Christmas is just around the corner and we’re already feeling the holiday spirit take over. Christmas trees, for many people, are a staple when it comes to holiday decor. Decorating the tree with ornaments and stringing it with lights is a tradition found in many homes. But how did it all come to be?
For a fun little jaunt down memory lane, we’re taking a look at how tree trimming turned into a celebrated moment all over the world. Additionally, we’ve also included some of our favorite tree moments in holiday history. Read on for 5 iconic Christmas trees that’s made a mark in history.
1. Queen Victoria’s Christmas Tree
If we’re going to talk about iconic Christmas trees and their best moments in holiday history, we’ve got to start from the beginning. While tree-decorating didn’t start with Queen Victoria, without her it wouldn’t be the same glittering holiday tradition.
The Backstory: Trees were a German tradition that her husband, Prince Albert, introduced to Victoria. In 1848 The London Illustrated News printed descriptions and sketches of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s Christmas tree and those all around Windsor castle. It set in motion the now-global tradition of decorating Christmas trees within the home.
Why We Love This Moment: Because can you imagine if we never got a glimpse of the Queen’s over-the-top Christmas tree? And the frenzy that ensued? No, neither can we.
2. Charlie Brown’s Tree
No one will argue that A Charlie Brown Christmas was and will always be a heartwarming holiday favorite for kids and adults alike. It speaks to the holiday spirit with its adorable, and lighthearted (okay, maybe not super lighthearted at first) holiday spirit.
The Backstory: First aired in 1965, the animated TV special by Charles M. Schulz, based on his comic strip Peanuts, was at once a charming celebration of Christmas and a commentary on the commercialization of the holiday. Charlie Brown, who’s at the center of many of Schulz’s stories, picks a seemingly ugly tree to decorate. In the end, instead of bemoaning the sad state of the tree, Charlie Brown sends the message of optimism and hope by emphasizing it’s not the presents under the tree, but what’s around each Christmas tree (family, friends, love, the holiday spirit) that truly matters.
Why We Love This Moment: Since 1965, Charlie Brown has inspired naturalists everywhere to find beauty in all Christmas trees, even if they seem sparse and sad.
3. The Silver Tinsel Tree
In the late 1950s the aluminum faux Christmas tree was born and gained popularity into the 1960s. An icon of the mid-century, the chrome-like trees symbolized the newness of the mid-century era and the ability to use materials, which were previously rationed during wartime, at will.
The Backstory: All the way up until 1965, the first year A Charlie Brown Christmas aired, aluminum trees were painted as symbols of the commercialization of the holiday. But their popularity waned in the following years. Although more recently we’ve seen a resurgence of these silver trees accompanying the revival of all things Mid-Century Modern in the 21st century.
Why We Love This Moment: Even though there’s no beating the look and smell of a real Christmas tree, who doesn’t love seeing these faux versions out in city streets and front lawns every year?
4. The Rockefeller Center Tree
One of the most viewed Christmas trees in the U.S., the Rockefeller Center began its tree display tradition in 1931. A Norway spruce, this tree type is probably one of the most iconic and classic evergreens used for Christmas trees.
The Backstory: The first tree in 1931 was a small one. The workers at Rockefeller Center pooled their money to buy a tree as a symbol of hope during the Depression Era. Two years later, the tree lighting ceremony became an annual tradition, and it has progressively grown taller and grander over the years.
Why We Love This Moment: It’s an 80-foot-tall tree that’s fully lit and decked out and it’s viewed by over 125 million people during the holidays each year. It’s probably the most notable worldwide symbol of Christmas we can think of!
5. The Whoville Christmas Tree
From the ever beloved Dr. Seuss classic, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, the tree in this holiday staple is often depicted as sagging with a drooping top. One of our favorite iconic Christmas trees, is shows a little wear and tear from being burglarized by Mr. Grinch and driven up a mountain before its eventual return to Whoville.
The Backstory: This holiday classic has a traditional feel-good story arc that’s stood the test of time. There have been multiple motion picture re-makes and a killer soundtrack, so there’s no denying the Grinch is a true holiday classic. Plus, it’s always whimsical, fun, and oh-so colorful!
Why We Love This Story: This is another timeless tale full of moral lessons—it’s not about the gifts, it’s about the holiday spirit!