Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without a Christmas tree twinkling in the night on Christmas Eve. Where did this Christmas tree tradition come from? What is our great
nation’s national Christmas tree? Find out answers to these questions and more
as you increase your Christmas tree
trivia knowledge with the interesting facts below.
What is the Origin of the Christmas Tree?
The Christmas tree is thought to have originated in a play
often performed in the Middle Ages during the Advent season. Based on the story
of Adam and Eve, the play featured a Paradise Tree in the Garden of Eden that
was decorated with apples to symbolize Eve's temptation. The tree used in the
play was an evergreen tree, which symbolized fertility and a renewal of life.
It is believed that the Christmas tree dates back to the Middle Ages.
Later, in 16th century Germany, people would hang apples,
gilded candies, colored paper, and roses from tree branches. Martin Luther,
inspired by the beauty of stars shining through the branches of a fir tree, is
credited with being the first person to add lighted candles to a tree.
Some believe that King George, a native of Germany, brought
the tradition of decorating a Christmas tree to England. Others credit Queen
Victoria with bringing the tradition to England from Germany where her husband,
Prince Albert, was raised.
An etching of the British royal family gathered around a
Christmas tree in Windsor Castle in 1848 prompted the spread of this favorite
decoration throughout Victorian England. The custom was brought to the United
States when German immigrants in Pennsylvania continued to decorate Christmas
trees just as they had done in their homeland.
How do you care for Holiday Botanicals?
So much of Christmas decorating involves natural greenery
and holiday flowers. Even if you don't have a green thumb, it is easy to
incorporate these elements into your decor. All it takes to keep live and cut
botanicals fresh during the holidays is tender, loving care.It is a myth that
poinsettias are poisonous, but they do have a bitter taste.
To care for poinsettias, keep the soil moist, not wet. After
the holidays, transfer the plant into a larger pot, trim the branches back once
the bracts or leaves fade, and feed it every three weeks with fertilizer. As
the weather warms to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, place the plant outdoors and
continue trimming its branches. In October, expose the plant to 14 hours of
darkness daily to force the leaves to color.
Holiday greenery such as holly, ivy, and evergreen branches
will remain beautiful longer by adding a commercial floral preservative to the
water. Spritz arrangements with water daily and monitor their temperature. The
cooler the room, the longer the greenery stays fresh. Leaves dipped in
household floor wax can last up to six weeks. This also works for decorative
fruit such as grapes and pears. It gives them a shine and can keep them from
spoiling for at least three weeks.
Christmas trees need water daily. Adding a commercial
preservative to the water will extend the life of the tree. For a live tree,
place the burlap-wrapped root-ball in a tub, and water it daily. After
Christmas, dig a hole twice as large as the root-ball, carefully remove the
burlap, then place the tree into the hole.
Ranging in color from red to yellow, kalanchoes and other
succulent plants are excellent holiday bloomers. Though the plants can
withstand relatively dry conditions, keep the soil moist. After the holidays,
treat kalanchoes like poinsettias, trimming the branches and feeding regularly.
In the fall, allow the plant to dry out between waterings and expose it to at
least 12 hours of darkness to encourage flowering.
To force bulbs like paperwhites, narcissus, amaryllis, and
irises, plant them in October with the pointed end up in a shallow container on
a layer of pebbles. Fill with sandy potting soil or with more pebbles. Water at
planting time and regularly when growth begins. Place the bulbs in warm
sunlight, and fertilize just before and during blooming. When flowers begin to
die, reduce watering until the leaves have withered. Plant the bulbs, or place
them in a cool, dark, dry place until next year.
What is the History of the Wreath?
Wreaths have a long history, dating back to ancient Druids
who believed that holly, a perennial evergreen with lush, red berries, was a
magical plant. Wreaths were first created when holly and other evergreens were
arranged in a circular shape, a shape with no beginning or end, and therefore,
synonymous with eternity.
The circular shape of a wreath is synonymous with eternity.
This representation took on more meaning when Jesus Christ
was crowned with a wreath of thorns. In the days of Julius Caesar, wreaths were
worn by aristocrats and used by Greeks to crown victorious athletes in the
original Olympic games. It is believed that hanging a wreath on a door became a
custom when Olympic athletes began to hang their wreaths on their doors
following a victory.
Although the word wreath evokes thoughts of Christmas, these
lovely decorations can beautify doors and walls year-round. They can be
embellished with a vast assortment of dried or artificial flowers to fit any
holiday or season.
What are some of the most popular Holiday World Records?
Some people love the holidays so much that they set out to
break world records with their holiday cheer. For example:
The largest Christmas stocking measures 35 feet 41/2 inches
long and 16 feet 5 inches wide. Created by J. Terry Osborne and friends from
King William County, Virginia, it was filled with gifts to be distributed to
Jean-Guy Laquerre of Boucherville, Quebec, Canada, is an
avid Father Christmas collector, with more than 13,000 items collected since
1988. The collecting bug bit when his aunt died and left him a 12-inch-high
antique papier-mâché Santa Claus from the 1920s. Since then, he has added
objects such as music boxes, yo-yos, photos, candleholders, and pens.
What is the Origin of the Poinsettia?
Poinsettias account for 88 percent of all plant purchases at
Christmastime. The most popular color is red, but they are also available in
white, cream, pink, and yellow, and they can be striped, spotted, or marbled.
Originating in Mexico, where they are known as the
"Flower of the Holy Night," the flowers were brought to the United
States by Joel Poinsett in 1829. In their native country, they grow as shrubs
and can reach heights up to ten feet tall.
The poinsettia originated in Mexico, where it is known as the
"Flower of the Holy Night."
In Mexico, a heart-warming story explains the origin of the
On a Christmas Eve, long ago, a poor little boy went to
church in great sadness because he had no gift to bring the Holy Child. He
dared not enter the church, and, kneeling humbly on the ground outside the
house of God, he prayed fervently and assured our Lord, with tears, how much he
desired to offer him some lovely present --"But I am very poor and dread
to approach you with empty hands." When he finally rose from his knees, he
saw springing up at his feet a green plant with gorgeous blooms of dazzling
What is Holly?
For centuries, holly has been synonymous with the holiday
season. In ancient Rome, holly branches were given as a gesture of friendship
during Saturnalia, the winter solstice festival. Druids would decorate their
homes with holly during Britain's gloomy winters, believing that the sun always
shone on this sacred tree. Likewise, pagans would bring holly and other
evergreens inside to ensure that Nature would return in the spring.
The most well known holly is American holly.
There are hundreds of species of holly that can be clipped
and used in seasonal decorations. Perhaps the most well known is American
holly, which features spiny, glossy leaves and bright red berries. Inkberry
holly, named for its deep purple-black berries, and variegated holly, with
striped leaves, are striking alternatives to the standard holiday holly.
What is the Origin of the Traditional Mistletoe Kiss?
Who doesn't love hanging mistletoe? Although most mistletoe
is parasitic, and, therefore, harmful to the trees on which it grows, the Celts
thought it had magical powers for healing wounds and increasing fertility, so
they placed it throughout their homes for good luck and to ward off evil
The mistletoe "kiss" tradition dates back to the eighth century.
In ancient Britain, mistletoe was considered so sacred that
it could only be cut with a golden sickle. Today, Americans decorate doorframes
with this plant in hopes of catching a smooch from a sweetheart while standing
under its leaves. This tradition is credited to Frigga, the Scandinavian
goddess of love and beauty, and is said to date back to the eighth century.
What is America’s National Christmas Tree?
America's official national Christmas tree is not located at
the White House, but rather in King's Canyon National Park near Sanger,
California. The tree, a giant sequoia known as the General Grant Tree, was
designated the "Nation's Christmas Tree" in 1925. It is 267 feet high, 40 feet across its base,
and is estimated to be between 1,500 and 2,000 years old. In 1956, the tree was
declared a national shrine to honor the men and women of the U.S. military. As
a memorial, park rangers place a wreath at the base of the tree during the
Christmas ceremony, which has been held every year since
As you can see, there were many engaging facts to discover
about everything from Christmas trees to wreaths. In the next section, take
your Christmas trivia skills to the next level as you uncover facts about
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