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The Spirit of Christmas — A Christmas Tree

Updated on May 29, 2014

An Type of Christmas Tree - Noble Fir

Noble Fir
Noble Fir | Source

Would Christmas be complete for you without a Christmas tree?

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Christmas Without a Christmas Tree?

No! Definitely, not! Xmas without a tree is not a Xmas!

Can you imagine memorable and magical Christmas without a Christmas tree? OK, I can imagine it, but I prefer real Xmas and a proper tree. However, it does not matter if the tree is a natural one…

A Christmas tree can have different forms. When there is no other possibility, even few bare branches of a tree, or springs of holly, decorated with ornaments will make it. They add a homely feel to the festive season.

The Legend of a Christmas Tree

It was the 8th century in Germany. Pagans were worshiping a sacred oak tree. St Boniface cut the tree. Suddenly, from the roots of the old oak a fir tree sprung up. Now the pagans decided to worship this tree, and they decorated it with edibles. They converted to Christianity and were celebrating, instead of the winter solstice, Christmas in the future.

It was the legend; however, the real roots of a decorated Christmas tree are coming from the 15th century in Latvia, Estonia, Norden Germany and Poland.

The idea of a Christmas Tree was brought to Great Britain through George III's Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz in the early 19th century. Later, decorating and illuminating a tree for Christmas became popular in the whole world.

A decorated Christmas tree
A decorated Christmas tree | Source

Real or Artificial Tree?

The fresh pine scent feels definite more like the real essence of Christmas, and it is environmentally friendly too. Christmas tree farms are producing not only the trees for the festivities. Their by-product is… OXYGEN! Lot’s of Oxygen. This is good.

After Christmas, your tree would be chipped and used either for a compost or as mulch. This is also a positive solution.

Producing an artificial tree is not environmentally friendly. It is made usually from petroleum-derived plastic (PVC = polyvinyl chloride). However, The American Christmas Tree Association ACTA found out, “the best way to reduce one's carbon footprint is to choose an artificial Christmas tree and to use it for ten or more years.” You can read here more about it.

Which tree is going to stand in your home during the Christmas days?

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A Pencil Tree - An Artificial Christmas Tree

A Pencil Tree CC-BY via flickr
A Pencil Tree CC-BY via flickr | Source

Douglas Fir

Douglas Fir
Douglas Fir | Source

Grand Fir

Grand Fir
Grand Fir | Source

The Artificial Christmas Tree

This is your choice to opt, which tree you select. Should you prefer this solution, you can choose from many possibilities. Here are few of them.

  • Spindly tree, looks like a maple without leaves and is also named, pre-lit glitter paper tree. It is a contemporary alternative to the traditional Christmas tree. For example, see the image below, with white LED lights covering the branches.
  • Frosted branches tree, it is a snowy-look tree, and it gives you the promise for a gorgeous white Christmas.
  • If you are short on space, choose a corner tree. It is ideal for smaller places, and it gives a quarter size of a normal tree.
  • Pencil tree (see the image above) is also suitable for tightest space. It features a super slim Christmas tree silhouette.
  • Pre-lit Christmas trees, have integrated LEDs into the branches.
  • Choose a tree with hinged limbs, which are drawn down from the center. They do not need to be hooked into the trunk.
  • Do you want a colored tree? You will find many colors to choose and to create your own style. There are silver, black, pink, or rainbow trees among others.
  • Fiber optic Christmas trees.
  • Antique aluminum Christmas trees were produced in the 20th century in the US, mostly in Chicago.
  • Antique feather Xmas tree — made by using dyed green goose feathers. They were the first artificial trees developed during the 19th century in Germany.
  • Upside down trees.
  • Tree-shaped objects made from wood, cardboard, glass, ceramic or other materials.

Nordman Fir

Nordman Fir
Nordman Fir | Source

Fraser Fir

Fraser Fir
Fraser Fir | Source

Norway Spruce

Norway Spruce
Norway Spruce | Source

Blue Spruce

Blue Spruce
Blue Spruce | Source

The Real Christmas Tree

We have quite a few types of real Christmas trees. The most common are:

  • Douglas Fir (see the image above), named also Oregon pine or Douglas tree, is often trimmed to a perfect cone. The needles are long, soft, shiny and encircle the delicate and easy to bend branches. Maybe they are not strong enough for Christmas ornaments.
  • Noble Fir (see the image above), its strong foliage allows easily to hang ornaments, and its fresh scent is appreciated during the festivities.
  • Grand Fir (see the image above) does have long needles, soft branches – it is like Douglas fir, when you want to use ornaments on it, not the best tree for Christmas.
  • Nordman Fir (see the image above) does have broad, dark green foliage and strong branches. The needles do not drop easily, this is why, Nordman Fir handles warm temperatures well and stays longer fresh.
  • Fraser Fir (see the image below) does have firm branches, soft, silvery-green needles, and gentle fragrance. The tree does not lose its leaves easily, and it has been used oft as the official Blue Room Christmas tree of the President of the US
  • Norway Spruce (see the image below), it is a tree with light green foliage and does have an excellent shape. It needs a lot of watering to stay fresh and to preserve its needles.
  • Blue Spruce, or Colorado Blue Spruce (see the image below), does have sharp needles and needs to be well watered because it tends to lose its leaves.
  • Balsam Fir (see the image below) it is a tree with a pleasant aroma. The tree retains its needles for a long time. Its flexible branches might not support heavier ornaments well.
  • Eastern White Pine (see the image below), it is a tree with long needles and weak branches. It is not the best Christmas tree; however, it holds its needles to an extensive degree well.
  • Norfolk Island Pine (see the image below) is a tree not for everybody. Some people are developing a strong allergy when touching the leaves of this tree. It is a very unusual and beautiful tree. It comes from Norfolk Island, which is situated between New Zealand, Australia, and New Caledonia. This distinctive conifer is not a true pine. It belongs to an ancient tree family. The tree does have soft and flowing texture of its branches.

Balsam Fir

Balsam Fir
Balsam Fir | Source

Eastern White Pine

Eastern White Pine
Eastern White Pine | Source

How to Take Care for My Real Christmas Tree?

  • First, determine where your tree will stand. Keep it away from any type of radiators or fireplaces.
  • Before buying, be sure how much space you can afford for a tree. You need the height and width. Measure the height of your room and deduct at least one foot. This will be the maximum height of your tree. Remember that the tree is going to e placed in a stand and usually gets a Christmas tree topper on top of it.
  • Buying a tree keep your eyes open. Do not buy a tree already packed in a netting cover. You must see the form and shape of the tree; you want also check the branches and needles. Are they looking fresh? They should not look dry. When you shake the branches, is the tree losing its needles?
  • At home, keep the tree in a cold place. Put its trunk in a bucket of cold water.
  • Bringing your tree in, cut one inch off the trunk. It opens up the pores and will help to absorb water.
  • Water your tree and keep watering it. It is easy to do when you use a festive Christmas tree stand. Think of your tree as it would be a bunch of flowers. It might need one, two, or even three pints of fresh water per day.

Norfolk Island Pine

Norfolk Island Pine
Norfolk Island Pine | Source

Two Another Options for Real Christmas Trees

  • Root-balled trees are dug out with their roots and soil and put in a plastic wrapping. Such tree will stay longer fresh. You can temporarily move it in a pot or bucket, add some earth into, water it well, and keep doing it during the whole holidays. After Christmas plant it in a garden.
  • Potted Christmas trees, or tree grown in a container, can be repotted in a bigger container after Christmas, or it can be planted in a garden. It is up to you. Potted trees are usually small, not higher than 3 ft. Keep the tree watered as it would be a pot plant.

Have I forgotten or missed something? Please write your own ideas and information about Christmas trees in comments below.


© 2012 Maria Janta-Cooper


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