The origins of the Christmas tree

The Christmas tree has an ancient tradition that is traced back to the Germanic peoples. They used to celebrate the Winter Solstice (December 21st) by going into the woods and cutting off a fir tree as a propitiatory rite. Carried into the house, the fir tree was decorated with garlands and sweets: in short, a real ancestor of our Christmas Tree.  From the ancient to the medieval world it was later assimilated by Christianity. The derivation of modern usage from these traditions, however, has not been proven with certainty. The earliest historical references to the Christmas tree tradition can be found in Germany in 1570 and in 1605, where it bears witness to Christmas trees decorated with paper roses, apples, waffles, candies and sugar cubes. In 1660 we have the first testimony of a tree decorated with candles. However, it is the city of Riga, capital of Latvia, which is the site of the first Christmas tree in history (there is a plaque written in eight languages, according to which the “first New Year tree” was decorated in the city in 1510). Prior to this first “official” appearance of the online Christmas shop tree, however, we can also find a medieval religious tradition celebrated in Germany on December 24th, where the squares and churches of trees with fruit and symbols of abundance were filled to recreate the image of the earthly Paradise. This medieval tradition of the Tree of Paradise is one of the many mysteries of the Middle Ages. He told the story of Creation and the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. The scenic furniture that represented Paradise lost was a tree, often a fir tree, to which hung apples and round wafers imitating the consecrated host. Even when the mysteries fell out of favor people kept their memories alive by decorating a tree of Paradise in their homes on December 24th, the feast of the saints Adam and Eve.

The White House Christmas Tree

The tradition of the Christmas tree arrived in the United States during the War of Independence, along with the Germanic troops who fought alongside the British. It is said that in 1804 American soldiers in Fort Deaborn, Illinois, erected a Christmas tree, but it was the Germans who remained in the United States to spread the custom of decorating a fir tree. Only in 1850, however, the Christmas tree could be considered widespread throughout the United States; before this date it was considered only a tradition coming from abroad.

The National Christmas tree

In the United States the ignition of the Christmas tree is a national media event, as well as the prelude to a month of festivities and shows. This event, which since 1925 was broadcast live on radio, since 1946 has become a television show, followed every year by millions of people, and broadcast back into the world in 34 languages. The first national Christmas tree was illuminated on December 24, 1923, under the Coolidge presidency. The tree had previously been positioned in the Ellipse, the oval garden south of the White House, in November of the same year. On Christmas Eve, President Coolidge activated the switch and turned on the lights, in front of a crowd of three thousand spectators.

In 1932 some carefully hidden speakers were installed in the tree, used to spread all around Christmas songs. The tree, for all the years in which this tradition was carried out, was baptized “the singing tree”, and always attracted thousands of visitors. Due to some urban transformations, the lighting ceremony was moved to Lafayette Park in 1934, north of the White House. Instead of using a new tree every year, from 1934 to 1938 it was decided to decorate one of the 23 firs alternately near the statue of Andrew Jackson. In 1939 the ceremony returned to the more spacious garden of the White House, Elisse. In December 1941, following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Prime Minister Winston Churchill was present at the time of the ignition alongside President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In wartime, from 1942 to 1944, the blackouts prevented the ignition of the tree. Moreover, due to the restrictions due to the war, new decorations were not installed; they used old ones, many of them donated by the pupils of the capital. From 1948 to 1951, President Truman spent his Christmas holidays at his home in Missouri, and only in 1952 he lit the tree directly from the White House. From 1954 to 1973, trees cut at the base of the trunk were used every year; subsequently, following the protest of many citizens and environmental groups, we used live trees, transplanted in Elise. In 1973 the tree was donated by the National Arborist Association, with the idea of using from that moment onwards always that single plant, so as not to have to uproot others. But in 1976, unfortunately, he began to die, and the next year the new tree was destroyed by a storm. In 1978 a Colorado spruce was planted, which is still used today. In 1963 Lyndon Johnson postponed the ignition of the tree at the end of the national mourning period following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter announced that no lights would be lit until the liberation of American hostages from the embassy in Iran. The General Electrics, which every year since 1962 provided the lights and ornaments, had also created a system of lights and visual effects, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Edison’s invention, the incandescent bulb, but the tree still remained turned off.

In 1980 the tree was lit for only 417 seconds, to symbolize all the days of imprisonment of the hostages. When the hostages were released, in January of the following year, the tree was redecorated and illuminated in time for their return, In March 1981, President Ronald Reagan was the victim of an attempted murder, and consequently for security reasons, the ignition of the tree, for that Christmas, was carried out from within the White House. This year President George W. Bush turned on the tree lights on December 6th. Ignition from beginning to three weeks of musical events; this year there will be artists like Sara Evans (best female voice of the Academy of Country Music), the very young Julian Ivey (star of Broadway) and Holly Stell (nicknamed “the little Pavarotti”), and then the band of the US Air Force, gospel choirs and dancers. The Christmas tree, illuminated by low-consumption LEDs, will be lit from dusk until 11.00 pm, every day, until the first of January.

The tree of the White House

In addition to the tree placed in the Elisse, a tree is chosen each year to be placed inside the White House, in the so-called Blue Room. The selection is particularly rigid, and takes place among tens of millions of Christmas trees. The tradition of placing a Christmas tree in the White House dates back to December 25, 1889, with President Benjamin Harrison. What was born as a simple and intimate moment of reunion for the President’s family, became a real ritual that has been repeated since then year after year. The decorations of this tree have always reflected the tastes and the will of the presidential family: it was the First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy who gave rise to the Christmas tradition, when in 1961 she decorated the tree with pretty toys inspired by the work “The Nutcracker” of Tchaikovsky. The theme of the last Christmas were the holidays in the American national parks. The tree in the Blue Room of the White House was decorated with 347 hand-decorated objects, representing historical sites, parks, monuments, beaches and national parks.

Christmas is coming and decorating the theme house is perhaps the fun part. The Christmas period opens the doors to the renovation of the house. The decorations, the tree, and the thematic decorative elements bring a breath of novelty in furnishing, even if temporary. It is therefore important to choose the decorations well, in order to have a stylish home, which offers suggestive atmospheres and embodies the Christmas meaning in all its facets. Christmas decorations should match the style of the home and, often, it is difficult, especially if you have a sober and classic decor. The Shabby Chic style is the perfect combination of vintage and modern, between elegant and innovative, between the taste of yesterday and that of tomorrow. So why not think of a Shabby-style Christmas tree for this year?

Shabby Chic style: history and characteristics

Shabby Christmas tree total white Shabby Chic was born in Britain, already in the early 80s. The mold is very reminiscent of the discreet English elegance, the tasteful and refined taste of the old-fashioned villas of England. It was used a lot in country houses. Over time it has attracted the attention of the city market and has become a fashion much followed and appreciated by the bourgeois and upper-class families. In Italy, the Shabby Chic style has only been around for a few years. It comes from the concept of renovating old objects and furniture, without distorting their original shapes and decorations. It is characterized by rounded forms, very rococo, and decorations, inlays, and numerous, majestic, showy carvings, typical of a few centuries ago. Another fundamental characteristic of Shabby style are the colors: strictly white, in all its nuances and pastel nuances extremely soft. The third fundamental characteristic, in order to define a Shabby Chic object, is the aspect, which must look dusty, as if it had just been recovered from an attic.

How to decorate a Shabby Chic style Christmas tree

white and pink shabby Christmas treeRiding on fashion you can choose to set up a Shabby Christmas tree for this year. The winning move would be to buy a white fir. Alternatively, by using spray cans, you can sprinkle a classic green Christmas tree. To create a Shabby-style Christmas tree, one must think of majesty, abundance, and wealth. It is important to load the decorations fir, fill it, abound with bows, ribbons, and balls. The Shabby tree must overflow, give the idea of celebration, of fullness.

The predominant color must be white,n all its forms. A particularly captivating version is that which involves the introduction of some pieces in light pink: a delicate combination, particularly bright and of great impact. As a color to combine with white, gold can also be dared, which recalls the concept of richness and abundance, silver, a turquoise blue or a very light green. The general advice is: if the fir tree has white branches, yes to the decorations in two colors like white and a choice of colors. If, instead, has the green, the total white decorations are better.

Shabby fabric hearts with pocket

They are delicious little hearts in fabric that recall in all respects the true essence of Shabby. They seem really out of the hands of a lady from the English countryside of the 80s. These are little hearts covered in raw cotton, to hang on the Christmas tree. The base is white, but they are enhanced by a passementerie in antique lace, and by inserts in dove-colored fabric finely decorated with small polka dots. At the center of the heart stands an insert in dove gray fabric, decorated with a big button. The seams have a slightly frayed effect, like old and worn. The effect is that of “hand-made object from grandma”, exactly in line with the concept that Shabby Chic wants to bring to the world.

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