Christmas trees are one of my favorite things about Christmas time.  I LOVE Christmas trees.  Real ones, fake ones, white ones, trees with tinsel, decorated house plants pretending to be a Christmas tree, etc…  Basically any kind of Christmas tree (or anything that resembles one) elicits a smile and a happy feeling!  Even poor Charlie Brown’s pathetic little Christmas tree.

Who didn’t love that?  And way back, a long time ago, in college in Lubbock, the yucky, dirty tumbleweed decorated with a few crummy decorations and a string of lights in my apartment.  I loved it!

Now that I’m in my own home, with my own kiddos, I have what I consider to be a wonderful Christmas tree.  It is a fake one, so we have to use candles to get that wonderful Christmas tree smell, but it works for us.  And…we don’t suffer from any allergies.  It’s a perfect compromise for my family.

Every year, we turn on some festive Christmas music and spend many hours decorating our Christmas tree.  Yes…I said several hours.  It takes us a long time – for many reasons, one of which is the fact that I’m sure it’s no surprise to any of you reading this that I like to have photo documentation of the big event!  And…in addition to my photos, there seems to be a story with each little ornament that we recount each year.

You know, things like the little ornaments they made in preschool with their sweet little hand prints?  I know you all have something similar on your trees or wreaths!  Some of my favorite ornaments are those that my kids made with their teachers.

Perfect example - Zach made this hand print ornament in preschool! So...when we hang this one, we talk all about his preschool teachers, etc... So many memories!

Perfect example – Zach made this hand print ornament in preschool! So…when we hang this one, we talk all about his preschool teachers, etc… So many fun memories!

Once they left preschool, I wasn’t sure I’d ever get another school made ornament, but to my great surprise, we have gotten something to hang on the tree from all of our elementary classes too!  Even this year, in fourth grade, you know – real school!  I was so happy when my son came home with an ornament that he had made with his teacher.  Those made by my kids will always be my favorites.

Christmas Tree & Advent

We love our little Advent calendar! It’s become quite a fun tradition in our house!!

One of our favorite traditions in our house is our Advent Calendar.  Each night in December, we read a Christmas or holiday story book.  We sit down in front of the tree and read together (I’m amazed that they are still enthralled by these stories), and we talk about Advent, and then they open the little door on the calendar to find a small surprise!

Sometimes it’s a toy, and sometimes it’s candy.  The other night, my daughter picked a small picture book called Christmas Tree by Wendell & Florence Minor.

The book Christmas Tree is a sweet little story that starts out asking you to imagine that you are a Christmas tree.  Then it goes on to ask if you would be big or small, brightly lit, or in a parade?  And the story goes on and on.  So sweet.  But the part that I loved the most was after the story at the very end of the book.

On the last page, there was a title that said “A Few Little-Known Facts about Christmas Trees.”  A lot of times, I skip over things like this, but my kids wanted me to keep reading.  So I did.

We learned so many interesting things about Christmas trees.  Who knew there was so much history behind these wonderful decorations we put up in our homes each year for the holiday season!

Fun Facts We Learned About Christmas Trees:

  • The oldest known record of a Christmas tree is from 1551 in Strasbourg, Germany!
  • Decorations on some of the first Christmas trees consisted mostly of fruit, nuts, and candy.
  • Beginning in 1708, people used candles to light up their Christmas trees.
  • In America, the first known Christmas tree was in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in 1746.
  • In 1825, Pennsylvania was the first large American City to have a record of a Christmas tree.
  • Christmas trees first showed up in Boston in 1832, and they first showed up in Texas in 1846.
  • It was 1862 before Christmas trees showed up in San Francisco!
  • Throughout the 1890s, the tradition said that Santa Claus brought kids a Christmas tree on Christmas Eve when he delivered their toys.
  • In the year 1900, it is believed that only 1 in 5 homes had a Christmas tree.
  • By the 1930s, Christmas trees were much more common and could be seen all across America.
  • In 1901, electric lights began to appear on Christmas trees, and they have been lighting them up ever since!

The source for most of the above information comes from The Christmas Tree Book:  The History of the Christmas Tree and Antique Christmas Tree Ornaments by Phillip V.  Snyder.  Now, I immediately found myself interested in getting a copy of this book, but apparently it is in quite high demand and hard to come by.  The link is below.  I’m not sure I’ll ever get myself a hardback copy (which is what I prefer), but you can get a used paperback copy too.

I’m hoping that on one of my trips to the Half Price Bookstore, I will stumble across a hard back copy that I can pick up and keep in our Christmas books basket.  I would love to read some more interesting facts about these wonderful Christmas trees.  And…my kids were interested in more facts too.

In the meantime, I found quite a bit of fun information on the National Christmas Tree Association’s Website.  Yes…who knew there was a National Christmas Tree Association?  I sure didn’t, but they do have some fun facts listed on their website!

Can you believe that we sell about 25-30 million real Christmas trees sold in the U.S. each year?   And, there are about 35o,000,000 trees currently growing on Christmas Tree Farms in the United States?  These were all planted by farmers!

This fact surprised me – – it takes as many as 15 years to grow a 6-7 foot Christmas tree, or as little as 4!  The average growing time is 7 years though.  Wow!  That’s a long time, so for every tree that they harvest, most farmers plant up to 3 more seedlings!

Occasionally, they will pose for me so I can snap a quick picture! And on this occasion, Zach actually agreed to wear a Santa hat!

Occasionally, they will pose for me so I can snap a quick picture! And on this occasion, Zach actually agreed to wear a Santa hat!

And something we all need to know (if you have a real Christmas tree) is that there are more than 4,000 recycling programs for Christmas trees across the United States?  That’s one perk to having a fake tree – we just store it in our attic each year and pull it down when it’s time!

While I was reading up on Christmas trees, I realized that my Christmas tree is pretty traditional!  You know, most of the ornaments are things my children made over the years, and gifted ornaments from friends.  However, there are so many different ways to decorate your tree.  Lots of clever people out there.

If you want to see some crazy, exciting, and beautiful trees, check out the article titled 80+ Most Beautiful Christmas Tree Decoration Ideas found on the Tech Blog Spot Website.  There are some amazing trees pictured in this article (and some that seem kind of strange to me)!!!  What do you do for your tree?  I’d love to hear all about it!  Send some pictures too!

Most of the time, these are the types of poses I get from my kids! Oh well...at least it's a picture!

Most of the time, these are the types of poses I get from my kids! Oh well…at least it’s a picture!

Well…there you have it.  All the facts you didn’t know you wanted to know about Christmas trees, right?  I just thought it was interesting to learn about them after all these years of putting them up in my house as our main focus point for the holiday season!  Hope you enjoyed these little tidbits!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year to all of you!  Until next time…