O Christmas Tree!

December 25, 2014 · Collections ·

Merry Christmas All!  Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, I still wish you the same sentiment of joy and love this time of year.

Putting up Christmas Decorations, Pearl Street, Hartford. 1949.  Gift of Northeast Utilities. 1982.28.49.

Putting up Christmas Decorations, Pearl Street, Hartford. 1949. Gift of Northeast Utilities. 1982.28.49.

Ever since I was a little girl, my favorite thing about Christmas has been the tree.  I remember when the hardest decisions of the year included deciding what ornaments to put on the tree and which ones to leave in the Christmas box because they didn’t fit.  You see, our family has this wonderful tradition…each year my Mom and Dad buy each of us three girls a new Christmas ornament (and often we would get them as gifts from other family members as well).  Usually they would have a theme (like all merry-go-round animals), and recently they have begun purchasing us handmade ornaments from their fellow artist friends.

Early 20th century photograph.  Gift of the estate of Amy Tatro.  2006.49.4.34.

Early 20th century photograph. Gift of the estate of Amy Tatro. 2006.49.4.34.

Putting up the tree and setting up the nativity (minus the baby Jesus who doesn’t get put in the manger until today!) really signaled the start of the Christmas season.

Like many families, our Christmas traditions are a mix of older traditions that go even further back than our own family, and new traditions that we developed to have a little something special just for us.

Photograph by William G. Dudley.  1916-1927.  1995.36.1652.

Photograph by William G. Dudley.
1916-1927. 1995.36.1652.

I always imagine that our family tradition of putting up a Christmas tree perhaps came over with some of our early German ancestors in the 1840s.  The tradition of a Christmas tree, after all, did begin in Germany in the 16th century and came to America with German immigrants in the 19th century.  The first American trees were usually confined to Pennsylvania with its large German population.

Print by E.B. & E.C. Kellogg, Published by E.B. & E.C. Kellogg.  1857-1867.  1996.26.0.

Print by E.B. & E.C. Kellogg, Published by E.B. & E.C. Kellogg. 1857-1867. 1996.26.0.

Once the quite popular Queen Victoria and Prince Albert decorated a Christmas tree at court in the 1840s, many non-Germans began to join in this tradition.  It took a bit for Puritan New England to adopt the Christmas tree, but it eventually took hold even here and by the 20th century Christmas trees could be found in many New England homes.

So, I hope that your family has a few traditions that you enjoy partaking in and celebrating.

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Tags: , , , ,

Please note, CHS will be undergoing renovations from Aug 28 – Sept 6. During this time, we will not be wheelchair accessible. We apologize for the inconvenience.