10 December 2011
10th December: Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree
Today was the day to get a Christmas Tree in the Second Hand Rose house, very exciting. Mummy Second Hand Rose loves a real tree but Daddy Second Hand Rose isn't so keen, so they have settled for a tree outside and a fake one inside, that's diplomacy for you. They asked me if I wanted to go and get one with them and the answer straight away was 'no thanks', not after last year anyway. They dragged me to a garden centre not letting me look at the sparkly decorations inside and made me go outside in the cold to stare at about a hundred Christmas trees. Well let me tell you after spending about 40 minutes trying to decide on a Christmas tree, I wanted to wrap myself up in Christmas paper and post myself to a hot country.
So we walked around the trees looking at them, firstly none of us are Christmas tree experts so I have no idea what we were looking for. Personally I was just looking for one that a) wasn't wonky or b) would look good with a hell of a lot of tinsel and baubles on. We narrowed it down to three, then we found another one and then narrowed it down to two, but due to the fact that they were £60 each, after what felt like forever deciding we then went to another Garden Centre and got two really good trees, one for the inside and one for the outside that were cheaper. I was so relieved we finally had the trees that I nearly kissed the tree guy with a Christmas hat on. I know getting the tree is meant to be some magical thing, that's how its certainly portrayed in films, but let's face it most of us go and get the tree from B&Q.
So where has the tradition of picking a tree and hoovering up the pine needles all Christmas come from? Christmas Trees were a hit well belong all the advent, Christianity and pigs in blankets, years and years ago green trees had a special meaning to people in winter. People hung evergreen tree branches over their doors, a bit like how we put holly wreaths on the door which either fall down every time you open the door or poke you in the eye when you ring the doorbell. It was believed that evergreens would keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits and illness. The trees also reminded them of all the green plants that would grow again in the spring, plus not having to
wear twenty scarves, sadly onesie's weren't invented then.
Having a tree for Christmas can be tracked back to at least the 15th or 16th century in Germany. Some churches began to put up evergreen fur trees that were often decorated with fruit, nuts or pretzels which had been collected by the children on Christmas morning as gifts. A German priest called Martin Luther is said to have expand the tradition by adding decorations to symbolise the stars in the sky. Just to clarify this is not Martin Luther King I'm talking about, if it was that would have made him over 450 years old when he was famous and we all know that even the best wrinkle creams can't hide that age.
Acquiring a Christmas Tree really caught on in the Victorian times and by World War Two it was a staple in the British home at Christmas. In the 1st year of the war there was a shortage of wood, but the forest people promised there would be enough trees for Christmas. Trees were not only in houses, there were Christmas Tress in the underground where people escaped the bombs, people decorated the whole underground and sang carols to keep up the mood. By the fourth Christmas things were harder for people, so they had to use their initiative i.e get instructions from Stitchcraft magazine on how to make a Christmas Tree out of paper, paint and glue. I think the whole country deserves a Blue Peter badge for that.
In the 19th century Russia, France and England began to adopt the tradition, but American immigrants from Germany claim to have introduced Christmas trees as early as 1777. Due to flashing coloured lights not being invented yet, people lit candles in the branches of the tree. I bet they had to have a Fire Extinguisher at an easy reach and Fireman Sam on speed dial.
So when should we put the tree up? In many countries setting up the tree before the first day of winter (22nd December) is considered bad luck. However in a lot of countries like Australia and England people put the tree up on the 1st of December. In America after Thanksgiving some people get the Christmas decorations out the day after Thanksgiving.
Nowadays artificial trees have become popular, because they do not drop any needles and they help save the rain forest at tf colours complete with baubles, bows, ribbon and lights. You can get the lazy arse tree, sorry tree in a box here:Tree-in-a-box
So everyone enjoy putting up your Christmas trees, even if you do just take it out of a box every year.
Second Hand Rose