Just in time for the holidays, this infographic tells all about the history of Christmas trees. The blurb at the top tells about the beginning of the Christmas tree, and we’re given a code (via colored Christmas lights) as to whether each entry on the timeline is a landmark tree, the invention of a decoration, something about Christmas culture, or a fact about the tree industry. Since this infographic is in a timeline format, it’s pretty hard to slap subheaders on the review, so we’ll just review some of the facts.
The first decorated Christmas tree appeared in Latvia in 1600. The first artificial tree, offered by Sears, Roebuck & Company, became available in 1883. It cost $.50for 33 limbs and $1.00 for 55 limbs.
In 1901, President Theodore Roosevelt said that it was bad to cut down trees for decoration. Lots of people wanted artificial trees after that.
In the 1910′s people used glass candle holders and candles to light their trees. Electric lights already existed, but they were dangerous AND expensive. Also in the 1910′s, over-harvesting led to shortages of evergreen trees, so tree farms started up in the 1920′s to meet demand. Also in the 1920′s, feathered trees hit the market. They were imported from Germany, and were available in miniature (2 inches tall) and full size (6 feet tall).
In 1923 they started decorating the National Christmas Tree. A storm knocked it over in 2011 so a new tree was planted.
In the 1930′s, the Brush company manufactured the first bristle trees. Also, in 1933, the tradition of the tree in Rockefeller Center started. The tallest one of those ever was a 30 foot spruce that held the spot in 1999.
In the 1940′s, the West Coast decided they wanted some more Christmas spirit, so they came up with flocking kits that made your tree look like it was covered in snow. Also in the 1940′s (1946, to be exact), bubble lights were invented.
In the 1950′s, aluminum trees came out as the first non-green artificial trees. Also in the 1950′s, Disneyland’s Main Street got its 60 foot tall tree for the first time. They used live trees until 2008, and then got eco friendly and started using artificial trees. Also in the 1950′s we met the Grinch for the first time (1957).
The 1960′s brought is A Charlie Brown Christmas, and because of that movie’s negative portrayal of artificial Christmas trees, there was a decline in sales. The power of the Peanuts.
In the 1970′s and 1980′s, plastic trees became available, offering a green alternative and seeing many, many sales. In 1980, the largest tree ever was lit in Gubbio, Italy. It was 650 meters tall, and used over 8.5 kilometers of cable. In 1989, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation came out, and is still one of the best-loved holiday films of all time.
The 1990′s saw a rise in the use of artificial trees – 46% of home used them. Fiber-optic trees were introduced in the 1990′s as well.
In 2000 US politicians debated as to whether or not to call Christmas trees Christmas trees. Sales boomed, however, and by 2004 58% of home used artificial trees. In 2007, over 17.4 million artificial trees were sold. In 2001, the industry saw the introduction of the lifelike polyethylene trees that are still popular today.
“Today, artificial trees range from lifelike to glamorous, complete with spinning motors, multi-colored lights, and polyethylene plastics.”
Who knew? Now we know the whole history of Christmas trees.
Source: Christmas Tree Market