The Christmas Tree History Varies Depending Where You Live
The most common belief is that Christmas trees first began in Germany. It is believed as far back as 1605 Strasbourg had fir trees decorated with papers, candies and fruit.
From there the tradition was thought to spread through the country and then to Finland, Denmark and Sweden and throughout Europe by the end of the 19th century.
In England, Prince Albert put up the first Christmas Tree in 1941.
Many people believe Christmas trees first began in Pagan ceremonies. As Christianity grew festivals involved trees showing new life as in Jesus.
In another story it was Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant Church, who began decorating trees.
In Russia, it is said to have begun there in the 16th century.
In the United States, Christmas trees first began in the 1800s with it being common by the end of the century.
Varieties of Christmas Trees
There are a number of different trees used to celebrate the Christmas season. Cedar trees were very popular, but caught fire easily. So a switch to evergreen trees soon took place.
Pines, Spruces and Fir trees are the most popular used today.
The Balsam Fir grows in the northeastern United States and is what is considered the most popular. It has the perfect cone shape and very rigid branches.
The Douglas Fir is popular in the Pacific Northwest. It smells strong and has very bright, small straight bristles.
The Virginia Pine is the favorite in the south. It is the sturdiest of the evergreens with twisted needles and lasts a long time.
Others include a White Pine, a Red Pine, a Red Spruce and a Norway Spruce.
How to Choose a Great Christmas Tree
Before you leave to pick out a tree, be sure to measure the ceiling to see how high it is and the space you have for the tree. The tree needs to be at least 6 inches lower than the ceiling. Possible more depending on the decoration you plan to put on top.
It’s considered best to buy the tree a week before the holiday if you want it to still look perfect on Christmas Day. Some trees, such as the White Pine will only last a week indoors.
Whenever you do choose to buy the tree, there are a few tips to follow.
Check to see that it is a bright green with no drying or yellowing. Take one needle and bend it your finger. If it snaps back without breaking it is fresh. If it’s brittle, it’s too old and won’t last.
Next shake the tree. If a lot of bristles fall it’s not a good tree. Some needles should fall, but outside ones should be fine.
Lastly look at the stump. If it’s wet, it’s fresh and will last/
Caring for the Tree
Once you get it home, put it in a pot. Keep it wet, but don’t drown it. Cut across the trunk 2′ from the end and put it back in the pot for one day if possible.
When putting the tree up, keep in a container that can hold water. Be sure to check its water every few days. It needs to sit in at least two cups of water daily.
If you plan to replant it be sure to pack it in straw after the holiday and keep it cool until thawed.
If you follow these tips, this year your Christmas Tree may be the best one ever.