather large house. She lived alone and kept her tree fully decorated and covered in her den. The only time she used the den was at Christmas when all her children and grandchildren came to visit. She loved not having to decorate the tree every year.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2014 at 7:29AM
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Lol, caminnc! That's one way to do it :/)

As Christmas crazy as I am I'm not ready to give up my library, but I seethe wisdom in leaving a tree decorated that doesn't have to be moved. That is really my only worry, that while the tree is being moved, ornaments would be broken or fall off and disappear into the lost property ether of this house. Downstairs at least it can be taken into the storage basement with no steps or great distance.

I really do enjoy unwrapping our family tree ornaments every year, remembering when we acquired them and generally reliving happy memories of Christmases past. But if I lose one or two a year of the collection I purchased in three months of power shopping, meh, not such a big deal.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2014 at 9:13AM
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kswl - an acquaintance of mine is married to the son of an international builder and they designed their current home with a special double closet in the family room. The closet is recessed into a paneled wall and can accommodate a 12' foot tree. The closet doors have invisible hinges and there is a panel above the closet doors that lifts up. Their Christmas tree is on large casters to allow for easy moving. She also puts up a live tree in the kitchen/sunroom area so that she can enjoy the aroma of real pine.

I think of her every year when I pull the boxes of holiday decorations out of the attic. How wonderful to have a dedicated space to store a fully decorated tree.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2014 at 12:03PM
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What a fantastic idea! We have a huge storage closet in our library with a 14 ft ceiling, but I am using it as the decorative accessory graveyard at the moment. If I could clear that out......god, what an idea!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2014 at 12:57PM
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Well there you just need to go through that graveyard.

If we build another home I told DH I would create a similar closet. He thought that would be a waste of prime space - but since we'd be downsizing at that point it wouldn't need to be as huge as my friend's.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2014 at 6:37PM
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With regard to Balsam Hill, Beware. I disregarded the negative reviews describing issues with customer service to my detriment. Immediately after pushing 'place order' I had second thoughts, it is a substantial investment for a Christmas tree. The cancellation notice (very fine print) on their site specifically states that the customer has 30 minutes to cancel. BUT when I called literally 5 minutes after placing order, I was told they could not cancel as my order was considered in process. I was adamant as it became glaringly clear that everything the reviewers had written about this company was true. I went through 3 levels of management all said, "they felt bad but the order was in process" and they flatly refused to cancel. I have reported this company and their dishonest, corrupt business practices. Despite all the glitter in my opinion, Balsam Hill is a very crooked company.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2014 at 8:54AM
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Update on the Christmas tree in our lower level! I posted these on a separate thread but am doing so again in case anyone is interested in what the 7.5' alpine tree from Grandinroad looks like fully decorated. It was very easy to assemble and is a very slim tree (which is why I bought it). The tree was about $240 on sale this past summer.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2014 at 9:29AM
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Don't know if anyone has mentioned this previously, but Hammacher Schlemmer offers a life time warranty - tree can be returned any time for any reason.

I bought a 5.5' pre-lit Noble fir about 4 yrs. ago from them, and we love it. As seniors, we just keep it in one piece, carry it to the basement and put a tree bag over it until next season. Then we just have to add the ornaments. We do raise ours a bit on a 12" platform. If we were younger and had a bigger living room, I would have gotten a larger one, but this is the perfect size now.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2014 at 11:48AM
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We have three trees. The kids' tree (a pre-lit 3 footer) is from Balsam Hill and we've had it for 3-4 years. It works well and we've had no issues with it.

The foyer tree is a slim pre-lit 7-footer that we got at Garden Ridge a couple years ago. It is great and was a bargain since we got it on a post-Xmas sale.

The main tree is an 8-footer from Costco, and we've had it for 17 years. It is NOT pre-lit, but that's okay - it has served us VERY well all these years and still looks brand new when we set it up. It's a very full tree and once we spread out the branches it is very hard to see that it is fake. It's nice and full and the pole is all but invisible.

I've debated getting a fourth tree (we have more than enough ornaments to go on four trees), but have decided to wait and get a pre-lit slim 8-foot tree when the kids have outgrown the need for their 3-foot tree in the TV room. I would then use the 3-footer elsewhere in the house, or give it away.

I love Christmastime - can't wait for Thanksgiving because that's the weekend we decorate the entire house for Christmas!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2014 at 2:25PM
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Thanks you so much for information,,,

Here is a link that might be useful: Kreasi Informasi

    Bookmark   November 9, 2014 at 1:15AM
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We are longtime artificial Christmas tree users, and our Balsam Hill tree is the most beautiful tree we've ever had! We've had visitors tell us that they thought it was a live tree until they got really close to it. We like it much better than Frontgate's trees.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2014 at 8:48AM
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We also use artificial christmas tree and i prefer Balsam hill trees over Frontgate's trees because our balsam tree is one of the most beautiful christmas tree u ever seen and mostly people think it was real........

    Bookmark   November 11, 2014 at 5:38AM
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I am debating whether I should buy an artificial tree from Balsam Hill or Tree Classics. Any suggestions? Also, do you think the trees will go on sale even mores after Christmas or no? They are already marked down. I'm new to the artificial tree world, so any advice is welcome. I am looking for the widest, fullest 9 foot tree.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2014 at 8:51AM
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Flag and pass along to the proper authorities ...

And I thought "PRO" status was something you earned.

Can anyone assign "PRO" to their title ?

    Bookmark   last Friday at 8:25PM
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