Thursday, December 13, 2012

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

My hubby brought our artificial, pre-lit Christmas tree up from the basement last Thursday, and I finally made time to decorate it last night.
A little Christmas Tree history:
* Using evergreen trees to celebrate the winter solstice occurred before the birth of Christ.
   The Egyptians were part of a long line of cultures that treasured and worshipped
   evergreen trees.
* There are a few different claims to the orgin of the Christmas tree as we know it today,
   but the first decorated Christmas tree is said to have been in Latvia [a North European
   Baltic country in the European Union] in 1510. 
* The first printed reference to Christmas trees appeared in Germany during the sixteenth
   century, with credit given to Martin Luther.  The Christmas tree became a widespread
   Anglican tradition in 1846 when Queen Victoria's German husband, Prince Albert, put up
   a Christmas tree.  Germany is credited for spreading the Christmas tree tradition
   throughout the world.
* Live Christmas trees have been sold commercially in the United States since about 1850.
* Using small candles to light a Christmas tree dates back to the mid-seventeenth century.
* Thomas Edison's assistant, Edward Johnson, came up with the idea of electric lights for
   Christmas trees in 1882.
* Christmas tree lights were first mass-produced in 1890.
* In 1856 Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States, was the first President
   to place a Christmas tree in the White House.
* Artificial Christmas trees were developed in Germany during the nineteenth century and
   later became popular in the United States.  They were made of goose feathers dyed green
   due to deforestation.
Our family has had an artificial evergreen Christmas tree for several years now, mainly because there's no dried needles to clean-up.   Prior to our decorating an artificial tree, we bought our trees from a Christmas tree lot.  Only one time did we go to a Christmas tree farm and chop our own.  Michigan ranks third among all states in the production of real Christmas trees.

[L-R:  Jerry [hubby], Me, Sharon [daughter-in-law], Steve [son], holding granddaughter, Brianna - now 16!]

[Steve & Jerry setting up the tree]

It was beautifully shaped.
The Christmas Carol, O Christmas Tree, is a traditional German Carol, known as "O Tannenbaum."  The author of the lyrics as well as the composer are unknown.  The tradition of bringing a tree inside and decorating it is immortalized in this carol.

The tree we chopped was quite a contrast to the photo below of my hubby's  and my first Christmas after we were married.  We were in the military, stationed in Oklahoma, and were planning on coming home to Michigan for the holidays.  Just before Christmas, Jerry's leave was canceled and this was the only Christmas tree left on the lot.  Isn't it scrawny?  Probably took me all of a half hour [or less] to decorate, but it was better than nothing.  And look how dressed up we got just to stay home on Christmas Day.  How times change!  ;-)

Below is a photo of my dad and me taken when I was in the 10th grade.  We had just finished decorating our Christmas tree.  My dad loved large Christmas trees that always seemed to take up half of the living room.   It looks so sparsely decorated now, but at the time we thought it was beautiful! ;-)

As a side note:  O Tannenbaum's traditional melody  has also found use in non-Christmas songs.  Michigan [and three other states] have borrowed the melody for their state song.  Winifred Lee Brent Lyster of Detroit, wrote the original lyrics of "Michigan, My Michigan" in 1862. 


  1. Loved your photos and stories of the Christmas trees through the years....

  2. All your trees are/were beautiful! I use an artificial tree now, too, that I can handle by myself. When my children were growing up we enjoyed going to a local tree farm and cutting our own, but the artificial, pre-lit one works for me now. Hope you have a fun-filled weekend. Hugs!

  3. What a fun post! (And I had no idea you were originally a brunette!)


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