history of a Christmas tree
Spruce up your holiday with a fresh native tree from one of the over 100 Christmas tree farms in Connecticut! The refreshing scent of a local tree will fill the house with an unmatched fragrance and will hold its needles until the last festive day is over.
The tradition of celebrating the Holiday Season with a Real Christmas Tree dates back some 500 years. Approximately 33 million American families will celebrate this holiday season with a fresh, farm-grown Christmas Tree. Evergreen trees symbolize everlasting life, and the aroma of a Real Christmas Tree evokes strong memories of family traditions and the innocence of childhood. Much like other crops provide food for the body, the aroma of a farm-grown Christmas Tree provides food for the soul.
The use of evergreens as a symbol and celebration of life during Winter Solstice celebrations started in ancient Roman and Egyptian times. This practice evolved over the centuries to be incorporated in the celebration of Christmas in the Germanic areas of Europe. The first recorded display of a decorated Christmas Tree was in 1510, in Riga, Latvia (established by Germans in 1210). Christmas Trees were decorated with fruit, cookies and candy that would later be shared among family members as gifts after the Holiday Season was over.
By the 1700’s, the tradition of celebrating the holidays with a Christmas Tree was widely practiced throughout Europe. Decorations included lace, ribbon, tin, food items and lit candles. The tradition was brought to the United States by Hessian mercenaries during the Revolutionary War. In 1804, U.S. soldiers stationed at Fort Dearborn, in Chicago, used evergreen trees in their barracks to celebrate Christmas.
The popularity of the Christmas Tree then proliferated. In 1856, Franklin Pierce brought the Christmas Tree tradition to The White House. In 1923, Calvin Coolidge started the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony now held every year on The White House lawn.
Since 1966, members of the National Christmas Tree Association have presented a beautiful, fresh Real Christmas Tree to the First Family. This tree is displayed in the Blue Room of The White House, filling it with the aroma of life, family traditions and childhood innocence.
Usually Christmas trees begin life in a nursery where superior seed is planted and grown to two-year-old seedlings. The seedlings are then taken from the nursery beds and replanted in Christmas tree plantations. While growing, Christmas trees provide many environmental benefits. They replenish the Earth’s oxygen supply, serve as wildlife habitat, increase soil stability and provide a valuable and aesthetically pleasing improvement to the land. Each year the young trees are shaped or pruned. The average growing time is 6 -10 years for a tree to grow into a well-shaped 6-8 foot tree depending on species and other factors including soil and weather conditions.
The “choose and cut farm” has helped to renew the tradition of the entire family selecting and cutting the Christmas tree. The whole family can have great fun in the process of choosing a tree. The preferred species of tree is often handed down, generation to generation. A few simple procedures can make the selection and care of a fresh, natural Christmas tree more fun and the best value for your money.