Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Tree Fun

Hello everyone! Since Christmas is right around the corner and everyone is gearing up for the big day (assuming you celebrate Christmas), I figured I'd do a fun blog post with some interesting facts about Christmas Trees as a last hurrah before the big day!

Every year, there's a classic debate amongst people: Real tree vs Fake tree. People on each side will argue why they choose to go either way when selecting a tree whether it be environmental reasons, money, convenience, or just plain personal preference.
When I was growing up, we always had a real tree and it was a tradition every year to go pick out a tree, usually at a local place that was selling pre-cut trees. A couple times, we ventured to a tree farm and cut down our own but either way we always had the smell of pine in our house, and even one year a bird's nest from our live tree. When the King and I started our own tradition, we went for a fake tree...(what I'm trying to say here is I've been on both sides of the debate!) although last year we bought our first real tree since we got married.
You tell me, which is the real tree in the pictures below?

Real or Fake???



Real or Fake???



Anyways, first, a brief lesson on the history of Christmas Trees: It really began with the Winter Solstice (aka the longest night of the year) which takes place on Dec 21 or 22. Ancient people believed that the Solstice was a turning point and that spring, with all it's life and greenery would be here soon so they decorated the inside of their homes with evergreen boughs. Germany is credited with starting the Christmas Tree tradition when Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Closer to home, the Germans who settled in Pennsylvania in the 1830s are credited with displaying the first Christmas Trees in the United States.  If you want to learn even more (and I know you do!!), check out this great article from History.com.

Now here's a couple facts about trees:
1. Typically, it takes 8 to 10 years of nurturing to grow a full size Christmas Tree - when I first read this, it really made me think about all the effort that goes into creating these trees that we enjoy looking at for only 3 or 4 weeks in our house.

2. You can buy a live tree in a pot for your house so you can plant it outdoors after Christmas is over, but beware that if you keep the tree inside for more than a week, it may come out of dormancy (trees don't really grow during the cold months) while in your house and when you go to plant it outside, it probably won't survive.

3. In many cities and towns, a tree drop off/pick-up is offered after Christmas - usually the trees are gathered, processed through a chipper and used for mulch (recycling!!!)

And to make sure I'm keeping it local:
4. The tree on the Boston Common is an annual gift from the people of Nova Scotia (since 1971) as a thanks to Boston for providing emergency aid when it's capital, Halifax was devastated by an explosion caused by a ship collision in Halifax Harbor in 1917.
5. The Boston Common tree for 2012 is 45 feet tall and has 6,000 LED lights. Isn't it pretty? Check out this cool slide show from Boston.com with photos of Christmas Trees on the Common over the last 40 years.

Boston Common Tree


6. Remember the lights in Lowell over the Wannalancit Mills that looked like a Christmas Tree? The lights were up for about 10 Holiday seasons until it became financially unfeasible in 2010. It'd be cool if they could somehow bring it back again. (update 12/26 - the tree is back - shows you how much I get out after dark!)
(photo from Boston.com) 


Ok, well I could go on and on about trees but I like to keep my blog posts as light reading and not an encyclopedia so I'll end it here.

Question: The obvious question for this blog post... what is your tree preference? Real or fake??

Last Words: I hope everyone out there has a wonderful holiday and a very Happy New Year. I'll be taking next week off but I will be back with more blogging after January 1st! Merry Christmas!!

http://middlesex.junk-king.com

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