Monday, December 10, 2018

O Tannenbaum - The Tree by E. Ayers

The song was published by Ernst Anschutz in 1824. It's based on a folk song from the 16th century and eventually was adapted into a Christmas carol. The concept of a Christmas tree certainly brightened a home when the hours of daylight were shorter and much of the world was rather drab. It added fun to what was probably a rather boring time of the year. It's green and festive, and with its evergreen boughs showed there was promise of spring around the corner.
The original Christmas trees in Europe were hung upside down from the ceiling and decorated with red paper strips, apples, and gilded nuts. They referred to them as Sweet Trees because of all the yummy goodies that decorated them.
The idea of lighting a tree probably came from France where men would decorate the town square with a tree covered in roses to represent the Virgin Mary, dance around it, and then set it afire. (I have no idea why!)
That probably led to trees being decorated in candles. Certainly not for the timid homeowner! The trees were usually lit long enough for everyone to o-o-h and ah-h-h over, and then they were promptly extinguished. There were also plenty of buckets of water
nearby to extinguish a burning branch, and a few trees not only caught on fire, they managed to take the whole house with them. They also used to be tabletop ornaments but like everything else, the bigger the better and eventually trees were reaching the ceilings. So those beautiful trees with burning candles, although they might look fabulous, are not worth the risk. With today’s fantastic lights we can safely make the tree look as though it has real candles burning, or it can flash and do just about anything you might want.
Christmas trees are really newcomers to the USA. It’s believed German settlers introduced them in 1851. Maybe they became popular or as we say today they went viral, because there are plenty of references to individuals who had Christmas trees prior to that date in America. It didn’t take long for someone to figure out he could get paid to cut pine trees and sell them. About two years later, selling of Christmas trees was a sure way to make a little money. Back then that person went into the woods, found a few trees, cut them, and dragged them out.
By the 1880’s, German glass ornaments arrived and became very popular. The first ones were balls and then they became more elaborate. The star on the top of the tree seems to have an unclear history. But there’s enough evidence to say the first ones were made of tin.
In 1883 Sears Roebuck and Co started selling artificial trees. Very expensive! Fifty cents for the little one and a dollar for a big one, - really they weren’t cheap considering a man might be lucky to make $3.00 a week.
But by 1900, we had severely damaged the population of natural Christmas trees AKA our forests. W.V. McGalliard decided to plant 25,000 Norway spruce on his farm in New Jersey, creating what we believe is the first Christmas tree farm.
Theodore Roosevelt wanted to stop the practice of using live trees and wanted us to have “snow” trees, a deciduous branch that was coated in cotton and could be decorated. Luckily Mr. McGalliard’s sons, with some help from a hired environmentalist, put pressure on the President to allow trees to be farmed, claiming it didn’t harm the forests.
Franklin Roosevelt started a Christmas farm in 1930’s on his estate in Hyde Park, New York.
Today’s practice of farming Christmas trees has actually preserved several varieties. They are growth controlled and pruned to give us that perfectly shaped tree. Christmas tree management gives us a healthy disease-free and bug-free tree to bring into our home.
It is estimated that over 30 million Christmas trees are sold to individuals in the USA alone.

 to our readers, no matter what you celebrate. 
May we find peace during the holidays. 

And to help you get into the mood, the Authors of Main Street, have put together another annual boxed set of contemporary holiday stories on Main Street, wherever that street might be for you. My story in Christmas Wishes on Main Street is my book Christmas Paws. (Kindle for 99c for the boxed set, FREE on Kindle Unlimited, and also available in paperback.) 
 There's puppies in this story, some giggles, and a whole lot more!


  1. Hi Merry Christmas. great info on the origin of the Christmas tree. thank you.

    1. Merry Christmas to you and yours, Gini. Have a wonderful holiday.


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