It’s the season of Christmas trees once again

Whether you are reading this just before the holidays and could use this to influence your Christmas tree selection or during the rest of the year – thought you would find this interesting. During the holiday season, many people have questions about bringing gardening into their living room, namely, the Christmas tree. Here is a brief history of it:

The first mention historians have of bringing outside plants inside during this time of year is from the Romans that used laurel and put candles in trees as part of the Saturnalia celebration. In Scandinavia, candles and apples were hung from evergreen trees during the winter as a reminder that spring would soon follow. There is a tale from England that St. Boniface, in the seventh century, was traveling in Germany and wanted to draw pagan cultures away from their worship of oak trees. He wanted to set an example so he cut down a village’s holy oak tree.

A fir tree started to grow in its place so St. Boniface explained the ideal of the trinity to the pagans using the triangular-shaped, fir. Eventually, by the 12th century, it became popular to hang fir trees upside down from the ceiling. Probably a forerunner of today’s mistletoe.

The trees and decorations we all know and love today is mainly attributed to Martin Luther in the 16th century. Legend has it that one Christmas eve he was taken by the sight of the beautiful evergreen branches in the winter moonlight. Wanting to recreate that beauty for his children, he set up a fir tree in his home and adorned it with candles.

Today, most of us go through the hassle of running to previous vacant lots, currently converted to Christmas tree sell-a-thons. We set it up inside and a few days after Christmas all our hard work is on the sidewalk, ready for pick-up. For those that have caught on to a modern money and time-saving strategy (though some may find it Scrooge-like). There are a variety of artificial trees ranging in costs from very cheap (bad imitations) to extremely high quality products.

The trees can be stored each year so getting in the holiday mood is a simple run out to the garage, rather than an entire family outing. Families that still love the decorating part could, of course re-do their tree each year. Many environmentally conscience people recommend using artificial plants and trees to save each year chopping down new ones. They might have a point. How many trees will your family use over their life time? And, if you have a few children and teach them to use fake Christmas trees, they will encourage their families to do the same, and so on. If you aren’t so up on the environment, you can also take into account yearly costs, energy and time of maintenance for a real tree that is not meant to be indoors.

 

For whatever the reason you choose a real or fake tree, the two most popular artificial trees in use today are either polyethylene (PE) or polyvinyl chloride (PVC). PVC trees generally have a flat appearance and are more easily discernible as fakes. PE Christmas trees, like the PVC, are made of plastic, but PEs are molded plastic based on branches cut from a real tree. The needles are three-dimensional therefore a wide variety of styles can be created. Manufacturers are also beginning with PVC base and interior needles and using the more popular PE branches and needles where they can be seen. A high quality tree is nearly identical to a real tree, without the mess.

There are benefits to a traditional real tree or artificial, the choice is up to you and your family. Whatever you choose, Happy Holidays!

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