Wednesday, December 4, 2013

K.A.C. 2013 - T - 21 ...

     Every year we here at the K.A.C. cover the annual showing of the most bizarre Christmas trees to make the rounds - and this year is no exception! Before we get to that, however, here is today's trivia bit that answers HOW these piney protagonists got their start as our holiday centerpieces:

      "Even before the arrival of Christianity, Germans decorated evergreen trees to brighten the dark, gloomy days of the winter solstice. The first "Christmas trees" appeared in Strasbourg in the 17th century and spread to Pennsylvania in the 1820s with the arrival of German immigrants. When Queen Victoria married Germany's Prince Albert in 1840, he brought the tradition to England. Eight years later, the first American newspaper ran a picture of the royal Christmas tree, and Americans outside Pennsylvania quickly followed suit." (Courtesy Time Lists)

     The picture at left is that of "the Queen's Christmas Tree", with a few changes. As Wikipedia points out: 

     "A woodcut of the British Royal family with their Christmas tree at Windsor Castle, initially published in The Illustrated London News December 1848, was copied in the United States at Christmas 1850, in Godey's Lady's Book. Godey's copied it exactly, except for the removal of the Queen's tiara and Prince Albert's moustache, to remake the engraving into an American scene. The republished Godey's image became the first widely circulated picture of a decorated evergreen Christmas tree in America. Art historian Karal Ann Marling called Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, shorn of their royal trappings, "the first influential American Christmas tree". Folk-culture historian Alfred Lewis Shoemaker states, "In all of America there was no more important medium in spreading the Christmas tree in the decade 1850–60 than Godey's Lady's Book". The image was reprinted in 1860, and by the 1870s, putting up a Christmas tree had become common in America."



    Fast forward to today and if you can stack it, you can turn it into a Christmas tree (of sorts). Case in point? This stuffed salamander tree at the Kyoto Aquarium in Japan. Just start with the larger ones at the bottom and circle around to the top with the smaller ones - voila!

     Perhaps you're more of a DIY type of person. Then these 26 Alternative Christmas Tree Ideas might be more up your alley, with everything from the Upcycled Pallet Tree to the HDTV Tree, there's something here for every budget. Word to the wise: be careful putting too many lights on the Cardboard Tannenbaum! 

Finally, my vote for most novel tree of the year goes to the Eco Christmas Tree out of London. Looks like any other tree, right? Until you glance to the right ... what are those? A new type of Dalek? Nope, they are what powers the LED lights on the tree itself ... Brussells Sprouts! 1000, to be exact. Read about the whole experiment here!


     More tomorrow!

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