Despite controversy over their use, brightly lit and colourfully decorated evergreen trees have remained a classic icon of the holiday season for centuries. In fact, this December, the Christmas tree celebrates the 500th anniversary of its first recorded appearance. In honour of this milestone, this week’s links get up close and personal with those pines, spruce trees, firs, and other conifers whose shape and scent are now seasonal symbols in many modern cultures.
Five hundred years ago, the history of the Christmas tree began?officially. However, the concept of a decorated tree goes back several centuries earlier. This brief timeline, from the National Christmas Tree Association (an education and advocacy organization for ?Christmas Tree Professionals,? including growers), sheds a little light on the symbol’s colourful history.
Although the first recorded decorated Christmas tree was created in Latvia, many of our modern tree-decorating customs hail from Germany. So, of course, does the carol ?O Tannenbaum,? or in the English translation, ?O Christmas Tree.? Versions of the song range from full chorus to joking parodies, but this particular rendition on jazz piano is gentle and peaceful?perfect for relaxing with a mug of cocoa.
Not all conifers are alike in their natural state. This brief, ?field guide?-style overview of popular Christmas tree types is provided by a Maryland nursery. It’s worth taking along with you if You’re buying a farm-grown tree to decorate for your home or office this year.
Themed trees and other unusual schemes are the latest trend in tree decorating. But many of the trees displayed in this blog post take innovation to another level. From opulent, jewel-encrusted extravaganzas to creative expressions using recycled materials, all of these holiday trees deserve a second look.