Let me begin by saying that I have never been a fan of artificial Christmas trees and I have not had one as our main tree since I was little. That all changed though when I saw the trees that they had at Frontgate. They are the most beautiful, natural, life-like trees I have ever seen but unfortunately, they also come with a rather large price tag as well.
The houses I have lived in for most of my adult life have never had ceilings that were taller than 9 feet so a 6-7 foot Fraser Fir was always the perfect sized tree for us. Earlier this year though we moved to a house with high ceilings and the 2 rooms we considered using for our tree have ceilings that are 14 feet or taller. We knew a 6-7foot tree would look way too small so we needed to go 9 feet or larger for the best look. A real 9 foot Fraser Fir runs about $75.00-$100.00 so we thought maybe it was time to consider investing in an artificial one instead.
When we first started looking at Frongate, my husband signed up on their web site which is Frontgate.com. He noticed that they started sending him emails about sales they were having and coupon offers as well. We watched and waited for the trees to be available on theweb site which happened towards the end of September. They went on sale shortly after they arrived online and they sent him a coupon to use as well. We also were lucky enough to get a gift card from another source so it was the perfect combination of deals that lead us to purchase our tree from them.
Frontagate offers several different styles and species of trees and those come in different sizes as well. The one I fell in love with was the 9 foot Snow Balsam. The tree is slightly flocked on the tips and looks as though it was covered in a light dusting of snow.
The tree is extremely well constructed and comes in 4 parts. It has extra heavy branch wires that hold my heaviest ornaments and they can be bent in any direction to alter the shape of the tree or to accommodate an ornament to hang in a specific spot. The tree has more than 3, 000 tips in different lengths that were molded from from actual trees so it looks incredibly real and they are bendable as well so you can really spread them out and make the tree look full. There is also not a single piece of the frame of the tree that is not covered in a tree like material so there is no bare wire showing. One of the most exciting features of the tree is that it comes pre-lighted with 1, 900 commercial quality 3, 000 hour clear lights that are wrapped around each of the branches. I have always been a branch wrapper myself and this process used to take me hours to do on a real tree so it is really nice to have the professional look without having to do the work myself. It comes complete with a wire stand, it's own power strip and a remote control so you can turn it on and off with just the push of a button.
The tree took my husband and I about 1 1/2 hours to assemble it and do the first fluffing of the branches and the tips. I did additional fluffing of it as I was decorating it to make it work around my ornaments. We had one small issue with the stand when we were putting it together so we called the customer service number and they resolved the problem right while we were on the phone to our complete satisfaction.
The tree is taller and skinner than trees that I am used to in the past but it is absolutely beautiful and we are extremely please with it.
Update On Jul 01, 2010: Frontgate normally adds the Christmas decor to the web site in September. These trees usually sell out so if you are interested in getting one for Christmas this year, you may want to keep an eye on the website soon or sign up for email alerts from them so you don't miss out.
Update On Nov 14, 2010: While shopping on the Frontgate web site today, I noticed they have this tree again in stock this year but they have changed the name of it. The new name of the tree is the Snow Douglas Christmas Tree. The price on it is the same as last year.
Update On Nov 21, 2010: Well, we decided to get out the tree and put it up today. I am happy to announce that it came out in excellent condition and we only lost a few needles along the way. It took about 10 minutes to reassemble the 4 parts and get all the lights plugged in. We did have 2 branches that did not light up, so we had to investigate why. It turns out that one of the bulbs had shattered and that was what was causing it. Once we replaced the bulb, they all were in perfect working order. Fluffing the branches took about 20 minutes to get them where I want before I start to add the decorations. All told, we had the tree up, lit and ready for decorations in under an hour. With a real tree, it took me several hours just to add all the lights not to mention the time we wasted going from tree lot to tree lot looking for the perfect one. What a great time saver and it is still the most beautiful artificial tree I have seen. We love our tree.