I recently read this article by Alison Barnes in History Today. It describes how Queen Charlotte (Prinny’s mother) introduced the Christmas tree to England by setting one up at Windsor in 1800. It was decorated with “bunches of sweetmeats, almonds and raisins in papers, fruits and toys”. I wish I could locate a picture!
The article lists several examples of Christmas trees during the Regency and states that the tradition was “firmly established” by 1818, although information I’d read before indicated that Christmas trees were not that common during the Regency. The article goes on to say that by 1860 nearly every family of means had one. This makes me think that Queen Charlotte started the custom but perhaps it was Victoria and Albert’s famous tree of 1846 that made it universal.
Our own tree is a hodge-podge. At one time I had this vision of a designer tree and so I started a collection of blown and cut glass ornaments and made a bunch of crocheted snowflakes. But life evolved and so did the tree. I still enjoy my glass ornaments and my snowflakes, but I’m happy to let them share space with others: stuff my children have made (Q-tip snowflakes decorated with craft store “jewels”, Vaguely Identifiable Things made out of pipe cleaners and beads), my husband’s sports ornaments (featuring the Mets, Giants and Rangers), and a Star Trek shuttlecraft that plays a holiday greeting from Mr. Spock. It’s all good and I don’t miss the designer tree at all. 🙂
Do you have a Christmas tree? What are your favorite decorations?