2023 Home For The Holidays

Page 29 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022 an evergreen fir with apples tied to its branches.” These trees were sometimes left up through the Christmas season. Various reports of pine boughs cut for decorations, laws against excessive cutting of pine boughs for decoration, Christmas tree markets, and indoor decorated trees appear in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries throughout the region that became Germany. First introduced to the United States by German settlers, initially Christmas trees were relatively rare to be found and were viewed by most Americans as an oddity, at best, and a pagan symbol, at worst. Things changed abruptly in the mid-19th century. As Time magazine reports, “the image of a decorated Christmas tree with presents underneath has a very specific origin: an engraving of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and their children gathering around a Christmas tree, eyeing the presents underneath, published in the Illustrated London News in 1848. The premier women’s magazine in America back then, Godey’s Lady’s Book, reprinted a version of the image a couple of years later as ‘The Christmas Tree.’” Queen Victoria and her royal family were very popular and, therefore, very influential both in the United Kingdom and across the pond, making an impact on trends, behaviors, and, in this case, new traditions. Decorated Christmas trees become popular immediately in both the U.K. and in America. They were first sold commercially in the U.S. in 1851, cut down from existing forests. By the 1890’s glass ornaments were being imported to the U.S. from Germany, and Americans also enjoyed making homemade Christmas ornaments, along with stringing popcorn, cranberries, and nuts. Europeans tended to celebrate with small Christmas trees of four feet or less or even table top trees. However, in true American “Go big or go home” style, Americans wanted their trees floor to ceiling. Tree decorations featured not just crafts, glass, and edibles, but also candles. As in lit candles. As in dead trees were brought inside wood-framed houses and decorated with fire. Unsurprisingly, this led to many house fires at Christmas time. Fortunately, not long after inventing the incandescent light bulb, Thomas Edison constructed the first strand of electric lights in 1880, which he strung outside his New Jersey laboratory. However, it was his business partner who put them to Christmas use in 1882, according to the Library of Congress. Edward H. Johnson, “Edison’s friend and partner in the Edison’s Illumination Company, hand-wired 80 red, white and blue light bulbs and wound them around his Christmas tree. Not only was the tree illuminated with electricity, it also revolved.” In 1903, General Electric offered for sale the first pre-assembled lights for the regular consumer to purchase. Although European by origin, America staked its own claim in the Christmas tree field: the United States seems to be the first to erect giant public Christmas trees to celebrate the season. The first on record is in New York City in the 1910s, but the most famous are probably the National Tree and the Rockefeller Center Tree. Fourteenth President Franklin Pierce was the first to decorate an evergreen outside the White House in 1850, twenty years before Christmas became a federal holiday, and President Benjamin Harrison was the first to bring a Christmas tree indoors to celebrate the season with his family. The first to host the National Tree Lighting Ceremony at the White House, however, was President Calvin Coolidge, who lit a balsam fir tree Continued --