Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Christmas Trees
Christmas is almost here, and in the North Carolina mountains, that can only mean one thing... it's Christmas tree time! Many people take for granted where their trees come from or what the tree symbolizes. In fact, there are a lot of things most of us probably don’t know about Christmas trees. This week we pull back the curtain and discover everything you need to know about Christmas trees.
The Birth of the Modern Christmas TreeIt is believed that the Protestant reformer, Martin Luther, first added lighted candles to a tree in the 16th century. Legend has it that while walking home one Winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens. Once home, he recreated the look by adding candles to a tree and the Christmas tree was born.
The Origin of the Christmas Tree Tradition in America
The most widely accepted version of history tells us that the Christmas tree tradition as we know it today is the result of German immigrants bringing the tradition from Germany to America in the 1800’s. Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition, during the 16th century when devout Christians began decorating trees in their homes. Some built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles if wood was scarce.
Trivia Question: Where was the first Christmas tree in America?
Answer: The first recorded tree in America was in Pennsylvania in 1830, however it is likely they were a tradition in German-American homes much earlier.
Fun Christmas Tree Trivia
Selling Christmas trees commercially in America started in 1850.
In 1979, the National Christmas Tree had no lights except for one on the very top for the hostages being held in Iran.
The tallest living Christmas tree is believed to be the 122-foot, 91-year-old Douglas fir in the town of Woodinville, Washington.
The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree tradition began in 1933.
Franklin Pierce, the 14th president of the United States, brought the Christmas tree tradition to the White House.
In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge started the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony now held every year on the White House lawn.
Christmas trees generally take six to eight years to mature.
Christmas trees are grown in all 50 states, including Hawaii and Alaska.
98 percent of all Christmas trees are grown on farms.
More than 1,000,000 acres of land has been planted with Christmas trees.
7 million Christmas trees are planted each year.
North Carolina Christmas Tree industry
From the White House to your living room the North Carolina Christmas tree industry is one of the largest providers of Christmas trees in the nation. The mountains around Asheville in the heart of North Carolina provide the perfect environment for tree growers. Did you know the North Carolina Frasier Fir has been chosen as the official White House Christmas Tree more than any other tree.
North Carolina is the second largest harvester of Christmas trees in the nation. 94% of the tress harvested are Frasier Fir, which is one of the most sought after types of Christmas Trees. The reason people like the Frasier Fir is it has a wonderful aroma and soft needles, strong branches, and its needles tend to stay on the tree far longer than most trees.
Tips to keep your tree fresh
Tips for keeping your tree freshFor many of us the Christmas tree is the centerpiece of our Christmas decorations and nothing is worse then a dry needle shedding tree. However, there are a few things you can do to help keep your tree looking and smelling fresh.
Keep it well watered-Water is the key to keeping your tree fresh and vibrant. If a tree runs out of water, it won’t take long for it to begin to die.
Cut the trunk-Always make a nice clean cut on the base of the tree. This makes sure the tress is able to absorb water easily.
Avoid heat sources- Heat dries trees out quickly. Make sure not to place your tree over a floor vent or directly under a ceiling heat duct. If you have to place a tree near a vent make sure to close the vents.
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