Many people traditionally go to a tree farm before Christmas arrives and pick out a live tree to adorn their home for the holidays. Getting out into the fresh, crisp air, while bundled up in winter attire, and topping the adventure off with a cup of hot cocoa, is a fun activity for adults and kids alike. Have you ever wondered how the tradition of the Christmas tree got started? Here are some fun facts about Christmas trees for you to ponder.
Christmas Tree Roots
Decorated evergreens have pagan roots. Ancient Romans and Egyptians adorned their home with the trees for winter. The practice continued throughout Europe to recognize the winter solstice. Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition in the 16th century. The first Christmas tree in America was displayed in the 1830’s in Pennsylvania.
Christmas Trees in America
The first Christmas tree on record was displayed in Pennsylvania by German settlers. By the 1890’s, Christmas ornaments were arriving from Germany and Christmas trees were becoming popular in the U.S. Americans preferred very tall trees, while the Europeans liked trees about 4-feet high. Americans decorated trees with homemade ornaments while the Germans used apples, nuts and marzipan cookies. The popcorn strand then popped up featuring brightly dyed kernels interlaced with nuts and berries.
Christmas Tree Lots
The origin of Christmas tree lots goes back to an entrepreneurial logger. In 1851, Mark Carr and his sons traveled from the Catskills to New York City, taking a few dozen evergreens with them. Their haul sold out within a day.
Famous Christmas Trees
There are also famous Christmas trees that have been displayed over the years. The first National Christmas tree was put on display in Washington, D.C. in November 1923. It was lit by President Calvin Coolidge. The Rockefeller tree in New York City was first displayed in 1931. Construction workers pooled their money to buy a 20-foot fir tree to adorn the site. Seattle is famous for having the tallest natural tree on record. A 221-foot-tall Douglas fir was put up at Northgate Mall in December 1950.
Growing Christmas Trees
According to the National Christmas Tree Association, around 25-30 million live trees are sold annually in the U.S. There are close to 350 million trees growing on Christmas tree farms in all 50 states and Canada. For every live tree planted, one to three seedlings are planted the following spring. The average growing time for a tree is seven years. It can take as many as 15 years for a tree to grow to a typical height of 6-7 feet. The top Christmas tree producing states are Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Washington.
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