Artificial trees have become one of the most popular Christmas decorations around. They have versatility that traditional trees don’t, especially if you want to add different colored leaves into the mix. Come January you don’t need to clean up lots of needles either, and taking them down is as easy a clicking a button. Of course, real trees are beautiful and have plenty of advantages as well, but it’s hard to imagine a world without artificial trees. You’d expect them to date all the way back to the first Christmas trees, but they are actually a modern creation.
Artificial trees came about during 1880 in Germany. Christmas trees became so popular that Germany’s number of trees noticeably declined. Deforestation became a real problem, so to combat this the Goose Feather artificial tree was created.
Goose Feather trees were created using actual goose feathers. The feathers were dyed green and and split, secured by wire to form branches. Those wires were attached to dowels which made up the roots. These became quite popular in Germany and soon spread throughout Europe. Still, they couldn’t hold many ornaments because they weren’t particularly sturdy.
In the early 1900s, the Addis Brush Company in Britain realized that there must be a better way to build an Artificial Christmas Tree. The brush company was best known for making the first toilet brush, and used those same bristles (dyed green) to create leaves on artificial trees. These could hold significantly more weight than goose feather trees.
Aluminum trees came next, gaining popularity in the 1950s. They were the first success commercial Christmas Tree that weren’t white, adored for their futuristic look. After 1965’s Charlie Brown Christmas Special, they fell out of favor. In the special, Lucy wants to buy a big aluminum tree for the school’s nativity display. The trees were used as the primary example of the over-commercialization of Christmas, and the message resonated with the public.
In the 1980s, plastic trees made from PVC plastic became popular, and have maintained that since then. These trees work so well because they look almost exactly like fresh-cut trees, and don’t need to be thrown away after every season. Modern artificial trees also come pre-lit, making set up even simpler! They’re incredibly easy to put together, making them a decoration that can be used in any room. Some trees, called quick set trees, have electrified poles that turn on as soon as you plug them in.
While it used to be uncommon to see artificial trees as a statement decoration, recent years have changed that trend. They come in so many shapes and sizes that you really can use one in every room! The speed at which these decorations evolved over time is incredible, and it’s exciting to see where they’ll go next.