It was the Germans that came up with the idea of bringing a tree into the home at Christmas time, but its exact origins are unclear. Decorated trees could be found in cathedrals as far back as the 16th century, but in the United States, its emergence as a holiday standard did not come until the 19th century.
At first, table-top trees were in vogue. These could be just a few feet tall, but brilliantly decorated with fruits and berries, flowers, and candles. By the time of the Civil War, the Christmas tree was in the midst of an evolution into its current form -- the full tree standing in a room.
In the front parlor of Riddick's Folly, you will find such a tree now. A 12-foot monster, one of downtown Suffolk's largest indoor trees. True to the period, it has been decorated with ribbons, candles, and origami -- a new fashion from the Far East. What's off is the timing.
Ordinarily, trees were not brought into the house until Christmas Eve, December 24th. They would stay until Twelfth Night, the last night of Advent. We're a bit early in order to have the tree on display during our upcoming holiday program.
Here are some photos of our new tree.