10 Interesting Facts About Christmas Trees

April 21, 2016

Ahhh....the lovely sparkling lights, the delicious smell of a freshly cut evergreen and the decorations that adorn it are what make Christmas, well....Christmas!. Every decoration used has a story, a history that has been cemented in your family tree for generations. But what of the Christmas tree itself? Who was the first person to think of bringing a tree inside their home? Why a tree? How has it evolved throughout time?  Let's take a look at the history of the Christmas tree and what it all means.

1. Evergreen trees were used WAY before the birth of Jesus to celebrate the winter solstice.

2. The first decorated tree was in Latvia in 1510, but was first spoken about in print in Germany in 1531. Legend does state that the first person to decorate a tree was the Protestant reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546). He was so moved by the stars shining through the branches of a fir tree that he cut one down and brought it home, decorating it with candles for his children to enjoy.

3. With the dawn of electricity, candles were no longer used to light the tree, instead Christmas tree lights were mass produced as far back as 1890.
4. Trees were originally decorated with food: mostly nuts and berries, apples and even cookies. Handmade ornaments began as late as the (early) 20th century in America. Manufactured ornaments were first sold by Woolworths in 1880.

5. Gift giving was practiced with small tokens; food, coins etc to celebrate the winter solstice long before Christianity, but the common explanation for giving gifts was to celebrate the birth of Jesus and the gifts given to him on the holy day (holiday), which consisted of Frankincense, Gold and Myrrh.
6. The song 'O Tannenbaum' (English version is 'O Christmas Tree') is a German song written in 1824 by Ernst Anschutz and had nothing to do with Christmas or Christmas trees. It was about an evergreen's symbol of constancy and faithfulness. The lyrics were eventually changed in the 20th Century into the English Christmas carol version we know today.

7. In 17th and 18th century Germany, it was very common to hang the tree from the ceiling, to keep the gifts and decorations away from little hands and prying eyes. It was also quite common to hang the tree upside down, as pointing the roots to heaven was believed to give it a 'divine power'. Today, hanging a tree upside down can be seen as 'anti-Christmas' by some.
8. Tinsel used to be made from lead, therefore leading the FDA to ban it in 1972 due to its potential adverse side effects. Today, tinsel is made from plastic which does not hang as nicely as its heavy metal cousin did.

9. Some of the first artificial Christmas trees were manufactured by the Addis Brush Company, who were well known at the time for their toilet bowl brushes.

10. Around 36 million trees are sold every year in the United States alone. For every one harvested tree, three seeds are planted for the next crop, which takes an average of 7 years to grow into mature trees.
And there you have it folks! Hopefully you learned something you didn't already know. All I know is that the Christmas tree is my favorite part about the holiday season. It instantly makes me feel festive and cozy to cuddle up under a blanket to watch a couple of my favorite holiday movies, with the tree sparkling in the background.

What do you love about your tree and what traditions have you created surrounding it?

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All info taken from these sites:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/christmas-traditions-why-do-we-give-gifts-at-christmas-1.2856800
http://www.history.com/topics/christmas/history-of-christmas-trees
http://extension.illinois.edu/trees/facts.cfm
http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/top10facts/365831/Top-10-facts-about-Christmas-trees
http://facts.randomhistory.com/christmas-facts.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O_Tannenbaum
http://mentalfloss.com/article/71868/11-facts-you-might-not-know-about-christmas-trees
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tinsel
http://thefw.com/christmas-facts/
http://oklahoma4h.okstate.edu/aitc/lessons/extras/facts/cmastree.html

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