The Christmas tree is a decorated tree commonly seen during the Xmas season starting sometimes early November and going all the way to late December. I have very fond memories of getting the Xmas decorations out and putting up the tree before the big day. Even if the tree is small, plastic or even ceramic most kids love doing it! I’m sure many people around the world feel the same. Although I have not always known the true origins of Xmas trees, for me and my family it was and continues to be a remembrance of a special time that Christians celebrate. This website is a dedication to the Xmas tree. Here I will educate you and myself on every aspect of this decoration item which so many has known to relate to Xmas for hundreds of years.
When it comes to using real trees, the type used is usually an evergreen conifer such as pine, fir, or spruce. The Christmas tree in use today were originally introduced by Germans during the second half of the 19th Century as they became popular among the upper-class people who lived beyond the Lutheran areas of Germany.
Traditionally, Xmas trees were decorated with roses made of colored papers, sweetmeats, apples, wafers, tinsel, and other unconventional materials. During the 18th century, it was illuminated by candles which then went on to be replaced by Xmas lights after electricity was available in most households. Today, various types of shiny and colorful ornaments such as candy canes, garlands, baubles, and tinsels are used to decorate Christmas trees.
What follows is a brief history of this well-known tradition. For an in depth look into the history of Christmas trees watch the YouTube video I added below the following paragraph.
Long before the age of Christianity, the Northern Hemisphere settlers used evergreen plants to adorn their homes, particularly their doors, so as to celebrate solstice (December 21 or 22), which is normally when the night is longest and the day shortest. In the past, this time of the year was viewed as the time the sun god regained his strength after being weakened during the winter and evergreen plants were used to show that the sun god would once again glow and summer is soon coming.
The Solstice was commonly celebrated by Egyptians who used green palm rushes to adorn their homes so as to honor the sun god, Ra. The Celts in the Northern part of Europe used evergreen boughs so as to decorate their druid temples so as to signify everlasting life. The Vikings in the North thought the evergreen plants belonged to Balder, who was the god of peace and light. Traditional Romans celebrated Solstice with a feast known as Saturnalia, which was thrown so as to honor Saturn, the god of agriculture, and just like the Celts, they decorated their temples and homes with evergreen boughs. However, today most Xmas tree celebrations are meant as simple ornaments or decorations to celebrate a wonderful time for Christians and the world alike.
Balsam Fir: This is the traditional Christmas tree. It is tall and slender with 1/2 inch long needles. Read more about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abies_balsamea
Douglas Fir: The Douglas Fir tree is one of the best-selling in the US. It is full and elegant and mainly used in rooms that are big. Its needles are longer than the Balsam and they radiate in all directions from the branch.
Fraser Fir: Fraser trees are perfectly shaped with good needle retention. Its needles are dark green on top and silver underneath. The branches turn slightly upward. Its needles range from 1/2 inch to 2/3 inch long and normally have a pleasant aroma. You’ll find more information here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraser_fir
Scotch Pine: This tree is probably the best and most popular Xmas tree and also the best-selling in the US. Its branches curve upward making them well suited for holding cherished ornaments. It can stay fresh for quite some time with no needles dropping even when the tree dries out. More information can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scots_pine
Leyland Cypress: This tree is mainly popular in the Southeast. It is dark grayish green and has a very little aroma. It will last for a long time when kept in water and it doesn’t shed its needles or produce sap. Here’s the official Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leyland_cypress
Alternative types available on the market
Sometimes an artificial tree of similar appearance is used which can be made from plastic, ceramic clay, aluminum, wood and many other materials. Here are some of the alternatives we will discuss on this website.
Ceramic Christmas Trees
These decorative items are by far my small sizes favorite for the holiday season. They can be stored, collected, redone, painted and much more. I’ve listed over 13 of them which should help make your holiday shopping a bit easier this year. See my page on the Ceramic Christmas Tree.
Some Global Facts
– In the US, 58% of Christmas trees used are artificial and 42% are real, while in the UK, 66.6% are artificial and 33.3% are real trees.
– For every Xmas tree that is harvested, 3 more are planted in its place. Each year, the US grows approximately 20.8 million Christmas trees, Germany grows 19 million, France grows 9.2 million, and the UK 4.4 million.
– Using electric lights on Xmas trees was first suggested by Edward Johnson, who was the assistant to Thomas Edison, in 1882.
– Some of the most famous Xmas trees include the Saint Peter’s Square tree in Rome, the Rockefeller Center tree in the US, the Trafalgar Square tree in the UK, and the White House tree in the US.
– 98% of trees bought worldwide are grown from tree farms while the other 2% are cut from the wild.
– In 1901, the world’s first Christmas tree farm was sown in New Jersey, USA.