Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Origins of the Christmas Tree - Part 2

Georgian Kings brought the first Christmas trees to England. Since the English didn’t like the German Monarchy, they didn’t copy their court by putting up Christmas Trees.

A few families did have Christmas trees as a result of the influence of their German neighbors. The Christmas tree didn’t grow in popularity among the English until the reign of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The German-born Prince had the family standing around the Christmas tree and it was illustrated in the London News. Since Queen Victoria was very popular, the tradition began to be copied and quickly spread from England to the shores of The East Coast in American society.

The first trees were decorated with silver tinsel, silver wire ornaments, small beads and candles. The decorations were home-made and young ladies spent hours working on Christmas crafts. They sewed little pouches for secret gifts, made paper baskets in which sugared almonds were placed and made beautiful angels to sit on top of the tree.

Glass ornaments appeared around 1870. They were imported from Thuringia to England and became a status symbol. The more glass ornaments on the tree, the better the social status. Flags also became popular to decorate the tree as the British Empire grew. Flags of allied countries as well as the Empire were hung on the patriotic trees.

In the 1800’s many innovations came along to change the Christmas tree forever. The introduction of electric lights in 1882 and metal hooks for hanging decorations on the tree safely are just a couple.

Come back tomorrow for Part 3.


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