Bringing cut evergreen boughs indoors over the winter months goes back to the ancient Egyptians and Romans who were convinced that the fresh greens kept evil spirits and illness away. Believing this to be a pagan celebration, it took centuries for religious leaders to accept the tradition of setting up a Christmas tree. German immigrants, who settled in Pennsylvania, first brought this custom to America at the end of the 1830s. After a picture appeared in a British newspaper of the Christmas tree set up at Windsor Palace (in the 1840s) by Prince Albert (also of German descent) and Queen Victoria, the trend spread throughout the United Kingdom. I wonder what a decorated tree at Windsor Palace looks like in these times especially now that Prince Harry and Meghann Markle will soon be moving onto the property! Soon Germany began exporting glass ornaments throughout Europe. While on a trip to Germany in the late 1800s, F. W. Woolworth discovered the glass baubles in Lauscha and made a fortune over the years importing them to the United States.
To say I have a LOT of Christmas ornaments would be the understatement of the century! The Christmas season was huge at my home decor store … starting in January with the buying, the rest of the year planning the setup and displays, and then fingers crossed for a profitable couple months at the end of the year. Over the years I added to my personal collection and in the past 10 years, I’ve been collecting vintage glass ornaments. This year I decided to set up a tinsel tree that I brought home from the store, one that was great for display because it was a ‘slimline tree’ taking very little valuable square footage from the already crowded sales floor. I have set up the tree in the dining room again this year because over the holidays that seems to be where the family spends most of our time together. On its own, it looks a little skimpy in width, however, when everyone is home I think it will work out perfectly. The tree is pre-lit (thankfully) with 100s of mini lights and is a silvery-gold colour. The branches are stiff making it possible to hang heavier glass ornaments without fear of mishap. It’s so bright and sparkly I probably don’t even need to turn on the chandeliers. There’s no theme… just my favourites hung randomly…my version of a Charlie Brown tree!
Topping it off is a golden crown…
Continuing with the regal theme … King Louis XV1 and Marie Antionette make their annual appearance…
And more Marie…
And never far behind (or forgotten) is the collection of Eiffel Towers…and other memories of Paris
The annual tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center is spectacular. Soaring to heights up to 90 feet, the Norway Spruce is lite with thousands of lights and crowned with a Swarovski crystal star. As heartbreaking as it is (to me) to see that a healthy, beautiful, magnificent tree has been sacrificed for a temporary display, I was thrilled to read that these trees are now donated to Habitat for Humanity after the holidays. Since 2007 after the Rockefeller trees are taken down in early January, they are milled into lumber used for beams and flooring in homes built by Habitat.
Setting up the tree is very emotional and sentimental for me. Each ornament I hang has a story and/or a special memory attached to it. When I had my store I was always heartened to see shoppers really pondering on how they would decorate their trees or what ornament they would gift a friend. Based on the emails I still receive from customers who shopped at the store, I’m happy to hear that many of those ‘treasures‘ are still cherished and lovingly hung on their trees every year.
Are you getting the boxes of decorations out of storage and starting to decorate your home too?
2 thoughts on ““O Christmas Tree”…”
Lovely bit of history about the Christmas tree Judy! I love Christmas decorating as well! Being in retail I’m accustom to getting ready earlier than most. Every year I wonder if setting up so early will take away the wonder of the season. I’m happy to say it hasn’t altered my love and joy for the Season, but I truly miss coming to CC and choosing special ornaments and gifts !!
Merry Christmas Judy
Hi Catherine, I remember that delicate balance of setting up Christmas at just the right time! You are bound to get both positive and negative comments no matter when the decorations come out! Wishing you and your lovely boutique a successful holiday season.😘