According to www.whychristmas.com, the evergreen fir tree has traditionally been used to celebrate winter festivals (pagan and Christian) for thousands of years. Pagans used branches of it to decorate their homes during the winter solstice, as it made them think of the spring to come. The Romans used fir trees to decorate their temples at the festival of Saturnalia. Christians use it as a sign of everlasting life with God. While nobody is really sure when fir trees were first used as Christmas trees, it probably began about 1,000 years ago in northern Europe
Fires from candles (the traditional way to light the Christmas tree) raised considerable fire hazards. The first electric Christmas tree lights appeared in 1895. This was 10 years after the great Chicago fire, reportedly started by a Christmas tree’s candles.
There is a record noted in Germany for chopping down the most Christmas trees in less than 30 minutes. Thank goodness, we chop them at our local Christmas tree farms one at a time!
The artificial version of the Christmas tree began in the early 1900s. White trees and ostrich feather trees were very fashionable and, of course, the silver with rotating lamps hit us in the 1950s. Now, each year brings more authentic looking trees into some homes but the real deal Christmas trees purchased and stacked on our cars and tied tightly for the cold trip home reigns supreme in our hearts and homes throughout the Capital Region.
What is the tallest recorded Christmas tree? Well, it was 170.6 feet high. It was called the “Peace Tree” and was designed by Grupo Sonae Distribuição Brasil.
The biggest day for putting up the Christmas tree in our home is apparently the Sunday after Thanksgiving. While some still hold on to the tradition of selecting and putting up the family tree on Christmas Eve, that tradition seems to have fallen away over the years.
Tree toppers come in all shapes and sizes, from the more traditional stars and angels to feather ornaments of all shapes and sizes. As the tradition of Christmas trees, tree toppers and ornaments became widespread, the countries of the world added their own twists on decorations. Americans, for example, would string long strands of cranberries or popcorn as a family holiday tradition. Americans also began baking ornaments as a family holiday custom as well. They are fun to make, whatever the age, and they harden very fast for painting or glittering.
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup salt
1 1⁄2 cups water
• Preheat oven to 300 F (150 C).
• Combine the flour, salt and water; mix well and knead for 10 minutes. Roll out on a lightly floured surface.
• Cut into desired shapes and make holes for hanging. Bake for 30 minutes; allow to cool.
• Decorate with poster paints or glitter. Allow to dry and spray with clear polyurethane on both sides to preserve. Use ribbon or yarn pieces to hang.