The Best Deals for Holiday Decorating

The holidays are upon us and that means it's time for holiday decorations and accessories.

Americans spend more than $1 billion a year on lights, Christmas trees, and other ornaments for the season.

"Good Morning America" visited the Good Housekeeping Research Institute to find out about the holiday's best products and how consumers can get the most for their money.

Putting Up the Tree

One of the most labor-intensive holiday tasks is getting the Christmas tree onto its stand.

The Good Housekeeping Research Institute's engineering department evaluated five Christmas tree stands and found that one outshone all the rest -- the $50 Krinner Christmas Tree Genie L.

The genie required no assembly and made it easy for one person to install and straighten a Christmas tree.

Keeping the Tree Evergreen

Once the tree is in the stand, it has to be kept watered.

The Good Housekeeping Research Institute looked at three Christmas tree watering systems, which can help replenish the water supply of a Christmas tree stand.

The institute recommends one Christmas tree watering system -- the $19.99 evergreen tree watering system, square version, which looks like a gift box.

Energy-Efficient Lights

With energy prices so high, many people are looking to cut back on bills.

To find out whether energy-efficient holiday lights can keep costs down, the Good Housekeeping Research Institute tested five brands against a traditional set.

It found that the energy-efficient strands, or LED lights, used 85 percent to 90 percent less power than the standard ones.

LED lights are safe for use indoors or outdoors. However, compared to classic bulbs, their illumination is brighter and not as creamy, so outdoor use may be best.

Good Housekeeping recommends the Holiday Home Accents LED Faceted set sold at Home Depot, which had the best price of the brands we tested.

The lights cost $7 for 50 bulbs.

Ripping Presents Open

Many people have problems getting the plastic package off CDs and DVDs.

The Good Housekeeping Research Institute's engineering department tested a variety of CD/DVD plastic-packaging openers for ease of use, performance, safety, and durability.

The $2.25 EZ CD/DVD combo opener from Mac Tec products performed the best. It effectively cut the plastic shrink-wrap and adhesive packaging of CDs and DVDs.

The engineers loved the one-two-three results, but found a flaw in the tool's instructions.

You're told to "cut along the spine of your product," but if you do that to a DVD package, where the title is printed, you'll slash right through the jacket.

We alerted the company to the problem, and a representative amended the instructions. If you come across an old version, watch out.

Gift Wrapping Made Easy

Before opening presents, you usually have to wrap some.

Reversible wrapping paper can make this holiday task easier. The Good Housekeeping Research Institute recommends 3M Scotch Reversible Gift Wrap, which retails for $3.99 a roll.

The reversible paper offers versatility with no bleed-through of design from one side to the other. It can eliminate the popular kids' question, "Why are Santa's presents wrapped in the same paper as yours?"

Bags for Big Gifts

For those who don't want to wrap all their presents, gift bags are a great solution.

The Good Housekeeping Research Institute recommends American Greetings Jumbo Gift Bags, which sell for $4.99 each. The jumbo gift bags were large enough to cover a garment on a hanger and could hide a bicycle.

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