Birth trees make perfect birthday and new baby gifts

Understanding the Trees for Birth Months

Trees are special and provide a plethora of benefits both environmentally and economically. But did you also know that your birth tree can determine your personality? According to some, especially the Celtic druids, the date of your birth is tied to the lunar calendar and is related to the formation of one’s personality and behavior.

Before we delve into the meaning of each tree, first a little history. Trees have always had a special place in Celtic history. Living trees have played a central role in the practical daily and spiritual lives of the Irish people for centuries. Irish myth, story and music abound with references to trees and their being the home of fairies and spirits. Travelling the Irish countryside, as I have done many times, one is sure to find hand-crafted fairy homes scattered about the forest, always bringing a huge smile to my eyes.

Trees served as landmarks and icons of family and clan identity, and their importance can be measured by the great number of tree-based place name in Ireland – of the 16,000 towns in Ireland, 13,000 are named after trees! All this demonstrates the degree to which trees were understood and valued by the culture.

Celtic Birth Trees

The Celtic druids had a profound connection with trees and believed they were vessels of infinite wisdom. They felt the entire universe existed in the form of a tree. The roots grew deep below, representing the past. The trunk sat in everyday life, representing the present. The branches reached up high into the heavens, representing the future and afterlife. They developed Celtic tree astrology based on the lunar calendar, so it has thirteen astrological signs rather than twelve. Accordingly, the Druids designated a tree to each of the thirteen moon phases in their calendar and associated each tree with a type of personality. They even determined which signs were most compatible.

Ready to Get Started With The Gifted Tree?

Take a little time and discover more about your birth tree and the personality traits associated with it and with what other birth tree(s) you are most compatible. Let us know if you agree.

January Birth Tree

The Rowan Tree: January 22 – February 18

Rowan Tree Leaves

Rowans are the philosophical minds in tree astrology. Rowans can be planted near doors and ward off evil and were thought to guard the gateway to the spirit world. Rowans are keen visionaries with high ideals. You are highly influential in a quiet way and others look to you for your unique perspectives. Their inner passion and burning creativity will get them noticed if they are patient in expressing what is inside them. Others will be impressed by their unique perspective and Rowans are highly influential.

Best match: Rowans pair well with Ivy and Hawthorne signs.

 

February Birth Tree

The Ash Tree: February 18 – March 17 

Ash Tree Leaves

Ash are free thinkers. Imaginative, intuitive, and naturally artistic, they see the world in water-color purity. Ash tend to be moody and withdrawn at times, but that’s only because their inner landscape is in constant motion. They are in touch with their muse, and are easily inspired by nature. Likewise, Ash inspire all that they associate with and people seek them out for their enchanting personality. Art, writing (especially poetry), science, and theology (spiritual matters) are areas that strongly interest Ash. Others may think they are reclusive, but in all honesty, they are simply immersed in their own world of fantastic vision and design. Ash are in a constant state of self-renewal and rarely place a value on what others think about them.

Best match: Ash pair well with Willow and Reed signs.

 

March Birth Tree

The Alder Tree: March 18 – April 14

Alder tree Leaves

Alders are pathfinders. They will blaze a path before anyone else with a burning passion. Alders are outgoing, have buckets of charm and mix well with different types of people. Not only do they get along well with everybody, others are attracted to them. Alders have faith in themselves and this makes them an attractive person to be around.  Alders really hate waste and are uncomfortable with superficial people who aren’t the real deal.

Best match: Alders pair well with Hawthorns, Oaks and Birch

 

April Birth Tree

The Willow Tree: April 15 – May 12

Willow Tree

Willows are highly creative, intuitive and intelligent. They have a keen understanding of cycles, and inherently know that every situation has a season. This gives them a realistic perspective of things, and also causes them to be more patient than most tree signs. With their intelligence comes a natural ability to retain knowledge and impress their company with the ability to expound on subjects from memory. It is Willow’s powers of perception that ultimately allow their true nature to shine, and what leads them to success in life.

Best match: Willow pair well with the Birch and the Ivy.

 

May Birth Tree

The Hawthorn Tree: May 13 – June 9

Hawthorn Tree Leaves

Hawthorns have a split personality. On the outside, they present themselves as a normal neighbor, but on the inside, they are wildly creative and passionate. They are good at adapting to changing life situations. They are good at making themselves content and making others content as well. Hawthorns are naturally curious, great listeners, funny have a good sense of both irony and silliness.

Best match: Hawthorns pair well with Ash and Rowans.

 

June Birth Tree

The Oak Tree: June 10 – July 7

Oak Tree Leaves

Oaks have a special gift of strength. They are protective people and often become a champion for those who do not have a voice. In other words, the Oak is the crusader and the spokesperson for the underdog. Nurturing, generous and helpful, they exude an easy confidence and naturally assume everything will work out to a positive outcome. They have a deep respect for history and ancestry, and a love to impart their knowledge of the past to others, and thus, many Oaks become teachers. Oaks live long, full, happy lives and enjoy large family settings and are likely to be involved with large social/community networks.

Best match: Oaks pair well with the Ash and Reed, and are known to harmoniously join with Ivy too.

 

July Birth Tree

The Holly Tree: July 8 – August 4

Holly Tree Leaves

Hollys are regal, noble and often take on positions of high status and leadership. Hollys have perseverance and never shy away from a challenge. They are hardly ever defeated simply because they keep trying until they get what they want as well as being competitive and ambitious even in the most casual settings They are very intelligent and breeze through intellectual challenges. Hollys are very kind and generous to a fault.

Best match: Hollys pair well with Ash and Elder for balance and partnership.

 

August Birth Tree

The Hazel Tree: August 5 – September 1

Hazel Tree Leaf

Hazels are highly intelligent, organized and efficient. Like the Holly, they are naturally gifted in academia, and excel in the classroom. They have the ability to retain information and can recall, recite and expound on subjects they have memorized with amazing accuracy. Sometimes they appear as a know-it-all to others, but they can’t help that; they are genuinely smart and usually know the right course of action because of an impressive knowledge base. Hollys have a gift for numbers, science and subjects that call for analytical skills. Although they like rules, they are typically making them rather than playing by them.

Best match: Hazel pair harmoniously with Hawthorns and Rowans.

 

September Birth Tree

The Vine: September 2 – September 29

Vine Leaves

Vines are born within the autumnal equinox, making their personality unpredictable, full of contradictions and often indecisive. This is due to their ability to see both sides of the story and empathize with each side equally. It is hard to pick sides because they can see the good points on each end. That being said, Vines are certain about enjoying the finer things in life such as food, wine, music, and art. Vines, while seemingly aloof and detached, are very romantic inside.

Best match: Vines pair well with Willow and Hazel.

 

October Birth Tree

The Ivy: September 30 – October 27

Ivy Leaves

The Ivy’s most cherished quality is the ability to overcome all odds. They have a sharp intellect, but more obvious is their compassion and loyalty to others. They have a giving nature and are always there to lend a helping hand. Ivys endure troubling times with silent perseverance and soulful grace. Indeed, Ivys have a tendency to be deeply spiritual and cling to a deep-rooted faith that typically sees them through adversity. They are soft spoken, but have a keen wit, are charming and charismatic

Best match: Ivys pair well with Oak and Ash.

 

November Birth Tree

The Reed: October 28 – November 24

Reed Leaves

Reeds are great at keeping secrets. They can dig deep to find the real meaning of things and discover the truth. People born under this Celtic tree sign love a good story, gossip and scandals. This makes them perfect historians, journalists, detectives, and archaeologists. They have the ability to find the core of things and strip every layer of the story. However, they tend to be a bit manipulative at times, but still have a strong sense of truth and honor.

Best match: Reeds pair well with other Reeds, Ash or Oak.

 

December Birth Tree

The Elder Tree: November 25 – December 23

Elder Tree Leaves

The Elder is a wild child, loving freedom. Elders are thrill seekers for the majority of their lives. They are also outspoken and refuse to be pressured by others into anything. They need constant mental and physical challenges. Furthermore, Elders are very thoughtful and considerate of others and genuinely strive to be helpful.

Best fit: Elders pair well with Alder and Holly.

 

New Year Holiday Birth Tree

The Birch Tree: December 24 – January 21

Birch Tree Leaves

Birch are high energy, highly driven, and often motivate others. They become easily caught in their zeal, drive and ambition. They are always reaching for more, seeking better horizons and obtaining higher aspirations. Birch (just like the tree) are tolerant, tough, and resilient. They are cool-headed and are natural-born leaders, often taking command when a situation calls for leadership. They also bring beauty in otherwise barren spaces, brightening up a room with their  guile, and charming crowds with a quick wit.   

Best fit: Birch pair well with Vine and Willow.

Now that you know about one’s Birth Tree and their associated personality traits (with help from What’s Your Sign), what better way to celebrate someone’s birthday or the birth of a new born than by planting a tree as a birthday present in celebration. Not only does The Gifted Tree make it easy, but our unique tributes announce the planting to the honoree in a way fit for a regal celebration and worthy of a majestic birth tree. Check it out.

Man and dog walking in the forest

Much has been written about the importance of trees and one would be hard-pressed to refute their benefits. Trees are simply amazing. They clean air and water, reverse the impact of land degradation, prevent species loss, and ease poverty by helping communities achieve long-term economic sustainability by providing food, energy, and income. They even provide something as simple as shade to enjoy a picnic. Finally, planting trees is one of the easiest and most important way to help stave off the effects of climate change.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, trees also provide other benefits which have always been there but are now coming more in focus. Trees can help provide a stress relief during these crazy and unusual times.

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has certainly caused people’s stress level to skyrocket. Fear and anxiety about an unseen virus and what could happen can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. I am sure there are many like me who worry about our health and the health of loved ones. That stress along with financial and job worries, changes in sleeping and eating patterns and difficulty in sleeping can be overwhelming, causing anxiety and the need for release.Forest stream winding its way through the trees

Take my suggestion and get outside, and even better, if possible, take a walk in the forest! Numerous studies in the U.S. and around the world are exploring the health benefits of spending time outside in nature, green spaces, and, specifically, forests. (Some study results mentioned in this blog are detailed by the State of NY Department of Environmental Conservation.) Recognizing these benefits, the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, in 1982, even coined a term for it: shinrin-yoku. It means “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing,” and the ministry encourages people to visit forests to relieve stress and improve health. And it is essential to take care of your emotional health to help you think clearly and help other family members cope with stress.

As outlined below, research evidence continues to mount on how spending time outdoors makes us healthier. It’s important to make time to get outdoors as well, since doing so is beneficial — maybe essential — for human health. Psychologists and health researchers are finding more and more science-backed reasons we should go outside and enjoy the natural world.

Exposure to forests boosts our immune system. While we breathe in the fresh air, we breathe in phytoncides, airborne chemicals that plants give off to protect themselves from insects. When people breathe in these chemicals, our bodies respond by increasing the number and activity of a type of white blood cell that kill virus-infected cells in our bodies.

Spending time around trees and looking at trees reduces stress, lowers blood pressure and improves mood. While I make it a habit to take a weekly hike in the nearby forests, even just looking at trees has therapeutic effects. Researchers found that taking in natural sights significantly decreased the scores for anxiety, depression, anger, confusion and fatigue. And because stress inhibits the immune system, the stress-reduction benefits of forests are further magnified.

And you don’t even have to spend a lot of time outdoors (or be doing strenuous exercise) to soak in its effects. New research at Cornell University has found that as little as 10 minutes in a natural setting (just sitting or walking) can help college students feel happier and lessen the effects of both physical and mental stress. They found that 10-50 minutes in natural spaces was the most effective to improve mood, focus and physiological markers like blood pressure and heart rate.

Green spaces in urban areas are just as important as rural forests. You say you don’t have access to the wide-open forests. No worries. If you are like me and the other 85% of the US population who live in suburban and urban areas, gardens, parks and street trees make up what is called an urban and community forest. These pockets of green space are vitally important because they are the sources of our daily access to trees. Take some time and chill in these urban green spaces.

Reflection of leaf creating heart shape on tree barkBeing out in the sunshine will provide you with the vitamin D that your body needs. There is not a lot of vitamin D in the foods we eat, but exposure to the sun can do the trick, at least to some degree. Even in winter it is important for your body to be exposed to the sun’s rays. So when the snow starts flying, bundle up and get outdoors for a while. You will feel better and your mood will improve.

Spending time in nature helps you focus. Our lives are busier than ever with jobs, school, and family life. Trying to focus on many activities or even a single thing for long periods of time can mentally drain us, a phenomenon called Directed Attention Fatigue. Spending time in nature, looking at plants, water, birds and other aspects of nature gives the cognitive portion of our brain a break, allowing us to focus better and renew our ability to be patient. Furthermore, when you move your body, you produce endorphins that will help you feel good.

Finally, a number of studies help demonstrate other benefits of being among the trees including performing better on creative tasks, ability to focus better ( including helping children with ADHD), lowering blood pressure, protecting your vision, help fight anxiety and depression, eliminate fatigue, reduce body inflammation, improving short-term memory. Finally, hospital patients with “green views” recover from surgery faster, take fewer painkillers and had better post-surgical results.

Yes, there are many ways to destress, but few as easy and inexpensive as walking outside in nature. A simple solution to cope with stress during the global pandemic- spend some time outdoors where you can breathe in the fresh air of nature. Make it part of your daily or weekly routine. Go to the forest, take a walk along a river or around a lake. I guarantee, you’ll feel better and a little less stressed.

Forest lake with reflection of trees and clouds

Newly cut down forest at a deforestation area with trunks and branches lying on the ground, in spring sunlight and blue sky

Forest fires and its resulting deforestation from tree loss are continually in the news. We read about the fires in Australia, the Amazon Rainforest and here in the United States. Unfortunately, as June is rolling into July, look for another busy wildfire season in the West. A relatively dry fall and winter coupled with mountain snowpacks that melted faster than normal, and overall warmer and drier-than-average conditions forecast this summer will keep firefighters busy.

Fact: In 2015, global forest cover fell below ten billion acres for the first time in human history.

Major deforestation is not only caused by forest fires, however. What is deforestation, technically? Deforestation is the permanent removal of trees to make room for something besides forest. This can include clearing the land for agriculture or grazing, or using the timber for fuel, construction or manufacturing.

Fact: Every year, more than 20 million football fields’ worth of forests (15 billion trees!) continue to be cut down.Stacks of trees cut down as the result of deforestation

Forests cover more than 30% of the Earth’s land surface, according to the World Wildlife Fund. These forested areas can provide food, medicine and fuel for more than a billion people. Worldwide, forests provide 13.4 million people with jobs in the forest sector, and another 41 million people have jobs related to forests. Forests are a resource, but they are also large, undeveloped swaths of land that can be converted for purposes such as agriculture and grazing. In North America, about half the forests in the eastern part of the continent were cut down for timber and farming between the 1600s and late 1800s, according to National Geographic.

Fact: At the current rate of deforestation, Earth’s rainforests, including the Amazon, could be completely gone in 100 years.

That’s bad news for everyone, especially for the 1/2 of the world’s terrestrial flora and fauna and 3/4 of all birds that live in and around forests. Additionally, 70% of land animals and plant species live in forests. The trees of the rainforest that provide shelter for some species also provide the canopy that regulates the temperature. Destruction of these forests along with its resulting change in temperature has a devastating effect on the forests’ inhabitants.

Deforestation in tropical regions can also affect the way water vapor is produced over the canopy, which causes reduced rainfall. A 2019 study published in the journal Ecohydrology showed that parts of the Amazon rainforest that were converted to agricultural land had higher soil and air temperatures, which can exacerbate drought conditions. In comparison, forested land had rates of evapotranspiration that were about three times higher, adding more water vapor to the air.

Fact: industrial agriculture accounts for around 73% of deforestation worldwide. The majority of this can be attributed to meat (particularly beef cattle), soy, and palm oil.

Meat producers clear vast swaths of forest to graze their livestock and in turn, the production of livestock feed accounts for 80% of the soybeans grown—and you may be surprised to learn that poultry and pigs eat up almost as much of that soy as cattle does.

Many forests are also cleared to make way for palm oil plantations. Palm oil is the most commonly produced vegetable oil and is found in half of all supermarket products. It’s cheap, versatile and can be added to both food and personal products like lipsticks and shampoo. Its popularity has spurred people to clear tropical forests to grow more palm trees. Deforestation to make way for a Palm Oil PlantationGrowing the trees that produce the oil requires the leveling of native forest and the destruction of local peatlands, increasing harmful effects on the ecosystem.

Fact: One mature tree can consume 48 pounds of carbon a year!

Forests play a critical role in mitigating climate change because they act as a carbon sink—soaking up carbon dioxide that would otherwise be free in the atmosphere. Trees also absorb carbon dioxide, mitigating greenhouse gas emissions produced by human activity. As climate change continues, trees play an important role in carbon sequestration, or the capture and storage of excess carbon dioxide. Tropical trees alone are estimated to provide about 23% of the climate mitigation that’s needed to offset climate change, according to the World Resources Institute, a nonprofit global research institute.

But once trees are chopped down, all that absorbed carbon gets released right back into the atmosphere.  Deforestation, therefore, not only removes vegetation that is important for removing carbon dioxide from the air, but the act of clearing the forests also produces greenhouse gas emissions. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations says that deforestation is the second-leading cause of climate change. (The first is the burning of fossil fuels.) In fact, deforestation accounts for nearly 20% of greenhouse gas emissions. Stopping deforestation, then, is absolutely critical if we want to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Solution: Develop alternatives to deforestation, such as sustainable farming, to decrease the need for tree clearing.Earth design with words There Is No Planet "B"

As large amounts of forests are cleared away, allowing exposed earth to whither and die and the habitats of innumerable species to be destroyed, the indigenous communities who live there and depend on the forest to sustain their way of life are also under threat.

The loss of forests has an immediate and direct effect on their lifestyle that we in the highly industrialized parts of the world, despite our own dependency on what the rainforest provides, will never know. The level of immediacy is exponentially greater for indigenous peoples.

If communities in developing nations were able to adopt sustainable farming practices or employed new farming technologies and crops, the need for more land might be diminished, according to the UN’s Sustainable Forest Management Toolbox.  Indigenous people and local forest communities are on the front line of the battle for the forests they call home. When you plant your trees through The Gifted Tree in Africa and Asia, the project not only is replacing trees, but is educating community members, especially the youth, as to the long-term benefits of trees. Areas of education include farmers being trained in best tree planting methods, nursery preparation, farm conservation and finance, and irrigation management. They also learned methods and techniques to protect trees to withstand local climatic conditions and thus help to ensure the newly planted trees’ long-term survival. Most of these individuals have no knowledge of proper land management techniques, but this training will be a significant factor in the fight against deforestation.

Solution: Plant More trees.Replanting trees in deforested areas

Forests can also be restored, through replanting trees in cleared areas or simply allowing the forest ecosystem to regenerate over time. The goal of restoration is to return the forest to its original state, before it was cleared, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The sooner a cleared area is reforested, the quicker the ecosystem can start to repair itself. Afterward, wildlife will return, water systems will reestablish, carbon will be sequestered and soils will be replenished. Remember, trees help control the level of water in the atmosphere by helping to regulate the water cycle. In deforested areas, there is less water in the air to be returned to the soil. This then causes dryer soil and the inability to grow crops.

If done correctly, reforestation can restore damaged ecosystems, stabilize soil and soil erosion, support the water cycle, reduce coastal flooding and slowly recover the vital ecosystem services that depend on. Trees also help the land to retain water and topsoil, which provides the rich nutrients to sustain additional forest life. Planting new trees is, ultimately, an investment in future forests and is the calling and mission of The Gifted Tree!

 

 

Funeral flowers have always been the traditional bereavement gift to send when someone loses a cherished loved one. Sometimes, however, flowers are not appropriate or practical to send. As I write this during the COVID-19 pandemic, many flower shops are shut down and funeral services are extremely small if they are able to take place at all. However, now is an important time to send loved ones we’re separated from a memorable experience. Our deepest condolences go out to those affected by this crisis.

Gift trees planted in memory of a person or pet are a perfect remembrance gift and serve as an ideal alternative to sending flowers. Trees are still being planted in areas around the world where it is safe to do so or will start up again as soon as the conditions are right. The Gifted Tree plants in 30 plus countries around the world on six continents, and all of these areas are in desperate need of reforestation.

I have come up with five reasons why gift trees make unique flower alternatives which I will discuss more in depth below. I am sure there are more, but let us just focus on the five below:

Gift Trees Make a Powerful and Everlasting Tribute

Fresh flowers are beautiful and smell wonderful, but the fact of the matter is that they do only last a short period of time. Those sent from a florist are the freshest and best but will not survive much longer than a week. Furthermore, I have been at wakes and funeral services where the grieving family is inundated with flower arrangements. They have no way to transport them from the funeral home back home, nor do they have the space is their home to set them all out. Numerous times, because I am usually the last to leave, I am handed an arrangement to take simply because there is no other alternative except to throw them out.Dead Flower Arrangement

A gift tree on the other hand can last for 100 years or more and grow from a sapling to a majestic living monument.

Gift Trees have a Lower Price Point

This is not meant to be disrespectful to the floral industry as I realize there are a lot of factors that go into the price of a flower arrangement from transportation, to labor, to waste. However, it is hard to place an order for an arrangement that is less than $100, especially if one has to add in the cost of delivery. And this is not for a giant arrangement. Furthermore, if one wants to send a funeral wreath or casket spray, the cost can run much much higher. Again, all beautiful, but not necessarily within everyone’s budget.

Gift trees can create a memorable experience and at a much lower price point. Plantings with a unique certificate sent to the family start at $12.95 at The Gifted Tree, and on average run between $29 – $34.

Gift Trees are Good for the Environment

While the flower industry is certainly making inroads on the environmental front, the fact is that a lot of flowers currently are not grown locally but grown overseas. Shipping them stateside has a huge carbon footprint impact. Pesticides is another issue as the flower industry is one of the largest users of pesticides in the world. Pesticides can have both an adverse effect on workers, as they rarely have training on the safe use and handling of the chemicals, plus, the runoff of the pesticides into nearby lakes and streams pose a threat to water systems. Finally, there is the issue of waste to consider, and I am not just talking about stems that are discarded or dead flowers that are pitched. Think about the non-biodegradable foam that is used to hold the arrangements in place and the protective plastic wrap that is used.

Gift trees not only show the recipient that you care but are a gift to the world too. Simply, the environmental benefits of trees are enormous, including helping the air that we breath and the water that we drink.

Gift Trees are Practical Even Months After the Funeral

It is sad to say, but in this day and age with friends and acquaintances spread out over the globe, sometimes I do not hear of a death until weeks after the fact. I catch wind of it on social media or I finally get a phone call with the news. The funeral service has long since passed and visitation is no longer. At this point, it would not be appropriate to send flowers to the residence of the family of the deceased.

Planting a gift tree accompanied by our beautiful presentation certificates makes sense and is always appreciated even months after the service. It even makes sense to plant a tree in memory a year later, marking the year anniversary of the death. So, if you are late to the process, there is no reason to fret as the planting of a gift tree will still be appropriate and appreciated.

Gift Trees Show You Care during the Difficult Time of Bereavement

Sure, sending flowers can help during this tough time, but planting a memorial gift tree has all the above added benefits which make it the perfect alternative to flowers. As one recipient of our gift tree packaged noted: “The tree planting certificate presentation is much more than a card, it is a whole experience that provided me comfort at a time of grieving.”

Remember, speaking of creating a memorable experience, sending gift trees for happy occasions is always a perfect alternative also. If you have any doubts, check this out for the right time to send a gift tree.

From all of us at The Gifted Tree, please stay safe and healthy!

Brilliantly colored Cherry Blossom trees with Mt. Fuji in the background

Christmas Tree Farm

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree …

We all know the song, but do we know that there are 25 – 30 million real Christmas trees sold in the United States every year. And currently there are an additional 350 million trees growing on Christmas tree farms in this country on approximately 350,000 acres of green land. We will get back to some more fun facts in a moment, but where did this industry get its start? An industry that supports 15,000 Christmas tree farms and employs over 100,000 full and part-time people. (Full disclosure: you can not plant a gift tree on a Christmas tree farm with The Gifted Tree, but we do plant in 30+ countries.)

The History of the Christmas Tree

The history of the Christmas Tree stretches back over 2,000 years, and according to historian Deemer Cass of the London-based Fantastic Gardeners, Christians weren’t the first to admire and decorate Christmas trees. Pagans used to worship evergreen trees as a symbol of fertility.  Plants and trees that remained green all year had a special meaning for people in the winter. Just as people today decorate their homes during the festive season with pine, spruce, and fir trees, ancient peoples hung evergreen boughs over their doors and windows. In many countries it was believed that evergreens would keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits, and illness.

According to History.com, Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition, as we now know it, in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Some built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles if wood was scarce. It is a widely held belief that Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. Walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles.

How did the tradition come to America?

Christmas Tree on a Boat

Most 19th-century Americans found Christmas trees an oddity. The first record of one being on display was in the 1830s by the German settlers of Pennsylvania, although trees had been a tradition in many German homes much earlier. The Pennsylvania German settlements had community trees as early as 1747. But, as late as the 1840s Christmas trees were seen as pagan symbols and not accepted by most Americans.

In 1846, History.com reports that the popular royals, Queen Victoria and her German Prince, Albert, were sketched in the Illustrated London News standing with their children around a Christmas tree. Unlike the previous royal family, Victoria was very popular with her subjects, and what was done at court immediately became fashionable—not only in Britain, but with fashion-conscious East Coast American Society.

The Christmas tree had arrived.

By the 1890s Christmas ornaments were arriving from Germany and Christmas tree popularity was on the rise around the U.S. It was noted that Europeans used small trees about four feet in height, while Americans liked their Christmas trees to reach from floor to ceiling.

The early 20th century saw Americans decorating their trees mainly with homemade ornaments, while the German-American sect continued to use apples, nuts, and marzipan cookies. Popcorn joined in after being dyed bright colors and interlaced with berries and nuts. Electricity brought about Christmas lights, making it possible for Christmas trees to glow for days on end. With this, Christmas trees began to appear in town squares across the country and having a Christmas tree in the home became an American tradition.

Christmas tree fun facts

Christmas Tree Farm in Winter with SnowChristmas trees have been sold commercially in the United States since about 1850.

It can take as many as 15 years to grow a tree of typical height (6 – 7 feet) or as little as 4 years, but the average growing time is 7 years.

Christmas trees are grown in all 50 states including Hawaii and Alaska. The top Christmas Tree producing states are Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Washington.

The tallest living Christmas tree is believed to be the 122-foot, 91-year-old Douglas fir in the town of Woodinville, Washington.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree tradition began in 1931 but had humble beginnings. According to The New York Times, the tradition started during the Great Depression when construction workers put up a mere 20-foot tree in the plaza and decorated it with paper garlands, strings of cranberries, and tin cans. Today, a Norway spruce no taller than 100 feet is chosen every year, is laden with over 25,000 Christmas lights and topped with a Swarovski crystal star that weighs more than 9,000 pounds.

Franklin Pierce, the 14th president, brought the Christmas tree tradition to the White House. While in 1923, President Calvin Coolidge started the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony now held every year on the White House lawn.

Since 1966, the National Christmas Tree Association has given a Christmas tree to the President and first family.

77 million Christmas trees are planted each year, and on average, over 2,000 Christmas trees are planted per acre.

Other types of trees such as cherry and hawthorns were used as Christmas trees in the past.

Thomas Edison’s assistants came up with the idea of electric lights for Christmas trees instead of traditional candles. It stood in Edison’s power plant in Manhattan, set on a rotating box so that passersby could see all 80 blinking red, white, and blue lights. In 1882, no one had seen anything like it.Christmas Tree Lights

In 1963, the National Christmas Tree was not lit until December 22nd because of a national 30-day period of mourning following the assassination of President Kennedy. In 1979, the National Christmas Tree was not lighted except for the top ornament. This was done in honor of the American hostages in Iran.

Teddy Roosevelt banned the Christmas tree from the White House for environmental reasons. Realize that Christmas trees are a home to a lot of insects and microorganisms, so when you bring one home, make sure you shake it thoroughly before bringing it inside.

In the first week, a tree in your home will consume as much as a quart of water per day.

Christmas trees were once hung upside down like chandeliers, and that custom is still common in parts of Europe.

In 1984, the National Christmas Tree was lit on December 13th with temperatures in the 70s, making it one of the warmest tree lightings in history.

The best-selling trees are Scotch Pine, Douglas Fir, Fraser Fir, Balsam Fir and White Pine, although the Nordmann Fir is considered the leader among Christmas trees. The Nordmann Fir has been a popular Christmas tree choice in Europe for a number of years and is gaining momentum in the United States. It’s preferred among other evergreens due to its excellent needle retention, the softness of the needles and how it’s perfect for people with allergies. The tree’s lack of the usual Christmas tree aroma makes it ideal for those who can’t tolerate the fragrance, according to HolidayTreeFarm.com.

Real vs. artificial Christmas trees.

If you prefer an artificial tree, you’re not alone. This option is cheaper and lower maintenance. Artificial trees date back to the 1880s, when Germans looking to offset deforestation made the first ones from dyed goose feathers held together with wire. Since then, people around the world have made fake trees out of aluminum, cardboard, and glass, although most artificial Christmas trees sold today are made from PVC plastic with about 80% made in China.

Unfortunately, most fake trees contain non-biodegradable plastics and possible metal toxins such as lead. Real Trees are a renewable, recyclable resource and are grown for the purpose of being a Christmas tree. “You’re not doing any harm by cutting down a Christmas tree,” Clint Springer, a botanist and professor of biology at Philadelphia’s Saint Joseph’s University, told The New York Times in a recent interview. “A lot of people think artificial is better because you’re preserving the life of a tree. But in this case, you’ve got a crop that’s being raised for that purpose.”

There are also more than 4,000 local Christmas Tree recycling programs throughout the United States. And the trees have been used to make sand and soil erosion barriers and placed in ponds to provide shelter for fish. Just don’t burn them in your fireplace as the soot can be bad for your chimney.

Christmas Tree in a Car

Whichever type of tree you choose, just be safe. Christmas trees have, on average, started 160 house fires per year. We want everyone to relax, enjoy and spend some good quality time with the family this holiday season. Happy Holidays from The Gifted Tree!