Since it is the Christmas season we are laden with different traditions that we repeat annually, but sometimes don’t know why. That go me to wondering, “Why the Christmas tree?”
It was believed that evergreen trees were believed to keep away witches, evil spirits, ghosts and illness. Believed to have been brought to this country by German settlers in the 1830s to Pennsylvania. Earlier, the Puritans felt Christmas should be free of pagan symbols like the Christmas tree. Oliver Cromwell preached against “the heathen traditions.”
However, by the 1890s trees gained in popularity and ornaments to put on them were being sent to America from Europe, many from Germany.
President Teddy Roosevelt, a confirmed environmentalist, banned the tree from the White House at Christmas, not wanting a tree cut down for a decoration. He probably would have like the artificial trees of today. Also, FYI Christmas trees are grown in all 50 states; yes, that includes Alaska and Hawaii.
In the 20th century, artificial Christmas trees grew in popularity and they can be found in various forms for convenient assembly and storage. They can come readymade, lights and all, or you can make a project of it by sticking the “branches” into a pole that serves as the “trunk.” They can be green or any color you like.
My mother’s favorite were the “flocked” trees – the ones that are pure white, like they’re covered in snow — which she had until we cried, pouted and she allowed us a real tree in the basement. Christmas was again real in our house.
Nowadays, the Kosey house goes artificial for many reasons. I like to keep it up until Jan. 6, so an artificial tree means there will be no needles to be found and stepped on. Light a balsam candle and you have almost the real thing.
So there you have it, a few Christmas tree facts you can share while sitting around your own tree, making your own memories and enjoying a cup of eggnog or, for me, Bailey’s Irish Cream.