Christmas Tree History

The mighty evergreen we call a Christmas tree has some pretty deep roots.  People have been using evergreens as part of their mid-winter celebrations ever since...well probably since there have been people, and with good reason.  Since evergreens do not die back in the cold as much of the vegetation did, to these early party makers, they were  seen to represent life on-going. This was a very important visual comfort food to people struggling to live off the land in cold and winter darkened climes. Boughs of greenery were often brought indoors to chase away bad spirits - plus they smell darn good.
In the interest of space, we begin our little romp through history in the 1500's

1510 The first recorded decorated Christmas tree was in the town square of Riga, Latvia
Latvia Christmas tree(20th cent. Riga on left)
1605 Strasbourgh, Germany -the first written record of a decorated indoor Christmas tree. Prior to this the trees were always a part of a community celebration.
1610 Tinsel was invented in Germany.

1836 Alabama became the first state to make Christmas a legal holiday.
1846 Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were featured in the London News decorating their tree in Windsor Castle (image below) – England and the US were instantly smitten with the idea. It is interesting to not that this was nothing new to Victoria, who had mentioned in her diary a Christmas tree having been set up by her Aunt in 1832.Old Christmas tree picture


1856
The first decorated indoor Christmas tree at the White House.
1882 Edward Johnson, assistant to Thomas Edison, came up with the idea of electric Christmas Tree lights.
1892 Metal hooks for ornaments patented.

In 19th century Germany, artificial trees were constructed of feathers, dyed green and attached to wire branches. The branches were then attached to a wooden dowel which acted as the trunk.
1883 Sears and Roebuck began offering artificial trees 33 limbs for .50 and 55 limbs for 1.00
1923 President Cooledge started the tradition of the lighting of the national tree on White House lawn. The tree was a 48 foot fir and was decorated with 2500 lights.

In the year 1930 the Addis Brush Co., using the same machines used to manufacture toilet brushes made the first artificial tree made up of brush bristles.
Artificial aluminum trees were first made in Chicago in 1958
9.5 million artificial Christmas trees were purchased in the US in 2011

Long Live the Tree
Christmas tree lot New York City 18511851 Always the trendsetter, New York, was home to the first commercial Christmas tree lot.

In 2011, 31% of real Christmas trees sold were from chain stores or garden centers, 31% from cut and harvest farms, 14% from retail tree lots, and 13% from non-profit groups.  98% of trees are farm grown.

The mean average purchase price of a live tree in 2011 was $34.87.

93% of real tree customers recycle their trees.
In the United States, there are more than 4,000 Christmas tree recycling programs.

To make sure there are always enough trees for harvest; farmers plant one to three seedlings for each tree they harvest.
In the U.S. there are about 1 million acres in production for growing Christmas trees.
Each acre provides the daily oxygen requirements of 18 people.

There are approximately 25-30 million Real Christmas Trees sold in the U.S. every year.
There are close to 350 million Real Christmas Trees currently growing on Christmas Tree farms in the U.S. alone, all planted by farmers.

There is no written account of the first decorated Christmas tree in the wild west. We just take that to mean, it has been here all along.

article by Spike, North Pole West -2015