I live just a few blocks from the State Capitol so each year I see the State Christmas Tree go up in front of the Capitol building
Nominations are requested by July 1 and the tree must meet the criteria listed below:
- must be a spruce or a fir
- must be at least 65 feet tall
- have a maximum crown diameter of 30 feet
- have a maximum trunk diameter of 30 inches.
- must be made available at no charge.
Great Moments in Christmas Tree History
- The use of evergreen trees to celebrate the winter season occurred before the birth of Christ.
- The first decorated Christmas tree was in Riga, Latvia in 1510.
- The first printed reference to Christmas trees appeared in Germany in 1531.
- Besides evergreens, other types of trees such as cherry and hawthorns were used as Christmas trees in the past.
- Using small candles to light a Christmas tree dates back to the middle of the 17th century.
- Thomas Edison’s assistant, Edward Johnson, came up with the idea of electric lights for Christmas trees in 1882. Christmas tree lights were first mass-produced in 1890.
- In 1856 Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States, was the first President to place a Christmas tree in the White House.
- President Coolidge started the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on the White House lawn in 1923.
The United States of Trees
- In the United States, there are more than 12,000 Christmas tree growers.
- There are approximately 350 million Christmas trees growing on U.S. farms.
- Approximately 100,000 people are employed full or part-time in the Christmas tree industry.
- 30.8 million live Christmas trees were purchased in the United States in 2011, with a real market value of $1.07 billion.
- The mean average purchase price of a live tree in 2011 was $34.87.
- Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Washington, New York, and Virginia were the top Christmas tree producing states in 2009. Oregon was the leading producer of Christmas trees with 7.34 million trees in 2008.
- 170,000 acres of land in the United States were in Christmas tree production in 2009. Oregon led the nation with 40,000 acres, and Illinois 2,000 acres in production.
- Christmas trees are grown and harvested in all 50 states.
- Michigan ranks third (1.6 million trees in 2007) among all states in the production of real Christmas trees, but grows a larger variety of Christmas trees than any other state.
It is a widely held belief that Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. Walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles.
Most 19th-century Americans found Christmas trees an oddity. The first record of one being on display was in the 1830s by the German settlers of Pennsylvania, although trees had been a tradition in many German homes much earlier. The Pennsylvania German settlements had community trees as early as 1747. But, as late as the 1840s Christmas trees were seen as pagan symbols and not accepted by most Americans.
The influential Oliver Cromwell preached against “the heathen traditions” of Christmas carols, decorated trees, and any joyful expression that desecrated “that sacred event.” In 1659, the General Court of Massachusetts enacted a law making any observance of December 25 (other than a church service) a penal offense; people were fined for hanging decorations. That stern solemnity continued until the 19th century, when the influx of German and Irish immigrants undermined the Puritan legacy.
In 1846, the popular royals, Queen Victoria and her German Prince, Albert, were sketched in the Illustrated London News standing with their children around a Christmas tree. Unlike the previous royal family, Victoria was very popular with her subjects, and what was done at court immediately became fashionable—not only in Britain, but with fashion-conscious East Coast American Society. The Christmas tree had arrived.
Cleveland family Christmas tree around 1896, White House
White house Christmas Tree 1947
Well Now I guess I should get my tree set up
Happy Tree Decorating