Why the tree?

Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition—as we now know it—by the 16th century when sources record devout Christians bringing decorated trees into their homes. Some built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles if wood was scarce. It is a widely held belief that Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. According to a common version of the story, walking home one winter evening, Luther was awed by the stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles.

In 1846, the popular royals, Queen Victoria and her German Prince, Albert, were sketched in the Illustrated London News standing with their children around a Christmas tree. Unlike the previous royal family, Victoria was very popular with her subjects, and what was done at court immediately became fashionable—not only in Britain, but with fashion-conscious East Coast American Society. The Christmas tree had arrived. By the 1890s Christmas ornaments were arriving from Germany and Christmas tree popularity was on the rise around the U.S. It was noted that Europeans used small trees about four feet in height, while Americans liked their Christmas trees to extend from floor to ceiling.  The early 20th century saw Americans decorating their trees mainly with homemade ornaments, while many German Americans continued to use apples, nuts and marzipan cookies. Stringed popcorn was added to trees’ decoration after being dyed bright colors and interlaced with berries and nuts. Electricity brought about Christmas lights, making it possible for Christmas trees to glow for days on end. With this, Christmas trees began to appear in town squares across the country and having a Christmas tree in the home became an American tradition.

Amanda Ware, 44, of Bentonville, Arkansas, a mother-of-two quit her job as a teacher to pursue her passion for decorating Christmas trees full-time, charging an average of $1,000 to transform each tree into a winter wonderland. Amanda Ware makes all of her yearly earnings in the last three months of the year. She doesn’t mind being extremely busy in the holiday season, she  spends her time doing what she loves and that’s transforming Christmas trees. Amanda decorates at least 100 Christmas trees before December 25. “The magic truly begins whenever people put their Christmas décor up. I am in the business of making people merry,” said Amanda in an interview with Newsweek.

Based on our findings, the average person in the United States spends approximately $269 on decorations each year — and around $549 on gifts for family and friends. When asked how they feel about the amount of money they spend, the majority of participants described their holiday spending as worthwhile. Many even said that they wish they could afford to pay for more. As one participant said, “I wish I could spend more and completely indulge in the Christmas season because it’s such a magical and family-oriented time.”

December 20th Birthdays

1992 – Isabel Durant, 1992 – Jillian Rose Reed, 1982 – Melanie Scrofano, 1991 – India Reynolds

1984 – Bob Morely,  1946 – Dick Wolf, 1983 – Jonah Hill, 1982 – David Wright

Christmas Crinkles

I wrapped my Christmas presents early this year, but I used the wrong paper. See, the paper I used said “Happy Birthday” on it and I didn’t want to waste it, so I just wrote “Jesus” after every sentence. 

Dear Santa….All I want for Christmas is a fat bank account and a slim body. Please do not mix it up like last year. 

Doug was leaving church after Christmas services when Father McCarthy took him aside. “Douglas, my son,” he said, “it’s time you joined the Army of the Lord. We need to see you every Sunday.” “I’m already in the Army of the Lord, Father,” Doug replied. “Then why do we only see you on Christmas and Easter?” Doug looked to the right and to the left, and then leaned over to whisper in Father McCarthy’s ear. “I’m in the Secret Service.”

Do you know what would have happened if it had been three Wise Women instead of three Wise Men that came at Christmas? They would have asked for directions, they would have arrived on time, they would help deliver the baby, they would have cleaned the stable, they would have made a casserole, they would have brought practical gifts and there would be peace on earth.  

Morning Motivator