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Customer Review

on December 7, 2012
We get a very large real Christmas tree every year, and I have been searching for an attractive star for the top ever since I accidentally broke our beautiful (and discontinued) Loominocity spun glass lit star a few years ago. We are very traditional when it comes to our Christmas tree; we think artificial trees look like toilet brushes and I doubt we will ever have one. For the top of the tree, we like a lit star. Not an angel, not Yoda, not Santa; a lit star. Period. After several cheap and unsatisfyiing attempts at replacing our beautiful heirloom-quality glass star, I bought this GKI Bethlehem Christmas tree star. And it's pretty good.

On the plus side, I was concerned that it would look cheap because of its plastic construction. I am pleased to say that it does not looks cheap at all. The changing LED light source within is not tacky or distracting. It emits a warm glow that changes color every few seconds. It's quite nice. We have become big fans of LED lighting for our tree. We've been using the same LED light strands for 3 years and we haven't lost a single bulb. And LED emits a warm, sufficiently bright light. The bulbs themselves look very traditional, even old-fashioned (in a good way). Now the star emits the same kind of warm light as our tree lights. The best thing about LED lights is that they consume much less power than regular incandescents because LED lights never get hot, so more strands can be safely plugged into the same outlet without creating a lot of heat to dry out the tree or, worse, start a fire. Even after being "on" for several hours, our LED Christmas lights are cool to the touch. And now our star has the same qualities.

We buy the same type of tree every year from a local nursery--a Grand Fir a bit under 9 feet tall. It's a big tree that looks great in our living room. Over the years, we have tried many different kinds of tree including Douglas Fir (lasts a long time, but branches are too flimsy to hold ornaments), Frasier Fir (beautiful and long-lasting, but branches tend to be too sparse in spots, leaving noticeable "holes"), Scotch Pine (the least expensive, but the branches are very sparse throughout, and the needles are short and prickly; on the other hand, Cary Grant magically decorated a Scotch Pine with a wave of his hands when he played an angel in The Bishop's Wife--I TOLD you we are traditional), Noble Fir (super-expensive and they are SO full and perfectly-shaped that there's no room to hang ornaments), but we always come back to the Grand Fir, which has that perfect shape but leaves enough room for ornaments. And the Grand Fir is more pleasantly fragrant than any other variety except maybe the Douglas.

Back to the review. On the minus side, it's just a hair too small for my tree; it's ideal for one 6-7 1/2 feet tall and it still looks fine on a larger tree. On a 9-footer, it's sort of like Zippy the Pinhead or Beetlejuice from the Howard Stern show. I'm kidding; it's not that bad. And I think this star will be perfectly-sized for the majority of homes.

The complex but firm mechanism that attaches the star to the tree has both pros and cons. There is a hollow opening under the star that can be used to fit, like a helmet, over the top branch. I think this opening is too narrow to fit most tree tops. I pruned our treetop quite a bit and still couldn't slide the helmet mechanism onto the top branch. But the manufacturer includes a very solid backup. There is a large, spring-loaded clamp that grips the trunk about 20 inches below the tree top. This method of attaching the star is very solid, but it requires you to move and bend a lot of the branches near the top of the tree. If you're not careful, you could really ruin your tree doing this. There is a thick but pliable wire column between the clamp and the star that enables you to make the star sit straight even if the trunk itself is crooked, which happens often near the top of large trees. The wire column is covered in deep green plastic, so it is invisible once you decorate the tree.

On the whole, this 3-dimensional star looks very nice. We used it in 2012 without any problems, and we hope to keep using it for years to come, unless I come across a larger glass star. I'd give it 3.5 stars, but Amazon does not permit fractions, so I'll go ahead and give it four stars. What the heck, it's Christmas.
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