Christmas – The Christmas Tree
Christmas has a long list of traditions. These vary between countries and cultures but essentially all of them have roots in our own celebrations.
The concept of the Christmas tree can be traced back to Ancient Romans and Egyptians, where the use of evergreens was symbolic. The Germans had a tradition of candlelit trees and this was first introduced to America in the 1800’s. German settlers first introduced Christmas trees to Pennsylvania in 1747, many Americans did not accept the use of Christmas trees and rather saw them as pagan symbols.
Queen Victoria and her German Prince Albert were very popular in 1846 and an illustration of them and their children gathered around a Christmas tree was published in the London News. Of course then, just like now, whatever the Royals did became fashionable and soon it was very chic to have a Christmas tree.
By the 1890’s the popularity of the Christmas tree reached new heights in Britain as well as America. While Europeans favored small trees, about 4 feet high, Americas believed in the bigger the better.
Early trees were mainly decorated with homemade ornaments made by children and adults as well. Different fruits and nuts were strung on trees as well as popcorn , painstakingly threaded to make strings. Candles were widely used until electricity became more prevalent. This made Christmas tree lights the hot item. It was embraced quickly and many town squares erected Christmas trees decorated and lit with a multicolor of lights. So of course having a decorated tree in your home became an American tradition.
At Rockefeller center the lighting of the Christmas tree became a tradition during the Depression Era. It was meant to cheer and give hope. Thousands gathered to see the lighting of the tree. The tallest tree at Rockefeller Center arrived in 1948 and measured 100 feet tall, while the first tree there was in 1931. It was said to have been placed there by some construction workers, unadorned and placed in the center of their work site, in later years the tradition continued, adding decorations and lights. Today the giant tree boasts over 25,000 lights.
Christmas Tree traditions around the world:
- It is interesting to note that in Greenland, their trees are imported as it is too cold for trees to grow.
- In Britain the Norway Spruce is the traditional Christmas tree as it is a native species.
- In Germany many trees are decorated secretly by the parents and then revealed Christmas Eve with treats of cookies, oranges and sweets.
- A small percentage of Chinese celebrate Christmas and mainly artificial trees are used.
- In Japan Christmas is a secular holiday for the love of their children. Trees are adorned with paper ornaments, small toys and origami.
- In the Philippines trees are too expensive, so homemade trees are a matter of necessity. They are constructed of bamboo sticks and covered in brightly colored rice paper.
- In Norway, as in Germany the trees are decorated by the parents while the children anxiously wait. They have a tradition of circling the tree when the tree is revealed, joining hands to form a circle while singing Christmas songs
Today around 40 million trees are cut each year in North America just so we can celebrate and decorate! Another multi million dollar industry directly related to Christmas. In the 1930’s all Christmas trees were from native stands, later leading to the cultivation of pine, spruce and fir trees grown specifically for Christmas. Canada’s top three producers are Quebec, Nova Scotia and Ontario.
In the United States there are approximately 25-30 million trees sold each year and approximately 350 million Christmas trees growing in the United States. The people employed directly related to Christmas tree production surpasses 100,00 people. It can take as many as fifteen years to grow a six foot tree.
Lessons from a Christmas Tree
Share your gifts
Bring Joy to others
Be a light in the darkness
We all fall over some times
You were born to sparkle..
Even if your garland is a little droopy
It’s okay to be a little tilted !~Jane Lee Logan