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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

T is for Tree

Monday, December 11, 2023

Christmas trees to celebrate the season are the most common Christmas tradition in ways to decorate for the holidays. In the list of 26 Christmas traditions from A to Z, T is for Tree. Trees are so popular that many homes now have multiple Christmas trees.

is for Tree.

Decorated Christmas trees became popular in England during Queen Victoria's reign when her German husband, Albert, introduced Christmas trees in the royal family's Christmas celebrations. 

Shortly thereafter the new English tradition was copied by wealthy families in the United States. Each year the tradition spread to more American families. 

Fresh Trees Help the Environment

While artificial trees are gaining popularity, there are still 33-36 million fresh-cut Christmas trees harvested in the United States and 50-60 million produced in Europe each year. 

For people concerned about the environment, fresh Christmas trees have a lower carbon foot-print than artificial trees because during their growing years they absorb carbon emissions. For every tree cut as a Christmas tree, 1-3 are replanted each year adding even more trees to combat carbon emissions.  

Plus, fresh Christmas trees are biodegradable and return helpful nutrients to the soil as they decompose. Discarded fresh trees can be used as compost in gardens. Trees can also be turned into mulch to use around shrubs and other trees to protect their roots during the cold winter and to retain moisture during warmer months. 

Birds, bees, and small animals use decomposing trees as shelter and food during winter time. 

Many Homes Now Have Multiple Christmas Trees 

The popularity of Christmas trees continues to grow with many homeowners now decorating multiple trees. Main trees in living areas have presents under them, and a second tree in foyers, bedrooms, or dining areas may showcase special ornament collections. 

Table top trees are excellent for saving space. The Scandinavian minimalist look of bare branches and a tree topper owes its popularity in the United States to international social media sites such as Instagram. 

Another current popular look from European social media sites is fresh-cut small trees decorated only with strands of twinkling lights and a tree topper. 

Artificial Trees Come In Many Styles 

Large artificial trees that replace the grand fresh trees in homes continue to gain popularity throughout the United States, but small artificial trees also appear in homes. Special ornament collections such as this blue and white Wedgwood collection fill a small tree on a side chest of drawers. The tree is eye-level and allows closeup views of the details of beautifully made ornaments. 

Small white feather trees grouped with a white glass Eiffel Tower and a votive with an Eiffel Tower scene in Paris welcome visitors during the holidays. 

A toilet brush manufacturing company, Addis Brush Company, had the brilliant idea of dyeing brushes green and cutting them into the shape of Christmas trees in the 1930s. Bottle brush trees were popular until the 1950s, and vintage bottle brush trees pop up today in antique stores, thrift shops, and estate sales. 

In recent years bottle brush trees have once again become popular and can be found in a rainbow of colors. My collection of dark blue ones was found at Target four years ago and decorates my laundry room for Christmas. One tree has gold tipped branches, a second tree has large glitter, and the third one is a small simple tree with no accents. They coordinate with a vintage blue seltzer bottle from a Paris flea market and a single blue bell. 


Christmas trees are a sentimental Christmas tradition that often evokes feelings of love, comfort, and nostalgia as we gather around them to decorate them, to leave presents beneath them, and to celebrate Christmas with our families.