Liitle Know Facts on the History of the “Christmas Tree”

History of the First Christmas tree

Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria, set one up a Christmas tree in Windsor Castle in the late 1840s. But there are a report of Christmas trees appearing in the United States years before the royal’s set up their Christmas tree.

Charles Follen, a professor at Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is recognized as having put up a Christmas tree in his home in the 1835.  It is said that he cut off the top of a spruce and decorated it with paper ornaments and candles for his 3 year old son.

Another instance of the first decorated Christmas tree is credited to August Imgard, a tailor in Wooster, Ohio.  Imgard introduced the first decorated Christmas tree and candy canes to the US in Wooster, Ohio, way back in 1847.  He was born in the Bavarian mountains in Germany and came to America relocating to Ohio before he was 20 years old. The first tree was placed in the Imgard home, stood on a revolving platform and as the tree turned slowly, a hidden music box played a Christmas song.

His Bavaria Mother’s recipe for cookies called Kuchens were baked and hung on the tree.  They served both as ornaments and many more were made for snacks when guest arrived.  These cookies were decorated with brown sugar.  Another ornament on the tree at the time was gilded nuts; inside their shells were messages of warm greetings and poems.

August, a German-Swedish immigrant, also brought the Candy Canes to Wooster, Ohio.  They were referred to as sugar “crooks”.  The first historical reference to the candy cane being in America goes back to 1847, when he decorated the Christmas tree in his home with the candy canes for his nieces and nephews.   It took another half century before someone added stripes to the canes.   If you saw Christmas cards produced before 1900, they depict plain white canes.  The stripes did not appear on the canes in picture/cards until early in the 20th century.

“The American Confectioners’ Association officially recognizes Imgard as the first ever to put candy canes on a Christmas tree.”

Imgard is buried in the Wooster Cemetery where a Christmas tree is placed by his gravesite every Christmas.
According to the National Christmas Tree Association, Americans purchased more than 40 million Christmas trees last year.  Plus approximately 51 million artificial trees brought out of the attics or garages each year, and you have 91 million reasons to believe that putting up a Christmas tree is an American tradition that is not about to go away anytime soon.

The first Christmas tree skirts were not decorative at all.  They were generally mats placed under the trees to catch sap and wax drippings.

As time went on, tree skirts were handmade to add a decorative touch to the tree.  Today, you can find commercial manufactured and homemade tree skirts in every color or theme imaginable from sports themed for those die-hard fans to elegant materials such as lace, velvet or with the material made today even the cotton prints have become extraordinary.   They can have metallic threads woven into the material or sparkles throughout.

A Christmas tree skirt is a personal choice to be made by each and every one of us.  You can choose traditional prints, non-traditional themed designs; animal prints, or embroidered in any material you want to match your mood or décor.  They are as individual as each of us.

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