Thursday, December 20, 2012

O, Christmas Tree, Part 2

Viggo Johansen 1891
How did the Christmas tree make it to America?

We all love our Christmas trees. These days Christmas trees, ornaments, and decorations are a million dollar market, but decorated Christmas trees have their origins in Europe and can trace their roots to the 1500's.

Did you know?
The Douglas Fir and Scotch Pine are the two top best selling Christmas trees?

The earliest evidence of trees getting decorated for Christmas comes out of Latvia and Livonia between 1441-1510. Guild Halls would be decorated with sweets to be enjoyed by the apprentices and children.

In the early 1700's, spots of Germany had embraced decorating Christmas trees. European royalty began to accept the custom and when a picture of Queen Victoria with her family was taken for the "Illustrated London Daily," in 1846 Christmas trees were made popular with the general public.

The Christmas tree had a tough start in America.

The pilgrims settled in New England and brought their stoic traditions with them. The Puritans banned Christmas, wanting to get rid of the "pagan mockery" of the observance. Only a church service was allowed. Decorating a tree and singing carols were "heathen" traditions. The stern attitude continued until the early 1800's when the German and Irish immigration trends began to undermine the Puritan legacy.

As early as 1777, Christmas trees started to "peep" out in America. Hessian soldiers as POWs would put them up. Easton, PA, Lancaster, PA, and Wooster, OH were some of the early cities to embrace the custom. August Imgard in Wooster started putting candy canes on the trees in 1947, and we're still putting them on trees today.

Did you know?
Tinsel was created in Germany in 1610. It was made out of silver up until the mid-20th Century.

Early decoration included nuts, apples, paper baskets with almonds, along with popcorn and cranberries stringed together. Quilted snowflakes were also popular. Candles were also placed on Christmas trees symbolic of the stars at night when Jesus was born. (Imagine the fires! Thank goodness for electric lights.)

Did you know?
Since 1923 the US National Christmas tree has been lit on the south lawn of the White House.

Nowadays Christmas tree are a popular way to celebrate the holiday season.

Norway annually gifts a tree to Washington DC as a symbol of friendship between Norway and the US and in gratitude for the United States help during World War II.

Question: Do you have a real tree or an artificial one? Do you theme your tree? When do you put it up? A couple of days before 25 DEC or right after Thanksgiving?

Author Bio: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. Prior to that, she spent 11 years in the US Army, 7 overseas in Germany. She prefers to put a star on the top of her tree. Her 99 cent Christmas story, "Christmas in Bayeux" will take you to Bayeux, France to celebrate Christmas.

Christmas in Bayeux: 99 cent contemporary romance.

Blurb: Aiden travels to Bayeux, France to meet an old friend, Noel. Can she help heal his wounded heart?

Opening Line: A light dusting of snow covered the Renault's window.

4, 5 Star Amazon Reviews:
This was just a wonderful and heart warming read. - Markee Anderson



  1. One nice thing about having edible tree ornaments is that there's noting to put away when it's over--just finish eating what you missed while the tree was up. LOL
    I wouldn't mind going to France for Christmas. I like that the heroine's name is Noel. Congratulations on that super review.
    All the best to you, Stephamie. Have a wonderful holiday season.

  2. Steph, I read Christmas in Bayeux and enjoyed it a lot. Recently my Christmas tree is a tiny two-foot tree,very glittery with multicolored lights and a star on top. It sits on a side table in my living room and we'll put the grandchildren's presnt under the table and all around.

  3. I've always heard Prince Albert brought the Christmas tree tradition with him from Germany when he married Victoria. A cousin of mine still puts real candles on her real tree and lights them for short periods of time - beautiful! We cheat and have an artificial tree - no theme just ornaments we've collected over the last 30 years with lots of memories. Merry Christmas!

    Angela Britnell

  4. Always knew the Germans had a great start with Christmas trees...and tinsel!
    We tried a real tree a few times, but just didn't like the mess. So we've had artificial trees, and put it up soon after Thanksgiving. Ornaments from family and friends go on, plus extra special ones I find.
    Love decorating it and putting gifts and manger scene under the tree.
    Merry Christmas!

  5. I grew up with a real tree, and I do love it, but a fake one is so much easier!!! I also feel like it is less waste. I was always sad to see the discared trees on the side of the road, sometimes as soon as the day after Christmas. I like to put it up right after Thanksgiving and keep it up until Jan. 6th. I can't imagine having real candles either.

  6. It's been a long time since I had a real tree. The first year I got married 40 years ago, we got a fake tree and never had a real one since. I do love the aroma of a real tree, but we do have two real trees in front of our house to sniff if we want to capture the smell.

    Morgan Mandel

  7. I love learning the Christmas tree timeline. Thanks for sharing the information. I live in a national forest so having a real tree doesn't seem quite right.