Christmas Trees, History and Interesting Facts

Wherever you live in the world the Christmas tree brings back memories of family gatherings, communal meals and gift-giving.

Christmas trees are usually an evergreen tree like fir or pine that is adorned with sparkling lights and decorations. They have traditionally associated with Christianity and Christian symbolism but many non-religious people from a variety of backgrounds decorate their homes with these trees during the festive season.

  

 Origin of Christmas Trees in Australia

Christmas trees in Australia are thought to have their origins in the mid to late 1800’s when the settlers who had come to Australia felt homesick and longed for the traditions and comforts back home in the United Kingdom and continental Europe. In the early days getting hold of pine trees was not possible and people had to improvise using native plants instead.

In the UK Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband, who originated from Coburg in Germany is known to have popularised the Christmas tree in the 1840s and many settlers from the UK in the late 1800s had grown up with Christmas trees in their homes or communities.

These days Xmas trees in Australia are likely to be white spruce which is scientifically known as Picea glauca.

Christmas Tree delivery by Floraly in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide

Floraly’s mini Christmas trees are white spruce. These trees are native to the temperate and Boreal forests of North America and can grow to between 15 and 30 metres high. Our mini Xmas trees come with a pot of soil and as such are perfect for those living in apartments or those who have been using an artificial plastic tree. All of our trees are sourced from local family-owned farms in Victoria.

Christmas tree

We love how amazing these little trees smell, filling the room with festive spirit. If you want to send a little bit of Xmas to someone there is nothing better than sending a mini Christmas tree.

Even better, after Christmas has passed these little trees can be planted back in a pot or in the garden and will keep growing, ready for next year.  

The History of Christmas Trees

The history of Christmas trees is actually quite different to what you might expect, and most people don’t even give it a second thought while they are unwrapping their presents beneath them.

The history goes back to well before Christianity was founded. Indeed, in Ancient Egypt and Rome, the evergreen trees had symbolic significance. The fact that Xmas trees are evergreen meant that they one of a few trees and plants that remained green during cold winters. During festive seasons in ancient times people would also decorate where they lived with fir trees. Many people believed that evergreens could keep evil spirits, witches, and ghosts away.

The Druids from Northern Europe would adorn their temples with evergreen boughs and believed it was a symbol of everlasting life. In Scandinavia, the Vikings believed evergreen trees were a sacred plant of Balder the sun God.

The Christmas tree of today originated in Germany where they began the tradition that we now follow. Back in 16th Century Germany religious Christians bought and decorated trees for their homes. Martin Luther, the well-known reformist Protestant, is credited with adding lights in the form of lit candles to Christmas trees. It is said he was inspired to do this by a scene of stars twinkling on a winter’s night amongst the trees.  

The History of electric Christmas lights

In the US Christmas trees have been sold from around 1850 and they are now grown in all 50 states including Hawaii and Alaska. In fact, over 1 million acres of the US is planted with Christmas trees and 77 million trees are planted every single year. There is a big demand for Christmas trees in the US with an estimated 34 and 37 million trees sold every year.

The US is credited with the first electric Christmas lights and of course this begin with Thomas Edison the inventor of the electric incandescent bulb in 1879. Indeed, during the Christmas of 1880 Thomas Edison hung strings of electric lights up outside his laboratory in New Jersey. The first know Christmas tree with electric lights is said to have been displayed by one of Thomas Edison’s employees, Edward H Johnson in 1882 to news reporters at his home in Manhattan. Electric lights in the early days, as is so often the case with new inventions, were awfully expensive and needed to be installed by an electrician. Only the rich could afford these lights and would often host lavish parties to show off their Christmas trees adorned with electric lights. Magazines like the Scientific American and the New York Post started to have adverts for the rental of Christmas lights during 1899 and 1900. Fancy department stores also started to use electric lights in trees in their widows from 1901. It is estimated that a tree decorated with electric lights from a department store would have cost over 2,000 US dollars in today’s money.

 Candles, while still in use today, have steadily declined in popularity, not least in part due to increased risk of house fires. Once prices dropped the electric Christmas light became the norm for families decorating their trees. Indeed, a young man named Albert Sadacca was inspired when reading about a tragic Fire in New York in 1917 that was caused by candles in a Christmas tree. He persuaded his family who already made a host of novelty products to begin making low cost strings of lights for Xmas decorations. It was slow to take off initially but as more and more people converted to using electricity in their homes, they became much more common on Christmas trees. In 1903 the Eveready Company sold the first wired, ready to plug in Christmas light set. By the 1930’s companies like General Electric were active in the Christmas light market and electric lights became the norm when decorating Christmas trees. Interestingly Albert Sadaccas family based on their initial success founded the NOMA Electric company in 1925 which became the largest manufacturer of Christmas lights for over 40 years.

Living Christmas Trees delivered anywhere in Australia

We hope this article has been of interest to you and had thrown a bit of light on the history of the Christmas tree and its decorations. If you want to buy or send a little Christmas tree with all its decorations and electric lights included, then check our mini living Christmas trees, complete with decorations.