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The Helpful Gardeners Podcast | Ep41: The legend of the Christmas Tree

Whether you love the scent and tradition of going out and finding a real tree or love the ease and familiarity of your artificial tree, how did Christmas trees become one of the more popular symbols of the festive season? We’re going to talk about their roots (haha), types, care, and also a look into some of the more famous trees we flock toward every year.

Christmas Tree Roots & Traditions

Christmas trees are said to have roots in Germany. There’s a story about a “holy tree” and evidence of evergreen “Paradise Trees” which were evergreens adorned with apples and featured in homes on December 24th. that evolved into Christmas Trees which were trees adorned with candles. By the 19th Century, Christmas trees were mainstream in Germany and spread across Europe. It hopped the pond to the US and were popular festive symbols by the 1870’s. Obviously, it takes years to grow a tree, so with increasing popularity, this would impact forests and led to the alternative trees made with goose feathers, potted up Norfolk Pines, or even artificial trees. In the UK, Christmas Tree farms are still a common tradition for many. In many areas of Canada, you can buy a permit and cut down your own Christmas tree in the wild!



Christmas Tree Decorations

The first Christmas trees were fir, or yew, and decorated with food and more natural decor. Candles were a popular decor element, but a challenge due to their flammable nature. Christmas lights would replace this tradition for the most part. Tree Skirts were originally called Christmas Tree Carpets and went under the tree stand to catch needles and falling candle wax. How we decorate our Christmas trees is a very personal task. Some people like to follow a specific theme, some like to have multiple trees to represent different things, and some like having a tree full of memories.


Types of Christmas Trees | LINK

  1. Scotch Pine
  2. Balsam Fir
  3. White Spruce
  4. Douglas Fir
  5. Fraser Fir
  6. White Pine
  7. Noble Fir
  8. Colorado Blue Spruce

Famous Christmas Trees

Rockafeller Centre

A Christmas experience with ice skating, hot chocolate, and the annual tree lighting ceremony. This year, the 80ft Norway Spruce comes from Vestal, NY.

The Boston Common Tree Lighting  |  Treemont St, Boston | Nov 30th

An annual tradition that celebrates the longstanding friendship between Boston and Nova Scotia that started all the way back in 1917 after the Halifax harbour explosion. This year the lucky tree comes from the Gourley farm in Stewiacke, NS.

Follow the Tree For Boston Instagram | LINK


Wood the Talking Tree @ Micmac Mall – Dartmouth, NS (Since 1983)

This family tradition has gained international attention this year! Visit with woody, much like with Santa Claus, and apparently you can get a free tree sapling to take home!

New this year is Woody’s Store, where you can purchase themed clothing, magnets, car fresheners, and more. All proceeds go towards the Izaak Walton Killam Killam Hospital for Children Foundation. 

Spoof Account: Woody The Tweeting Christmas Tree

Caring for Christmas Trees & Post-Holiday

  1. If your tree provider allows you to hold your tree, take advantage of that. Chilled tree lots will keep your tree preserved longer. If you’re required to bring it home, but can’t put it up yet, don’t lay it out outside. If there’s moisture, it’ll rip branches and needles off when you pick it back up again. 
  2. Give your tree a few taps on the ground before getting it into the tree stand so you can loosen any dried needles. 
  3. Always cut of at least 1.5in off the trunk to remove the sap blockage and increase water flow. Place your tree in water right away so it can take it’s “big drink”
  4. Give your tree 24hrs unwrapped to allow branches to settle before decorating. 
  5. Consider using a tree preservative to encourage water uptake and prevent drying out. 

Hypothetical Question of the Week….

If you were to decorate your Christmas tree with your fav food, what food would it be?



We’ll have a holiday special coming up in the next few weeks so we’ll chat more about traditions around the world and next week we’ll be talking more about




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