History Of The Christmas Tree
The idea of placing a live tree in the home and decorating it has been around for years and practiced by many cultures.
Over 1000 years ago, St. Boniface, a Christian missionary, came across a group of German Pagans worshipping an oak tree, claiming it was their deity. In anger, St. Boniface chopped down the oak tree exclaiming that his God was mightier than theirs. From the roots of the oak sprouted a young fir tree. Saint Boniface took this as a sign from God and began spreading his Christian faith around Germany. It wasn’t until the 16th century when fir trees were used for decorative purposes.
In the early 19th century, the custom of the Christmas tree became popular among the nobility and spread to royal courts when Princess Henrietta von Nassau-Weilburg introduced the Christmas tree to Vienna in 1816. Since then, the custom of decorating a Christmas tree spread around the world and traditions have since evolved over the years. Boughs from fir trees are also used for other Christmas decorations including wreaths, garland, centerpieces and kissing balls.
Choosing A Christmas Tree
In picking out a Christmas tree, you should always perform a freshness test. Gently grasp and pull a branch toward you. In doing so, only a few green needles should fall. Next, gently shake the tree. Again, only a few green needles should drop. There should only be a small amount of brown needles, if any. In transporting your tree, make sure it is wrapped in either a plastic sheet or a blanket in order to protect the branches from the wind.
Before you begin decorating your tree, make sure you have a Christmas-tree stand that will hold enough water. There should be room for 1 quart of water for every inch in diameter of the tree’s trunk. Before placing the tree in the stand, cut about a 1/4 inch off the bottom of the trunk with your saw.
Within the first 24 hours of placing your tree in its stand, it can absorb up to 1 gallon of water, and 1 quart or more per day afterward. Be sure to keep a constant supply of water in the tree stand because if the tree runs dry, sap will leak out and create a seal over the bottom of the trunk. If you notice your tree has been dry for more than a few hours, you will need to cut the bottom of the trunk again.
Christmas Tree Tips
Remember to keep your tree away from direct heat and drafts. Never leave the lights on your tree plugged in if you have left your house and be sure to check the water daily.
If you have a few cut boughs from your Christmas tree, instead of throwing them away, use them to accent your holiday floral arrangements or to plump up your Christmas wreath. In order to keep your greens fresh, mist daily with a water bottle and keep away from all direct heat sources.