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Monday, December 24, 2012

Everything You Wanted to Know about Christmas Trees But Were Afraid to Ask

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Christmas Trees But Were Afraid To Ask

It’s that most wonderful time of year when Christmas festivities and decorations fill our lives. For over a century the Christmas tree has been a symbol of the holiday season. How did it come to be such an unmistakable symbol of Christmas? Well, settle back. I’m here to tell you.

Here’s a brief history of the Christmas tree. I hope you enjoy it.

3000 B.C.-Ancient Egyptians revered Evergreens because they represented life’s victory over death. The Egyptians would bring boughs into their homes during the Winter Solstice.

600 A.D.--St. Boniface used the Fir tree as a symbol of Christianity. Some believe he chose the Fir because its triangular shape symbolized the Holy Trinity.

1100-Christians began to hang Firs upside-down from their ceilings at Christmastime.

1510-The first “proper” Christmas tree was displayed at Town Hall Square in Riga, Latvia, and was believed to have been decorated with paper flowers.

1521-Germany popularized the Christmas tree and used Pine trees in Christmas celebrations. Decorations were hung from the trees, as well as fruits and nuts for the children to eat on Christmas Day.

1610-Ultra-thin strips of silver were manufactured for decorating Christmas trees. These strips were called tinsel.

1747-Bethlehem, PA, claimed to have had the first Christmas tree in the United States.

Early 1800’s-Popularity of the Christmas tree spread throughout Europe and was recognized by the Catholic Church.

1846-Queen Victoria popularized the Christmas tree in England and the U.S. East Coast after appearing in a news illustration posed next to one.

1850-Glass ornaments were manufactured to decorate Christmas trees, and quickly became fashionable, as well as a status symbol.

1880-Artifical Christmas trees were introduced in the U.S. and Germany to combat the damage and depletion of Fir and Pine trees.

1880-Woolworth began importing and selling Christmas trees to the American public.

1882-Inventions like electric lights and metal hooks for ornaments were introduced.

1930-Decorations for Christmas trees became more elaborate, and themed trees became popularized.

1950-The “Silver Tree” was released in America and designed to reflect light from a light source beneath the tree.

1980-Present-Artificial Christmas trees have become more realistic, some now come with lights, and sprays are available to mimic the scent of real Evergreens.


 Tree at Rockefeller Center, 2010


Tina Donahue said...

Fascinating blog. Loved the photo. :)

Harlie Reader said...

Great post Cari! I'm sooooo allergic to real Christmas trees but I love the smell of pine. *sigh*

Merry Christmas!


Cara Marsi said...

Thank you, Tina and Marika. And, Marika, I'm sorry you're allergic to real trees, but there are so many lifelike artificial ones now.

Aileen Fish said...

It's so odd to think they haven't always been the tradition!

Cara Marsi said...

Thanks for commenting, Aileen. True. Christmas trees are so much a part of Christmas now so it's hard to believe they weren't always.

jean hart stewart said...

Interesting... I had no idea the tradition went back quite that far...

Judythe Morgan said...

Our local paper had a Christmas tree article today and said a lady here in Houston came up with the idea of hanging her tree upside down. Duh, someone didn't do their research. Glad to know the "real" date. Great blog, Cara. Happy Holidays.

Marianne Stephens said...

Thanks for all the information about Christmas Trees - some are new facts I didn't know!
Merry Christmas!

Sandy said...

Cara, your post is very interesting. It's always nice to learn something new. Your photo of the tree in Rockerfeller Center brought back special memories of all my trips to Manhattan during the Christmas season.

BonSue Brandvik said...

Cara - Thanks for the interesting information. I learned some new factoids! I heard our forefathers used fir trees because they pointed to heaven and the German Victorians lit them with candles so relatives could look down and see you at Christmas time. It's fun to speculate!

Cara Marsi said...

Thanks for commenting, everyone. It's fun to learn new facts about our traditions.

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