Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree –Day 23 Blog Challenge

oh christmas tree

As promised from my Day 22 Blog – Christmas trees from around the world!

While decorating my tree; I became mesmerized with all the ornaments and decorations and developed a keen interest in how far back the idea of these types of décor for this special occasions derived. As I dug deeper and deeper, I was so elated and filled with my own joy to read about the many cultures that brought so much to America for this glorious celebration.

So, I’m going to bring you on my personal journey through the wonderment of the Christmas Tree and it’s decorations from around the world through the centuries.

Christmas Trees Around The World

German settlers migrated to Canada from the United States in the 1700s. They brought with them many of the things associated with Christmas we cherish today—Advent calendars, gingerbread houses, cookies—and Christmas trees. As we learned on Day 22 – When Queen Victoria’s German husband, Prince Albert, put up a Christmas tree at Windsor Castle in 1848, the Christmas tree became a tradition throughout England, the United States, and Canada.
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gingerbread house
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In most Mexican homes the principal holiday adornment is el Nacimiento (Nativity scene). However, a decorated Christmas tree may be incorporated in the Nacimiento or set up elsewhere in the home. As purchase of a natural pine represents a luxury commodity to most Mexican families, the typical arbolito (little tree) is often an artificial one, a bare branch cut from a copal tree (Bursera microphylla) or some type of shrub collected from the countryside.
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The Norway spruce is the traditional species used to decorate homes in Britain. The Norway spruce was a native species in the British Isles before the last Ice Age, and was reintroduced here before the 1500s.
Norway Spruce Picea abies 2
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Christmas trees are imported, as no trees live this far north. Can you just imagine how expensive it would be to have a tree that was imported? They are decorated with candles and bright ornaments.
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The Christmas tree has joined the “Nacimiento” (Nativity scene) as a popular ornament because of the large German population in Guatemala. Gifts are left under the tree on Christmas morning for the children. Parents and adults do not exchange gifts until New Year’s Day.
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Although Christmas falls during the summer in Brazil, sometimes pine trees are decorated with little pieces of cotton that represent falling snow.
brazil cotton
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Christmas trees are bought anytime in December and decorated with colored lights, tinsel, and baubles. Some people favor the angel on top of the tree, others the star. The house is decorated with garlands, candles, holly, and ivy. Wreaths and mistletoe are hung on the door.
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Most people buy Christmas trees well before Christmas Eve, but it’s not common to take the tree inside and decorate it until just a few days before. Evergreen trees are decorated with stars, sunbursts, and snowflakes made from straw. Other decorations include colorful wooden animals and straw centerpieces.
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Nowadays Norwegians often take a trip to the woods to select a Christmas tree, a trip that their grandfathers probably did not make. The Christmas tree was not introduced into Norway from Germany until the latter half of the 19th century; to the country districts it came even later. When Christmas Eve arrives, there is the decorating of the tree, usually done by the parents behind the closed doors of the living room, while the children wait with excitement outside. A Norwegian ritual known as “circling the Christmas tree” follows, where everyone joins hands to form a ring around the tree and then walk around it singing carols. Afterwards, gifts are distributed.
norway circling tree
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Celebrated on December 25th by Catholics and on January 7th by Orthodox Christians, Christmas is the most popular holiday in the Ukraine. During the Christmas season, which also includes New Year’s Day, people decorate fir trees and have parties.
party decorating
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A popular Christmas custom is Catalonia, a lucky strike game. A tree trunk is filled with goodies and children hit at the trunk trying to knock out the hazel nuts, almonds, toffee, and other treats.
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Italy – My heritage country right here!
In Italy, the presepio (manger or crib) represents in miniature the Holy Family in the stable and is the center of Christmas for families. Guests kneel before it and musicians sing before it. The presepio figures are usually hand-carved and very detailed in features and dress. The scene is often set out in the shape of a triangle. It provides the base of a pyramid-like structure called the ceppo. This is a wooden frame arranged to make a pyramid several feet high. Several tiers of thin shelves are supported by this frame. It is entirely decorated with colored paper, gilt pine cones, and miniature colored pennants. Small candles are fastened to the tapering sides. A star or small doll is hung at the apex of the triangular sides. The shelves above the manger scene have small gifts of fruit, candy, and presents. The ceppo is in the old Tree of Light tradition which became the Christmas tree in other countries. Some houses even have a ceppo for each child in the family.
italy ceppo
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South Africa
Christmas is a summer holiday in South Africa. Although Christmas trees are not common, windows are often draped with sparkling cotton wool and tinsel
so africa
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Saudi Arabia
Christian Americans, Europeans, Indians, Filipinos, and others living here have to celebrate Christmas privately in their homes. Christmas lights are generally not tolerated. Most families place their Christmas trees somewhere inconspicuous. Thank God it hasn’t gotten to that point here in the United States.
saudi arabia
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Fresh pine trees are too expensive for many Filipinos, so handmade trees in an array of colors and sizes are often used. Star lanterns, or parol, appear everywhere in December. They are made from bamboo sticks, covered with brightly colored rice paper or cellophane, and usually feature a tassel on each point. There is usually one in every window, each representing the Star of Bethlehem.
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Of the small percentage of Chinese who do celebrate Christmas, most erect artificial trees decorated with spangles and paper chains, flowers, and lanterns. Christmas trees are called “trees of light.”
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For most of the Japanese who celebrate Christmas, it’s purely a secular holiday devoted to the love of their children. Christmas trees are decorated with small toys, dolls, paper ornaments, gold paper fans and lanterns, and wind chimes. Miniature candles are also put among the tree branches. One of the most popular ornaments is the origami swan. Japanese children have exchanged thousands of folded paper “birds of peace” with young people all over the world as a pledge that war must not happen again.

Origami Ornaments on the Christmas Tree at the American Museum of Natural History
Origami Ornaments on the Christmas Tree at the American Museum of Natural History

more japan
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Stay Tuned for Part 3 on Day 24 of this Blog Challenge –
Christmas Tree Trivia

I’m having a blast! This is so much fun to know – especially at this time of year!


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