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The History of Christmas Trees

History of Christmas Trees

Did you know that the history of Christmas trees dates back even before the first Christmas? Christmas trees date back as far as the Ancient Egyptians. In Ancient Egypt people worshiped and treasured evergreen trees because they symbolized eternal life. Evergreens stay healthy and green all year long. Because the trees do not change color or die the Egyptians would bring in their branches during the winter months to symbolize the triumph of life over death. Each year the world knew that life would triumph and the spring and rebirth would come because of the evergreens triumph over death in the winter.

The Egyptians were not the only culture to recognize the evergreens as eternal life. The Romans also recognized the always green trees and would use them and mistletoe to help them celebrate their winter solstice each year by placing the evergreen branches and mistletoe over their front doors to keep away death and evil spirits.

Many years later in the Middle Ages Germans and Scandinavians began the well known tradition of bringing evergreen trees into the house. Each winter they would choose a beautiful evergreen and place it in their homes or at their doors as a reminder that spring was coming and it would be bountiful.

Christmas trees came to America when in 1851 Mark Carr a farmer in New York hauled two of sleds containing evergreens into New York City and sold them. By the year 1900 one in every five Americans were celebrating the tradition by purchasing a tree and decorating it and displaying it in their house. During the Great Depression the tradition became much more common since nurserymen could not sell their trees for landscaping they began planting Christmas tree farms and selling trees just before Christmas. These trees that were grown specifically for use as Christmas trees became the most popular form of Christmas trees sold because they maintained their perfect shape and looked beautiful on display. Today almost everyone has had or knows someone who has a Christmas tree during the holidays. Today there are over 6 species of trees used as Christmas trees including Scotch Pine, Douglas Fir, Noble Fir, Balsam Fir, White Pine, and White Spruce. Which is your favorite tree? When does your family traditionally buy their tree? In recent years families have begun to display and decorate their trees as early as Thanksgiving.