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Christmas Tree Traditions

By Marilyn Pokorney

Modern day Christmas trees originated in the 19th century

Britain by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. During the

Victorian era trees were the focus of celebration and were

decorated with toys, cakes, bonbons and other sweet treats.

Young women in the households made decorations from paper,

silk, feathers, and lace to hold the treats.

After 1865 glass trinkets, wire ornaments were began in


By the 1880's Woolworth's sold commercially produced Xmas

tree ornaments.

In the early years real silver tinsel was used for Christmas

decorating and the modern version was began in the 1950's.

Spiders are sometime given credit for building webs in trees

which sparkled in the morning dew and sunlight which

inspired the invention of tinsel.

In America fake trees gained popularity early in the

twentieth century but not in Britain until the 1950's. While

plastic and aluminum were the trees of choice in America,

the UK had a penchant for feather trees in the 1920's which

quickly disappeared by the 1930's.

Originally in Victorian times candles were used for lights

on trees. The invention of electricity brought fairy lights

to America in the mid 1880's. By the 1920's candles were

rarely used.

President Franklin Pierce brought the first Christmas tree

in the White House during the mid-1850's. President Calvin

Coolidge started the National Christmas Tree Lighting

Ceremony on the White House lawn in 1923.

The fairy at the top of the Christmas tree was originally a

little figure of the baby Jesus.

Christmas tree farms originated during the depression.

Nurserymen found that they could make a profit by cutting

evergreens for Christmas trees when they couldn't sell them

for landscaping.

But all Christmas trees were not started as a symbol of


The Egyptians, Romans, Druids, and other cultures regarded

the tree as a symbol of life. They brought green branches

into their homes on the Winter Solstice as a symbol of

life's triumph over death.

Druid priests decorated oak trees with golden apples for

their winter solstice agricultural festivities.

In the middle ages, evergreen trees were decorated with red

apples on December 24 as the symbol of the Feast of Adam and


Even today, Christmas trees are unique to individual


In Brazil where Christmas occurs during the summer, pine

trees are decorated with little pieces of cotton to

represent falling snow.

In Greenland Christmas trees have to be imported because no

trees live this far north.

In South Africa, Christmas is a summer holiday. Instead of

trees, windows are often draped with sparkling cotton, wool,

and tinsel.

And in the Ukraine a Christmas tree is not complete unless

it has a spider and web for good luck.

Copyright: 2005 Marilyn Pokorney

About The Author
Marilyn Pokorney

Freelance writer of science, nature, animals and the environment.

Also loves crafts, gardening, and reading.



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