Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Trees in the Nineteenth Century

By: Gwen Miner, Domestic Arts Supervisor The Christmas tree tradition dates back to 16th Germany. Most Americans in the first half of the 19th century would have found Christmas trees oddities. Eventually, Christmas trees gained popularity: 1850—“Godey’s Lady’s Book”, the most popular American women’s magazine published a print of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their family gathered around a tabletop Christmas tree. 1851—The first commercial Christmas tree vendor was a farmer who brought trees from the Catskills to New York City. 1856—President Franklin Pierce installs a Christmas tree in the White House. 1860—The December issue of “Godey’s Lady’s Book” publishes instructions on how to set up a Christmas Tree. Early Christmas trees were tabletop trees decorated with various edibles such as apples, gingerbread cut into shapes and home-crafted ornaments. Gifts were often hung on the tree.

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