O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
How lovely are thy branches!
The Most Impressive Christmas Trees
- The tree in Rockefeller Center, NYC, is a sight to behold. It wouldn’t be Christmas without this festive tradition! Ice skaters in pairs making figure eights as the lights of the tree glint off the rink makes for a classic tableau unique to the city. The first annual tree lighting took place in 1933, two years after workers put up their own balsam fir and decorated it with handmade garlands. Today there are over 50,000 lights on the tree at Rockefeller Center, and it stands magnificently (this year) at nearly 80 feet tall!
- The stunningly beautiful Christmas tree at the Galeries Lafayette in Paris, beneath a skylight dome, covered in Swarovski crystals, is quite the festive sight.
- The tree at La lagune Rodrigo de Freitas in Rio de Janeiro actually floats in the lagoon! Covered with 900,000 light bulbs and at 230 feet tall, this festive tradition (complete with fireworks) is a sight to behold.
Origins of Christmas Trees
- Christmas trees have been around since the 16th Century in Germany. It was actually believed to be bad luck to put up a tree before Christmas Eve! This was a Christian tradition, but lots of people, regardless of religion, have a Christmas tree in their homes.
- Although Thomas Edison is accredited with this, “It was actually his colleague and friend, Edward Johnson, who first thought of putting electric lights on a Christmas tree instead of the traditional candles, according to the Library of Congress.” Before this, of course, people used real flames to illuminate their trees. Today, this is antiquated and also pretty dangerous!
- While the early Romans were the first to celebrate with fir trees, most people today decorate with evergreens. While most people today use artificial trees, there’s nothing quite like the smell of fresh cedar, pine, and balsam fir.
- Did you know that illustrations of Christmas trees featuring Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and their children helped to popularize this tradition? People saw these images in the 19th century (Prince Albert died in 1861) and immediately fell in love with the festive décor and practice.
What’s Your Favorite?
“… There’s a tree in the Grand Hotel, one in the park as well
The sturdy kind that doesn’t mind the snow.”
–It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas
What’s your favorite part of the Christmas tree? Is it the tradition of wrapping up in your warmest coat and scarf, going outside into the cold, and finding that perfect tree to chop down? Or is it placing it indoors afterward and decorating it? Maybe you love the tinsel, bright shiny baubles, and glass bulbs the best…or the angel on top! Stars, candy canes, and lights galore are a treat for everyone! Does your family put up a tree? Do you make your own ornaments, such as stringing cranberries or popcorn? Whatever your individual tradition, the most important thing during the holidays is being together and giving, rather than receiving. Love is the most important gift under the tree this Christmas.
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