The tree decorated with tinsel and ornaments is a venerable tradition that dates back thousands of years. Most likely, it came from Germany in the 16th century, but long before then, people decorated their homes with evergreen boughs to ward away evil or remind them of spring and the new life to come while they waited out the long, dark winter.
The Christmas tree was a relatively late arrival to America due to the influence of the Puritans who enacted laws against pagan traditions. It wasn’t until the mass arrival of German immigrants in the 1800’s that the typical trappings of Christmas, including the Christmas tree, became ubiquitous in the American home.
Today, for many people, selecting and, in some cases even cutting, their own Christmas tree is an annual rite of passage. According to Better Homes and Gardens, some of the most popular cut Christmas trees are Douglas fir, Fraser fir, Noble fir, Scotch pine, White pine, and Virginia pine.
Many of the more popular Christmas tree varieties actually don’t grow all that well in Colorado. A fir is probably the classic tree, but most firs grow best in more humid conditions or prefer cooler summer temperatures than Colorado, particularly along the Front Range, can offer. Therefore, most cut Christmas trees are imported from out of state. The top Christmas tree producing states are Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Washington.
As a kid, we always had an artificial tree, but this year, we bought my first cut tree. It’s a Noble fir, and while it requires more upkeep than an artificial tree (it drinks a lot of water), it smells fantastic and I can put it out in my yard for the animals when Christmas is over. Cut trees are a great option for sustainability because they don’t contain chemicals like lead or PVC that can cause health problems and don’t break down easily in the environment.