Real Christmas Trees: Some Family
Traditions Just Don't Fade Away
Celebrating the Holiday Season with a
Real Christmas Tree is a long-standing
tradition. Each year, 25 to 30 million
American families celebrate the holiday
season with a fresh, farm-grown Real
Christmas Tree. Real Christmas Tree
enthusiasts believe the aroma of a Real
Christmas Tree is a strong reminder and
symbol of life, family traditions, and
the innocence of childhood itself.
Much like other crops provide food for
the body, the aroma of a farm-grown Real
Christmas Tree provides food for the
Understanding the Legends and History
The use of evergreens as a symbol and
celebration of life during Winter
Solstice celebrations started in ancient
Roman and Egyptian times. This practice
evolved over the centuries to be
incorporated in the celebration of
Christmas in the Germanic areas of
The first recorded display of a
decorated Real Christmas Tree was in
1510, in Riga, Latvia. Christmas Trees
were decorated with fruit, cookies and
candy that would later be shared among
family members as gifts after the
Holiday Season was over.
By the 1700's, the tradition of
celebrating the holidays with a Real
Christmas Tree was widely used
throughout Europe. Decorations included
lace, ribbon, tin, food items and lit
candles. Hessian mercenaries brought the
tradition to the United States during
the Revolutionary War.
In 1804, U.S. soldiers stationed at Fort
Dearborn, in Chicago, used evergreen
trees in their barracks for Christmas.
The popularity of the Real Christmas
Tree then proliferated. In 1856,
Franklin Pierce, our 14th President,
brought the Real Christmas Tree
tradition to the White House.
Since 1966, members of the National
Christmas Tree Association have
presented a beautiful, fresh Real
Christmas Tree to the President and
First Family. This tree is displayed
each year in the Blue Room of the White
House...no doubt filling the room with
the aroma of life, family traditions and
childhood innocence shared by so many
others during the holidays.
Now in the 21st Century, the tradition
of families choosing their centerpiece
of holiday celebrations has become
generational, inheritable and
transferable. Many tree farmers and
retailers across America witness this
phenomena first-hand each year.
"When a young couple marries and buys a
Real Christmas Tree for their first
holiday together in their own home, it
makes for an interesting discussion,"
says Diana Carpenter, member of NCTA and
owner of Peacock Road Tree Farm in
Laingsburg, MI. "They can spend all day
discussing how ‘my family always chose a
tree’, and ‘what my family always did on
this day’ and so many other traditions
that they must blend together into new
Lately, many in the Real Christmas Tree
business report that people are showing
a tendency toward more family
involvement and tradition and many
customers are returning to a real tree.
QUICK FOLKLORE & HISTORY FACTS
1510, the first decorated Real
Christmas Tree is in Riga, Latvia.
Early Christmas Trees are decorated
with paper, fruits and sweets.
1531, the first retail Real
Christmas Tree lots are started in
By the 1600's, Christmas Trees are
decorated with ribbon, tin shapes,
small books and lace as well as
18th century, the first recorded
Real Christmas Tree decorated with
1777, the tradition of the Real
Christmas Tree is brought to
Colonial America by Hessian troops
fighting for Britain in the
1804, U.S. soldiers stationed at
Fort Dearborn (now Chicago) bring
evergreen trees into their barracks
1842, Charles Minnegrode introduces
the custom of a decorated Real
Christmas Tree in Williamsburg, Va.
1851, Mark Carr opens a retail Real
Christmas Tree lot in New York City,
the first in the United States.
1856, Franklin Pierce, our 14th
President, brings the first Real
Christmas Tree into the White House.
1923, President Calvin Coolidge
starts the National Christmas Tree
Lighting Ceremony now held every
year on the White house lawn.
1966, members of the National
Christmas Tree Association start the
tradition of presenting a Real
Christmas Tree each year to the
President and First Family.