By Fiona Evans, Limited Editions
When Prince Albert introduced a candlelit tree from Germany into the court of Queen Victoria at Christmas 1846 a new fashion was born in Britain.
Glittery, sparkly and tranquil; loud, glaring and overstated; minimal or rocked up to the max; real or artificial, the choices are endless when it comes to modern day Christmas tree type and style. Depending which camp you fall into, you will choose an artificial tree or a real one. Artificial can take out a lot of the hassle but may have a hefty (one time) price tag. On the plus side, these days the fake variety look like the real thing, come with or without (pretend) snow, can be bought pre-lit and don’t have to be watered. There are also alternative choices which are coloured, black or white and may be jazzed up with sparkly bits. A white tree provides a great background for brightly coloured decorations, shimmery silver or colourless glass. A black tree makes a striking background for blue lights, gold trimmings or fluorescent and shocking pinks, yellows, greens. So does the artificial option beat choosing your real tree with your family? Cramming it sleeved in stretchy netting into your car and then spending an anxious 20 minutes or so fitting it into its stand/pot... and then remembering to water it...? In my opinion it doesn’t, partly because of the delicious pine aroma and partly because battling with a real tree is a family occasion and part of Christmas.
As far as the decorations go, the chances are you have a lovely hotchpotch of tree decorations collected over the years, some made by the children. But now you want to go minimal? Perhaps a sprayed twig suggestion of a tree with a couple of tasteful glass baubles or just a scattering of white lights? Choosing your style says a lot about you, and whatever you choose will be a real focus. Vintage style is a popular trend and you may have a collection of vintage glass baubles; add handmade paperchains, small toys, crepe paper garlands, honeycomb paper baubles, candy canes and a vintage-style angel.
Adapting bought decorations to make them unique is a quick way to be creative.
There are many alternative trees on the market, wire and paper constructions, some incorporating fibre optics. There are also some ingenious examples of creative alternative Christmas trees on the internet, amazing cardboard constructions, items arranged against a mirror to give the effect of a tree, articles arranged going up a bookcase to resemble a tree, all very clever.
Decorating your tree is a personal thing whether it’s stylised or cluttered and the idea has been around for a long time. The first decorated tree was noted in Latvia in 1510, the idea spreading to Germany where one was decorated in barley sugar and paper flowers symbolic of the Paradise Tree in the Garden of Eden.
Whatever your style, have fun putting it together and Happy Christmas!
History bits sourced from www.christmasarchives.com/trees