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The Christmas Tree

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by Belladonna (subscribe)
Loves going out and about, drinking coffee, eating chocolate, and writing about her adventures!
Published December 5th 2018
It's not really Christmas without the Christmas tree
The Christmas tree is without a doubt the quintessential symbol of Christmas around the world. For many of us, it doesn't really begin to feel a lot like Christmas until that triangular-shaped tree heaving with ornaments and glowing with lights makes its appearance (even if it appears in September).

The Christmas tree has become so indelibly linked with Christmas in our culture that we don't realise it's actually a newcomer to Christmas celebrations in the English-speaking world. Although it was in use (and very probably began) in Germany in the 16th century CE, it didn't really make its appearance in the English-speaking world until the mid-19th century CE when it was popularized by the English Queen Victoria and her German-born husband Prince Albert.

Christmas trees in Canberra
My friend Lee's gorgeous tree

So thanks to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Christmas trees will be forever a part of the festive season. Today, there are two kinds of Christmas trees: artificial or real.

The Fake Tree
Artificial trees can be bought from retail stores such as Kmart, Target, Big W, Myer, David Jones and Costco-where, if you have an extra $850 to spare, you can buy an almost 4 metre tall pre-lit Christmas tree such as the one below.

Real Christmas trees in Canberra
But if you prefer the smell of a real live tree in your home, then you can buy real Christmas trees from several places in Canberra. Christmas Tree Keng is a Christmas tree farm located in Bywong, just 29kms from Canberra CBD. The farm has been growing and selling trees to the Canberra region since 1987. You can also buy your real tree from the RSPCA ACT Weston shelter with proceeds supporting the care of abused, neglected and unwanted animals. Or you can get your real trees from Santa's Shaped Christmas Tree Farm in Gundaroo or from the tree farm's Canberra sellers: at Bunnings Airport and Belconnen, the Old Bus Depot Markets, and Farmers' Markets at EPIC and Woden.

However, it doesn't really matter whether your Christmas tree is real or fake, if it's green or white, or if it's toddler-high or almost 4 metres tall. What's more important is that your tree and the decorations on it have meaning for you and your loved ones.

Decorating your tree
There is no one correct way of decorating a Christmas tree. You can pretty much adorn your tree with whatever you like, in whatever colour scheme or theme you wish, or with whatever that's meaningful for you. In fact, some rich people in Victorian England even hung their own sewing machines and their children's rocking horses on to their trees (which, thankfully, have not continued as trends in the 21st century!).

I usually adorn my tree with parol, star-shaped ornaments from the Philippines, which is part of my cultural heritage.

A friend of mine hangs her favourite super hero action figures on her tree while another friend, Anna, a retired school teacher, adorns her tree with the Christmas crafts that her students and her own children have made for her over the years.
Christmas trees in Canberra

Christmas trees in Canberra

My friend Lee adorns her spectacular tree with decorations that celebrate her first year of marriage, such as this Celtic cross from the church where she and her husband got married in Northern Ireland.

Another friend, Sally, hangs beautiful, delicate glass ornaments passed down from her late mother on her tree.
Christmas trees in Canberra

Christmas trees in Canberra

Author Juliet M Sampson adorns her tree with her favourite flower-the sunflower.

And my friend Kaitlyn prefers a different type of tree altogether-not the northern European/northern American fir tree variety, but the more Middle Eastern palm tree type!

If you're stuck for decorating ideas, the internet has plenty to keep you busy, or pop into your nearest David Jones or Myer stores. They have some wonderful Christmas tree displays showcasing the latest decoration trends.

Whether your Christmas tree is artificial or real, a fir tree or palm tree, decorated with sunflowers, Harry Potter figurines, sewing machines, or the latest luxe ornaments from David Jones, may it bring great joy to your homes this Christmas!

'O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
You stand in splendid beauty!
Your branches green in summer's glow and
evergreen in winter's snow,
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
You stand in splendid beauty!'

Traditional Christmas carol

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Why? Because it's not really Christmas without the Christmas tree!
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