Wednesday, December 19, 2012

LID: Procrastination Perfection

Christmas tree phase one by Scott Feldstein

December 19

Evergreen Day

Procrastination heaven! National Evergreen Day is the perfect day to remind you to put up that Christmas tree, if you haven't done so already. Most people like to use a live tree. In 2011,  30.8 million live Christmas trees were purchased in the United States, with a real market value of $1.07 billion. The most popular evergreen varities used as a Christmas tree are Scotch pine, Douglas fir, Noble fir, Fraser fir, balsam fir and white pine. Christmas trees are grown and harvested in all 50 states. This year, Christmas tree farms planted 46 million seedlings. Farmers usually plant three seedlings for every tree they cut. It will take 6 - 10 years before these seedlings grow large enough to be harvested. To learn more about Christmas tree fact you can visit

With six days until Christmas, most people have already found their tree and decorated it. 

Where Did The Christmas Tree Come From?

Evergreens were used before the time of Christ to celebrate the winter season. The ancients believed the evergreen would keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits, and illness. During the winter, the ancients would make boughs of evergreen then hang them on their doors and windows. 

The Evergreen tree wasn't used as a Christmas tree until 1510 in Riga, Latvia. Riga had been a center of trade and a stopover for pilgrims during the medieval age. There were many merchant guilds in the city. Their purpose was to build inter-city trade. One of these guilds, the House of Blackheads (Melngalvju nams), was establishedby German merchants from Lubeck Germany. The Blackheads consisted of young, unmarried merchants and ship captains in the Hansa cities. An organization housed by the House of Blackheads known as the Brotherhood of the Blackheads was in existence between 1334 until 1939.  The tree was attended by men in black hoods. The brotherhood had set it up in order to be burned.  The next day, the brotherhood went back to the tree only to find the local children had decorated it with paper flowers and dried fruit. It was so beautiful they decided not to burn it until after Christmas. The tree was burned during the first week of January. Thus a new Christmas tradition was born. 

The custom of the Christmas Tree continued in Riga. During the middle ages, it had been decorated with ribbons, dried flowers, straw dolls, weave, and possibly fruit. People would dance around the tree singing songs and having other celebrations. It stood in the center of town until the first week of January then was burned in the town square.  

According to the "In 1584, the pastor and chronicler Balthasar Russow wrote of an established tradition of setting up a decorated spruce at the market square where the 'young men went with a flock of maidens and women, first sang and danced there and then set the tree aflame'. In that period, the guilds started erecting Christmas trees in front of their guildhalls: Ingeborg Weber-Kellermann (Marburg professor of European ethnology) found a Bremen guild chronicle of 1570 which reports how a small tree was decorated with 'apples, nuts, dates, pretzels and paper flowers' and erected in the guild-house, for the benefit of the guild members' children, who collected the dainties on Christmas Day."

The idea of the Christmas tree spread throughout Germany. Yet it wasn't allowed inside the home until the 16th century. Martin Luther, a German preacher, was walking through the woods at night. Looking up at the sky to the stars, he was awstruck at the beauty of the night sky. He went home and told his children the sky had reminded him of how God has sent Jesus to the world. Martin Luther brought one of the trees inside his home so they would never forget that lesson. 

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