27 Dec 2012


Jenny Matlock
more participants at Jenny Matlock's Alphabet Thursday

The fir has the advantage, that it stays forever green. No autumn can change its color and no winter makes it to a naked tree, it is stubborn like a mule, it remains green, whatever season. The wood of most firs is considered unsuitable for general timber use, but the fir is not only giving a green spot in the leaveless woods but it became very popular as Christmas tree !

The Germans were the first once to use a fir as a Christmas tree with predecessors that can be traced to the 16th and possibly the 15th century, in which "devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes.". Today the Christmas tree is used by everybody who wants to decorate its home, the cities decorate their streets and the shops use it to attract clients to buy gifts and also food ! Christmas trees apparently make people think to load their stomacs with lots of special food, with the disadvantage, that you are full for the following week !

In Britain, the Christmas tree was only introduced in the early 19th century, but the custom hadn't yet spread much beyond the royal family. Queen Victoria as a child was familiar with the custom and a tree was placed in her room every Christmas. In her journal for Christmas Eve 1832, the delighted 13-year-old princess wrote, "After dinner... we then went into the drawing-room near the dining-room... There were two large round tables on which were placed two trees hung with lights and sugar ornaments. All the presents being placed round the trees...After her marriage to her German cousin Prince Albert, by 1841 the custom became  more widespread throughout Britain.

Several cities in the United States with German connections lay claim to that country's first Christmas tree: Windsor Locks, Connecticut, claims that a Hessian soldier put up a Christmas tree in 1777 while imprisoned at the Noden-Reed House, while the "First Christmas Tree in America" is also claimed by Pennsylvania, which recorded the use of a Christmas tree in 1821 !

Nobody cares anymore about the origin or history of the evergreen tree and how it became a Christmas tree ! The very first once in Germany were only decorated with apples and nuts, while today they are sometimes overloaded with glittering stuff of all kind, with balls, sweets, and fancy decorations. The real candles (which are still used in Germany) were replaced by electric little lamps or candles on a garland.

In countries where no firs are growing, artificial firs were invented and stand amongst palm or other exotic trees unusual for us Northern people

Cities all over the world want to have the biggest and most beautiful Christmas tree and it became a real competition.

I am not sure which country has the most beautiful tree, but sure is that this year in Brussels, they had the ugliest one ever standing on the Grand'Place ! 

This "Christmas tree", even lightended looks awful !

and very different from the simple once used at Victorian times !


  1. I agree, your Brussels tree has to be the ugliest ever. My father, years ago just went into the bush and chopped down a suitable tree. One year it still had a frilled necked lizard sitting on it and my sisters and I went running and screaming away from our presents. My kind hearted father returned the lizard to the bush.
    I love your history lessons, I thought the tree was Queen Victoria's idea.

  2. Very interesting post, Gattina! I realised, reading you, that I never asked me about the origin of Christmas Tree! The nice boy of Östereich we received, told us that in his land there are sweeties on CTree and children can eat all candies and chocolates they want but at this time of the year!

  3. For some reason, Christmas needs a tree like this. I agree about the boxes. Would we recognise it as a tree if it was June?!

  4. Thanks for the interesting post about fir / Christmas trees. When I was little we had real trees and used real candles. Quite a safety hazard. Then we changed to Christmas lights but still had a real tree until I was in my teens. (we always lived near plantations even when we moved from Rhodesia/Zimbabwe to South Africa and my dad would lop the top off one off and carry it home where it stood in a metal bucket filled with soil) I wonder why a city (Brussels) would want such an unromantic - looking Christmas tree? Dar Es Salaam had the most beautiful Christmas decorations throughout the city and I posted about the professionally decorated hotel which we always use when flying in and out of the country. A belated Merry Christmas to you, Mr G and the cats. Jo

  5. Gattina ~ wonderfully informative post for F and excellent photography ~ ^_^

    (A Creative Harbor ~ aka ArtmuseDog and Carol ^_^)

  6. lol your city tree really is upsetting you this year Gattina.
    I love christmas trees and with candles on them they look spectacular. I saw one burn though, and it burnt like a match stick. One minute and it was gone.
    So I don't think I would light a tree with candles inside a house but if it couldbe done outside, it would be beautiful.

  7. What a wonderful and festive post! Perfect for this holiday season. :-)

  8. Interesting information! ...And I agree with you about the Brussels tree - have never seen one quite like it!

  9. What a fascinating link.

    I, for one, have always been a fan of firs!

    At Christmas or anytime of the year!

    Thanks for the fun link.

    And Happy New Year.



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