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Demaris Hill

on 17 December 2013

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Transcript of Christmas

The origins and legends
of Christmas trees
History of Ornaments
and how they changed
Associated with Saints
Christmas Trees & The Story of Christmas
Christmas Tree makes its way to Europe & U.S.

The Christmas Tree Began Where???
Represents the tree whose wood was made into the cross used to crucify Jesus

Origins to the original Tree of Knowledge

Ancient Roman celebration - Saturnalia
Evergreens used as decoration and the
holiday ended December 25th
The Romans & Christians
St. Christopher - An illustration from around 1600 A.D. shows him carrying the christ child on his shoulder passing under a leafless tree with a variety of fruit, candy, baskets, and what looks like glass ball ornaments

Joseph of Arimathea - went to Britain around December 63 A.D. to bring christianity . . .legend has it he took his staff made of Hawthorn thrust it in the ground where it immediately took root and bloomed. This particular variety only blooms at Christmas time - the Glastonbury Thorn
A German Institution
Despite the Glastonbury Thorn

Early 1800's evergreens were
found in German homes

Decorated with apples representing
the Garden of Eden tradition

also used nuts & berries that
were eaten by the children of
the family
Candlelights were added to incorporate the tree further into the story of Christmas

Martin Luther is said to have been
the first to add lights to help his
children understand the stars in
Heaven from which Jesus came
1848 the Illustrated London News published a drawing of the royal family celebrating around a decorated Christmas tree, a tradition that was reminiscent of Prince Albert's childhood in Germany.

Soon every home in Britain had a tree bedecked with candles, sweets, fruit, homemade decorations and small gifts.

The practice of hanging up stockings in the chimney corner for Kriss Kringle to fill with toys, pretty books, bon-bons, &c, for good children, and rods for naughty children, is being superseded by that of placing a Christmas Tree on the table to await the annual visit of the
worthy Santa Klaus.
Advertisement in the 1845 Book Kris Kringle's
Christmas Tree: A Holiday present for boys and girl
1840 Queen Victoria included a tree in the Royal
families celebration in honor of her German born
husband, Prince Albert

Extensive in the U.S. by the late 1840's aided
partially by the publication of Kris Kringle's
Christmas Tree in 1845
1856 first tree in the white house was erected by Pierce
1913 first true national tree inaugurated by Wilson
he idea of an "official" tree didn't happen until President Calvin Coolidge moved the tree to its present location near the White House - and ceremoniously switched on the newly insatlled elcetric lights
The Evolving Christmas Tree
Various varieties of Evergreens have been used

Ecology has also played a role in the type of tree in American homes

Artificial trees became popular in the U.S. after 1913

In the 50's and 60's aluminum trees gained popularity
Natural Trees used include Pine, Spruce, and Fir
President Roosevelt banned live trees from the White House as he thought the forests were in danger of being overcut
Initially artificial trees were made by companies that made industrial strength bottle brushes
First Artificial Trees were created in the 1800's in Germany and were feathers dyed green.

Late 50's Early 60's saw the advent of Aluminum Trees w/a revolving color wheel and specially designed ornaments
Ornaments got their start in the
early 1800's and were fruit
(mainly apples) and nuts.

Americans would string long
strands of popcorn or cranberries
for the tree
In the late 1800's German entrepreneurs began to mass produce ornaments that were strictly for Christmas
A prominent glass making area "Lauscha" became the hub of ornament making
In addition to barometers, canes, goblets, etc., companies began making ornaments
The earliest ones replicated fruits & nuts but soon began to make hearts, stars, and other shapes
The earliest German Glass Ornaments were imported to America by F.W. Woolworth

Started in the 1880's by 1890 the Woolworth's Five & Dime store was selling $25 million worth of them
Artisans in Dresdan were making ornaments out of pressed and embossed paper

Other ornaments were made of pressed tin with brightly colored lithographed surfaces (much like the mechanical toys coming out of Germany during that time)
The Pickle Ornament
hidden in the tree
the first one to spot it got an extra present or other lore says it would bring good luck

an illustration of Queen Victoria and her family around a Christmas published in "Godey's Lady's Book" December 1860 inspired Brits and Americans

The ornaments were handmade and instructions for these ornaments could be found in popular magazines

Commercial ornaments were gaudy . . .brightly colored angels, children, animals, elves, etc.
Late 1930's German Businessman Max Eckhardt and a representative from Woolworth's persuaded the Corning Company (Corning, NY) to find a way to make American glass ornaments

Corning had a type of machine that could make thousands of light bulbs out of a ribbon of glass
Original ornaments were lacquered on the outside then sent to other companies to be decorated
Later ornaments were "silvered" inside
Corning glass ribbon machine - on display at The Henry Ford, America's greatest history attraction in Dearborn, MI
By 1940 Corning was making about 300,000 ornaments a day

During this time Max Eckhardt established an all American company - Shiny Brite

During WWII material shortages caused the company to decorate clear glass balls simply with thin stripes in pastel colors

And later the sturdy metal cap that held the hook for hanging was changed to cardboard
Ornaments became more diverse with time. . .the common trait was "cuteness"

1973 Hallmark began it's Keepsake Collection leading the way for a flood of "commemorative" ornaments

Today Entrepreneur Christopher Radko has recreated much of the Shiny Bright Collection after having discovered many of the historic glass molds from Czechoslovakia & Germany

For many years the main source of ornaments
was Woolworth's, Kresge & Neisner's

A large variety of ornaments were sold for 10 to
20 cents

Department stores such as Macy's, Gimbel's, Marshall Field's and Wanamaker's created limited edition commemorative ornaments each year and purchase
was limited
The Star - representative of the star of

The Angel - representative of the angel
that appeared to the shepherds

Blown Glass Spire - the spire on cathedrals
Full transcript