Monday, December 16, 2013

Oh Christmas Tree...

Admittedly, I wasn't going to put up a Christmas Tree this year while living in a rental; ornaments packed, no room for our traditional tree and with all I have going on for work and building a home, the idea was overwhelming.  However, one evening while I was flipping through channels to find something on, I came across one of my favorite movies...Eloise at Christmastime.
You can't help but get in the spirit after watching this precocious six year old spread good cheer throughout the Plaza Hotel.  I thought of my grands and how they would indeed expect a Christmas tree and wouldn't you know, during one of the commercials was an ad for Balsam Hill artificial trees.  I ordered a 4 1/2-foot because our daughter told me that our youngest granddaughter likes to "throw" the Christmas balls off the lower limbs!  Her tree is now bare below the level this almost 2 year old can reach!

The Christmas Tree is certainly a symbol of the season--traced backed to the 16th or possibly the 15th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes.  It is speculated that the tree originated in Germany and it was the reformer Martin Luther, according to the History channel, who "first added lighted candles" to it.

Interestingly, the custom of the tree didn't flourish in Great Britain until the marriage of Victoria to her German cousin, Prince Albert in 1841.  In 1847, Prince Albert wrote that he must seek an "echo" of what he and his brother, Ernest had felt with their delight of the Christmas tree in their home.

In North America, the town of Windsor Locks, Connecticut claims they had the first Christmas tree when a Hessian soldier put one up in 1777 while imprisoned.  Additionally, there are several more accounts throughout the colonies of trees being used at Christmas time and laying claim to the first tree in America--from Lancaster, Pennsylvania to Boston, Massachusetts.

If you can't settle the argument when the first tree was put up, how about when is the correct time to decorate your tree.  Would it surprise you to know that most trees were decorated on Christmas Eve?  I know after I was married that's exactly what my hubby's family did.  Our own family went with the Advent Calendar to determine the time...which meant sometime after Thanksgiving.

Only since the 20th century in the United States has it become common to decorate evergreen trees outside.  The National Christmas Tree has been lit each year since 1923 on the South Lawn of the White House.  Furthermore, some cities organize a Festival of Trees for charity events, which may have its roots from Manchester, England who sent a tree and money to buy chocolate and cakes for the children of the much-bombarded town of Lillie in northern France after the Armistice in 1918.

Our home maybe lacking some decorations, but at least the tree is up and now, the baking begins.  I would love to hear what special decorations you have on your Christmas tree and the story behind them while you listen to...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNeLKCqsPJM
(BTW...it's sitting on top of my antique silver chest that was in my mother's family.  I helped my grandfather reconstruct one of the lion's head, carved in wood, that had been broken.) Happy Holidays to All!

31 comments:

  1. When we were in the UK we kept the tradition of the tree going up on Christmas eve. We do it the closest Saturday to the 14th now (Chris' birthday). Our decorations are all homemade,except for five bells.Each bell represents a cat of ours that has gone to heaven.Each cat would hate to miss out on Christmas!!
    Jane x

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    1. Jane, I love the addition of the bells, which reminds me of my favorite all-time movie, "It's A Wonderful Life"...when a bell rings an angel gets his wings. I think I will add a bell for my kitty Bailey, who passed away last year. XOXO

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  2. Love the tree Susan....it's fun and festive! Soon you will be in your own home and that's something to look forward to! Cannot wait to see what is on your baking list!

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    1. A little challenging with baking in this rental kitchen, but I'm determined to make it work! I have cookie boxes to fill and send by tomorrow, XOXO

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  3. So glad you decided to put up a tree Susan. Growing up my parents had Santa put up our tree after we all went to bed on Christmas Eve. I've often wondered how in the world they managed to put up the tree, assemble bikes etc. It was certainly a magical time for me and my siblings. Merry Christmas to you and your family! xoxo ♥

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    1. My parents too...and there were 8 kids to do for. It's probably another reason why we only got one big present! Merry Christmas to you and your lovely family dear friend, XOXO

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  4. Hi Susan, Your beautiful November apron arrived today and what a thrill to have such a stunning piece of artistry! It is almost too pretty to wear but I will as soon as I have occasion to show it off. Thank you so much!

    I just have a little 3-foot monofilament tree but I set it in the dining room window so my neighbors can enjoy it too.

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    1. I have to say, I like this little tree and the symbol it reflects. I think I will make it the "Grand's Tree" to put in their playroom at the new house. Happy Baking and Merry Christmas, XOXO

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  5. I thought I might not put a tree up this year since none of my children will be able to make it for Christmas. After seeing your tree, maybe I will look for a small table top one.

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    1. Meggie, I do owe you an apron and will get it out in January after I come home from the trade show in California...I still have some of the same fabric as the first one you won. This little tree does perk me up a bit; holidays are hard without Kelly and my mother and I know you feel that loss this year too. Merry Christmas, Sis

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  6. And a lovely tree it is, too! There's nothing much more troubling than having the grandchildren be concerned for the lack of a tree. They recognize the Narnia magic of it all. What a beautiful family your daughter has!

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    1. I agree Vee. Our grandson's dad is Jewish and they won't be putting up a tree, so he, above the others, really comes to expect it when he comes here after Christmas. Our granddaughters will be here on the 26th and it will be a joy to watch them all play together, Merry Christmas to you and your family, XOXO

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    2. Delightful! Your grandson will know both heritages.

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  7. Your tree is so pretty, Susan. I couldn't imagine my home without a tree at Christmas. I love the table-top tree.

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    1. Surprisingly, Rosie just stares up at it in wonder! I do think she misses sitting under the big tree we always put up...but then, there's always next year. XOXO

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  8. Truthfully we haven't decorated for the holidays in probably 10 years because of family problems (calling them problems but much more that won't get into here). When we went food shopping last week they had these little (about 2 or 3 ft.) trees so my husband looked at me and said let's do it this year soooooooooo we have a real little tree with a few ornaments and lights this year. we had to go out and buy all new ornaments & lights because we threw everything out years ago when we stopped decorating. He even put a string of lights out on our VA. holly bush outside. yes, we have a holly bush that my husband grew from a twig he took off from one in my brothers' yard in VA. and it has flourished here in CT.! guess I've rambled enough.
    Happy Holidays to all!
    stamping sue
    http://stampingsueinconnecticut.blogspot.com/

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  9. Your tree is lovely and perfect for this season in your life. You have so much going on I am surprised you have the tree.
    I have so many sentimental ornaments on my tree and every single one has a story.
    Hugs,
    Donna

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  10. I just have a mini tree sitting on the table :-)) Your tree looks very festive!

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  11. I love Christmas trees so much. I call my 'main' tree my memory tree since all the ornaments evoke memories of other Christmases, vacations, travels, events in our lives and on and on. This year I did a small Tiger tree but next year will go back to my more eclectic tree. I also have a small white tree in my bedroom with pink and silver ornaments on it, including Paris ornaments this year! I'm so glad you did a tree, even if it's small! Hugs, Linda

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  12. dear susan,
    i love that you made the choice to have a tree (i did the same thing after some deliberation). i think that kelly would be happy with your decision too, i always love to know more about the history of things. i really appreciate all your effort for this very interesting post. i hope you have a wonderful week!

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  13. oh oops, i meant to say that i loved your effort and i love to know about the history of things...

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  14. I am afraid to admit we have never had a Christmas tree. I am afraid it has to do with the fact Mom would leave the tree up until the last dead needle fell. Then we would drag it outside. We had to sweep and pick up every needle off of the carpet, because she said it would ruin the vacuum. Kind of ruined the whole tree adventure for me. Yours is so nice and small. (less needles to pick up). I enjoyed learning about the history of the Christmas Tree.

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  15. I've never seen the movie Eloise–I will have to look for it! Hope you have a blessed holiday!

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  16. Evergeens are difficult to obtain in this area of spain so we bought a rather expensive imitation evergreen tree 28 years ago! It is still going strong so i would say i have had value for money! My mother used to tell me her tree as a child was never put up until christmas eve and had to be decorated before father christmas arrived. Thank you susan for a very informative post. I had heard christmas trees became popular during the victorian era in the uk but it is curious to read it originated long before that period. Have a wonderful christmas susan !
    Amanda. Xx

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  17. I love the christmas tree it is decorated so perfectly and I can almost smell it from here....loved the post, thanks

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  18. I have this little table top, minimalistic silver wire tree. It has mostly new ornaments on it. The Hallmark bike was given to me by my dad recently to remind me to wear my bike helmet as I was plucked off my bike a few years ago by a woman opening her car door. Yes, I hit me head, after turning 180 degrees...Good thing is was on the back of my head, the thickest part. Yeah, I'll never hear the end of that one, too. Merry Christmas, my dear friend...I hope the New Year finds you settled in your new home and surrounded by those you love. Lv, me

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  19. Pretty tree and cutie grandkids. Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!! :)

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  20. Blessings to you dear Susan. May your holidays be enchanted.

    Love,
    Sharon

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  21. Merry Christmas, dear Susan! My best wishes to you and your Family. I love your little tree. It is very festive. Big hugs to you. Kirsten

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  22. Your tree looks beautiful! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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  23. Wishing you and your family a very Happy and blessed New Year!!

    Jocelyn

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