Friday, November 20, 2009
The Christmas garlands tradition in America was brought from Europe by the early settlers. Ropes of garland were usually made after the fall harvest. Making and selling Christmas greens brought enough income to furnish many suits of Sunday clothes and a new bonnet when there was little else to do after harvest. Staples, like pine, spruce, and cedar trees that were used could be found in the nearby woods. Greens were gathered by day and in the evening the greens were twisted into garlands around the fireplace. Usually someone could complete twenty to forty yards in an evening.
In the 1800’s wagons and boats filled with aromatic Christmas greens announced the beginning of the Christmas season. Boxwood, hemlock, mountain laurel, holly, cedar blue berries, myrtle, and princess pine were used as highlights for the Christmas ropes. Other materials used to decorate were corn husks, dried grasses, the orange and scarlet pods of bittersweet, moss, dried fruits, and the red berries of black alder. Churches, business, hospitals, and florist purchased the majority of the woven decorated greens and other Christmas decor. The abundance and price range of the Christmas greens allowed everyone to participate in the hustle and bustle of the Christmas event as we do today with Christmas shopping.
In the early 1900’s natural Christmas foliage and Christmas greens became less abundant in the countryside. With the introduction of plastic artificial Christmas foliages and Christmas greens we could now make Christmas decorations without endangering nature. Plastic holly and evergreen were the most realistic of these early reproductions. With the introduction of silk (polyvinyl) flowers and greenery the quality and realistic looking reproductions of Christmas decor was greatly enhanced. In 1963 the first polyvinyl or PVC artificial Christmas trees, picks and greens hit the market. Technical advances in the manufacturing process have created the most beautiful Christmas decorations to date. Today, with the production of the artificial Christmas foliage, Christmas poinsettias, and Christmas greens, the colors and variety of the Christmas decor is endless.
Christmas Poinsettia Flower History.
The Mexican poinsettia, known as the Christmas flower in North America, is used in most Christmas decorations, due to its red color and because the Christmas poinsettia blooms mainly in December. Native to Mexico, it is called Flower of the Holy Night there. The Mexican poinsettias are commonly bright red and now the Mexican poinsettia comes in pink, white, and other colors. The bright petals of the Mexican poinsettia, which look like flowers, are actually the upper leaves of the plant, called bracts. Some say these star shaped bracts symbolize the Star of Bethlehem. These beautiful Christmas poinsettia flowers, which have become a symbol of Christmas, are used to decorate festive holiday decor for the Christmas holidays.
Outside of the Mexican territory this beautiful red leafed Christmas flower that is used to decorate for Christmas is known as the Poinsettia named after the former US ambassador to Mexico, Dr. Joel R. Poinsett who became the first United States ambassador to Mexico in 1825. Dr. Poinsett of Charleston, South Carolina introduced the poinsettia to the United States when he returned home in 1835 from his ambassadorship. History has said that Dr. Poinsett liked the flower so much that he dedicated the last years of his life to making the “poinsettia”, the symbol for Christmas, throughout the rest of the world. Today the Christmas poinsettia is the most popular Christmas flower for Christmas decorating in the United States. The poinsettia is also a popular household plant often used throughout the Christmas holidays. Other common names for the poinsettia include the Christmas flower, lobster flower, and Mexican flame leaf. Even though the poinsettia is a beautiful holiday flower you should be aware that the poinsettia’s hollow stem contains a milky sap that can irritate the skin and eyes and the poinsettia stems should be handled with caution.
Decorative Christmas Garlands are a Wonderful Christmas Accent!