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By: palmettobug53 , 5:45 PM GMT on December 03, 2006
The tradition of decorating indoors with greenery and trees dates back thousands of years, usually as a celebration of the winter solstice. The Egyptians brought in green date palm leaves to celebrate life's triumph over death. The Romans also marked the winter solstice with a festival called Saturnalia, in honor of the God of Agriculture. Druids in Great Britain used holly and mistletoe as symbols of eternal life and to keep away evil spirits.
In Germany and Scandinavia during the Middle Ages, evergreen trees were placed inside, or just outside, homes in hopes of the coming spring. Martin Luther is credited with beginning the tradition of decorating trees to celebrate Christmas. Hessian soldiers fighting in the American Revolution most likely introduced the Christmas tree tradition to what was to become the United States.
The tradition spread slowly but took off during the Victorian Era. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, both of whom were German, put up the first Christmas tree at Windsor Castle in 1841. It became very fashionable to set up and decorate trees at Christmas. Trees were decorated with candles, fruit, nuts, small wrapped gifts and paper cut-outs.
F.W. Woolworth is credited with introducing the first glass ornaments to the U.S. in 1890. The best glass ornaments were produced in Germany from the 1870's to the 1930's. Glass ornament production declined in Germany after WWII. Quantity, rather than quality, became the norm.
There are many different styles of tree decorating. Some people go for all-out, load it up with everything you can, styles. Some opt for Victorian or other old fashioned themes. Some choose ultra modern or choose a color theme. How many of you remember those aluminum trees from the 60's? There are even upside down Christmas trees, which actually have their origin in 12th century Central Europe, and represented the Trinity.
Today, Christmas trees are displayed with the tip pointing to heaven. Some think an upside down Christmas tree is disrespectful or sacrilegious.
Then there are lights. No one uses candles today, as they are a definite fire hazard. Arguments abound on the subject of lights. All white? One color or mixed colors? Big bulbs or little ones? Flashing or non-flashing? Personally, I love those old fashioned bubble lights, if I ever decide to go back to color. Otherwise, I prefer all white, flashing mini-lights.
And there are so many types of ornaments. Bought and homemade. Paper and glass. Religous and secular. Wooden and plastic. Modern or vintage. Some people spend a lot of money, collecting those old German glass ornaments.
Whether you go with traditional or modern, fake or real, table top or 12 footers, palm trees, firs or bare-bones branches, Christmas trees reflect the personality of their owners and decorators. Share with us your tree decorating styles and/or themes. Make your own ornaments? How about sharing some crafting suggestions for tree ornaments?
Christmas Tree from Wikipedia.
Traditions: Christmas Trees and Ornaments
Christmas Tree Traditions
Symbols, Customs and Traditions
Christmas Tree Traditions from Around the World
How To Decorate An Old Fashioned Christmas Tree
Homemade Christmas Ornaments
Family Fun Christmas Ornaments
Christmas Tree Decorating
Homemade Ornaments from Crafty Chic
Victorian Decorating Ideas
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