Wednesday, November 28, 2012
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Special feature from LDN magazine:

 Home for the Holidays

Choosing the ideal Christmas tree

By Hannah Michalsen

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[November 28, 2012]  In many households, the first Christmas decoration to go up is the tree. How that goes, varies considerably. Some families have gone the more modern route of bringing the tree out of storage and setting up the spruce in a matter of minutes. Then, there are still those who love the experience of going out and hunting for the perfect Christmas tree, either pre-cut at a lot or, for the freshest, from a local tree farm.

Each kind of tree, artificial or real, comes with its own positives and negatives. The key to finding the perfect tree is finding the right one to fit the family.

The first artificial Christmas trees were made in the early 1930s by a company called Addis Brush, a toilet scrubber company. The artificial tree has come a long way from its reputation as a gigantic, green toilet bowl scrubber. Trees now come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Today there is any variety to suit every taste, from the traditional Douglas fir replicas to pink sparkle trees.

Advantages of artificial Christmas trees:

  • A major benefit to purchasing an artificial tree is that it lasts longer than a real tree.

  • If stored properly, an artificial tree usually has a life span of about 10 years.

  • There is no needle mess going in or out of the house, and there is no need to constantly water the tree.

  • Artificial trees now even come pre-lit; therefore, there is no fight with a ball of tangled lights.

  • Artificial trees can remain set up for an entire holiday season and beyond. Many Christmas trees morph into an Easter and even Halloween tree during the year.

  • Artificial trees are easier to maintain and can be kept up longer for those families who enjoy a decorated tree all year long.

The use of a real evergreen tree to celebrate the holiday season has occurred since before the birth of Christ. Egyptians used green date palm leaves to celebrate the winter solstice. Romans honored the god of agriculture by decorating their homes with lights and greenery. In the Middle Ages, Germans and Scandinavians placed evergreen trees inside their homes to anticipate the coming of spring.

According to legend, Martin Luther began the tradition of decorating trees to celebrate Christmas. One Christmas Eve about the year 1500, Luther was walking through snow-covered woods and was struck by the beauty of a group of evergreens. The branches were sprinkled with snow that shimmered in the moonlight. When he got home, he set up a tree so he could bring the beauty inside.

The Christmas tree tradition was brought to the United States by Hessian (German) troops during the American Revolution and through German immigrants.

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The first Christmas tree retail lot in the United States was started in 1851 in New York. Since that time, picking out the family Christmas tree has remained a time-honored tradition.

In Lincoln, real Christmas trees can be purchased at the Angel Valley Tree Farm on Frorer Avenue. Owner Jeff Cooper is excited for the tree season to begin.

Angel Valley Tree Farm offers three different kinds of trees for customers to choose and cut down: Douglas fir, Scotch pine and white pine. Each tree will cost $30, no matter the size. The farm also offers pre-cut Fraser firs for between $50 and $100.

Angel Valley Tree Farm opens the day after Thanksgiving. Hours are 3:30 p.m. until dark during the week and 9 a.m. until dark on Saturday and Sunday.

Advantages of real Christmas trees:

  • Real trees are better for the environment because the tree is a renewable resource, biodegradable and can be recycled.

  • For every real Christmas tree that is harvested, three or more seedlings are planted in its place.

  • A real tree can evoke more of a sentimental sense of Christmas with its evergreen aroma.

  • Each real tree is unique in its own way, and discovering the perfect tree is a great way to make memories and traditions with friends and family.


  • When purchasing a real tree, make sure the tree will fit into the desired place.

  • Always remember to water the tree. Keeping the tree hydrated is the key to maintaining a long, effervescent life.

When it comes to the real versus artificial tree debate, it all boils down to preference. There are those families who find the hunt for the perfect tree to be the best part of the holiday. Then, there are those families who would just like the tree up quickly because decorating the tree is great traditional fun.

Either kind of tree, artificial or real, is perfect because Santa Claus will still deliver and put presents beneath it.


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