Christmas Trees

Jurassic Bark

Dinosaurs had Christmas trees very similar to ours; not decorated of course, but a recent study of the DNA of conifer trees has shown that they have stayed virtually the same for 100 million years.

The slow mutation probably explains why there are so few species of evergreen trees, compared with their deciduous counterparts.  There are approximately 600 species of conifer on Earth, compared to 400,000 species of flowering plants.

Christmas trees are eaten by various zoo animals, including elephants, giraffes and rhinos. At Dresden Zoo in Germany, camels, deer and sheep also enjoy a traditional New Year feast of discarded Christmas trees and according to Berlin Zoo, elephants eat five trees at a single sitting. So we wonder if some dinosaurs would have relied on Christmas trees for their wintery lunches.

Artificial vs Real

Which is more environmentally friendly, real or artificial Christmas trees? Ecologists say real are good for biodiversity, can be mulched and, if they still have their roots, can be replanted and re-used.

While plastic ones are longer-lasting and cheaper, there's some evidence of chemicals being emitted by the degrading plastic. Also, conifers have fungi on their roots that help to support the soil eco-system, and lots of birds live in Christmas Tree plantations. So, overall, ecological arguments seem to favour natural trees.

Early Christmas Trees

The first artificial Christmas trees were developed in Germany during the 19th century, though earlier examples exist. These artificial Christmas trees were made using goose feathers, which were then dyed green. In 1930, the US-based Addis Brush Company created fake Christmas trees made from brush bristles.
The first known Christmas Tree in Britain was erected at Queen's Lodge, Windsor, by Queen Charlotte, the German-born wife of George III, for a party she held on Christmas Day, 1800 for the children of the leading families in Windsor. Queen Adelaide, the German-born wife of William IV (1830-37), always had one and the young Princess Victoria recorded her delight at the Christmas tree at Kensington Palace in 1832. What Albert did was encourage its adoption by the general populace, but it had been popular amongst royals for decades before.


Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.

Christmas trees are responsible for around 1,000 trips to A&E in the UK every year.

One acre of Christmas trees produces enough oxygen each day to sustain 18 people.


The perfect Christmas tree? All Christmas trees are perfect!

During the Second World War, cutting down trees for Christmas was forbidden - this was widely ignored.


Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall.