The Christmas tree is a decorated tree commonly seen during the Xmas season starting as early as October, November going through to December. I have very fond memories of getting our family’s Xmas decorations out and putting up the tree before the big day. Also, don’t forget about having a big family get together or a Christmas party! Whether the tree is small, plastic or even ceramic, kids will love doing it! I’m sure many people around the world feel the same.
Although I have not always known the true origin of Xmas trees, for me and my family it was and continues to be a remembrance of a special time that Christians celebrate. 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 electric lights after electricity was available in most households.
Today, various types of shiny and colorful ornaments such as stockings, candy canes, garlands, baubles, Christmas blow molds, and tinsels are used to decorate trees.
Christmas, Christmas tree, decorations and more!
Seeing as my blog is all about Christmas and Christmas trees I thought it would be best to give you a quick introduction about them on this page. Below you’ll find a short history lesson, learn about the various tree types, alternatives on the market, global facts and more.
Be sure to read my blog for various decoration tips, ideas, tree guides and see the reviews section in the menu bar.
The history of Christmas
Let’s take a look at 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.
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). This 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. Evergreen plants were used to show that the sun god would once again glow and summer come again.
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 to decorate their druid temples and 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. 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.
Different types of Christmas trees used today
Balsam Fir: This is the traditional tree that is tall and slender with 1/2 inch long needles.
Douglas Fir: The Douglas Fir is one of the best-selling trees in the United States. It is 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. Needles range from 1/2 inch to 2/3 inch long and normally have a pleasant aroma. The Fraser Fir is among some of the most popular Christmas trees due to its shape, smell, and touch. The tree was named after John Fraser and it can reach heights of up to 80 feet which would take approximately 12 years to grow. Fir trees go all the back to the 16th century and were part of a play depicting the story of the first man, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
Scotch Pine: This is probably the best-selling tree 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.
Leyland Cypress: This tree is mainly popular in the Southeast. It is dark grayish-green and has very little aroma. It will last for a long time when kept in water and it doesn’t shed its needles or produce sap.
See a few more variations in the video below:
Christmas tree farms
All across the United States and over the world, Christmas trees are grown on Christmas Tree Farms. Selecting a tree for your holiday season is a real treat for the whole family! Normally, people can visit a farm and select a tree from an extensive selection and even cut it down by hand. These farms are run by real people whose goal is to bring the Christmas cheers for families every year. What an amazing job!
Alternative types of Xmas trees available on the market
Often artificial trees that look similar to a real tree are used for festivities and decoration. I’m not going to go into details pertaining to which is best right now. I might be that cleaning is easier and costs are lower for artificial Xmas trees. Everyone has their own reasons.
Rather I can tell you that artificial versions are made from plastic, ceramic clay, wood, a few other random materials and you can even get an aluminum Christmas tree.
Ceramic Christmas Trees
One type worth mentioning individually is ceramic Christmas trees. These decorative items are by far my small size favorite for the holiday season. They can be stored, collected, redone, painted, fixed and even hand down from generation to generation. I’ve listed over a bunch of them which should help make your holiday shopping a bit easier this year.
Be sure to visit my Ceramic Christmas Tree guide and lighting & accessories.
Global Xmas tree facts
This wouldn’t be a proper Christmas tree facts page without a few worldwide statistics.
– In the United States, 58% of Christmas trees used are artificial and 42% are real. In the United Kingdom, 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 United States grows approximately 20.8 million Christmas trees, Germany grows 19 million, France grows 9.2 million, and the United Kingdom 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 in the world 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.
What is the difference between Xmas & Christmas?
This might be a strange question to ask, but I thought Xmas fans would enjoy this weird fact. Which one do you prefer to type or say?
Did you know there’s a difference between the two?
Christmas is derived from the word Christ and mass. Xmas, on the other hand, has a different meaning. The X stands for the Greek letter “chi”, which is the first letter in the Greek word for Christ. Maesse comes from the Old English word for “mass’. The two together make the abbreviation “Xmas”.
This is considered to be an informal form of Christmas but has since been used since the year 1100, but it was originally written as “Xpes maesse”.
During the mid 18th century, it started being said as “Xmas”. Christians don’t like the use of the abbreviation because it takes out the word “Christ”.
It’s mainly used because it’s more compact. Most people today don’t really have an opinion about how it is spelled. All they care about is the meaning and what Christmas represents.