What kind of tree is a Christmas tree?

We all know in Australia we do things a little differently—including the type of Christmas tree we consider traditional. Discover the history of Christmas trees here and around the globe, as well as some top decorating trends of 2019.

Top tips for decorating a Christmas tree:

  • Fluff out the branches of your Christmas tree to take up as much room as possible.
  • Start with the strings of Christmas lights to make your job a lot easier.
  • Choose a colour palette and stick to it.
  • Use clusters of baubles and decorations for the most impact.

Does anyone else get really excited to put up the Christmas tree only to get halfway through and regret starting? Well, it’s almost that time of year again!

As putting decoration after decoration up starts to become tiring, the mind tends to start wandering—what kind of tree is a Christmas tree? Why do we even have Christmas trees? What came first; the chicken or the egg?

While we can’t answer that last question, we can tell you all about Christmas trees! So, grab your iced eggnog and buckle in because you’re in for one joyous tale. 

Photo by Manuel Will on Unsplash

The History of the Christmas Tree

The earliest accounts of Christmas trees were in devout Christian homes in Germany in the 16th century. It wasn’t until around 1830 the trees were brought to America by German settlers, however, they were seen as a Pagan symbol and weren’t widely accepted.

By the 1890s, Christmas trees had found their way into the majority of American and European homes. While American families opted for larger floor-to-ceiling trees, European household prefers to use smaller trees. These days, Christmas trees are grown in all 50 states of America, with more than 77 million being planted each year. Of these 98% are grown on farms.

But what about Australia? Christmas Warehouse notes that the first Christmas in Australia was held in 1788, a year after the settlement in Sydney Cove. For us, instead of the traditional Fir tree, we had our palm fronds and eucalyptus boughs. Today, it’s more common to see an artificial Christmas tree in an Aussie household than it’s real-life counterpart.

But why do we even have Christmas trees?

It seems that throughout history there has always been some sort of obsession with evergreen trees, which essentially means trees that stay green all year round, even in frosty winter. This is why the Fir tree is embedded in a lot of Christmas stories of yesteryear—because there weren’t many trees around and green to pick boughs of during the snowy season.

However, in Australia, we don’t tend to have a lot of pine-type trees readily available. For us, a traditional Christmas tree would be the also-fragrant eucalyptus tree, using the boughs to form a tree-like shape. Although these days, our artificial trees also model after the scenic-looking Fir tree.

3 Most Popular Types of Christmas Trees in Australia

1. The Artificial Christmas Tree

The artificial Christmas tree is so popular in Australia, we have dozens and dozens of varieties available at every department or Christmas store. Even grocery stores are getting into the spirit.

You’ll find varying shades of green pine trees, the not-so-traditional pine, black and white trees, the trendy glitter tree, even an artificial palm tree! If you don’t have room for a full 7 foot wonder, there are miniature 30cm trees, even some timber frame models. In recent years, there have even been pre lit trees with fibre optic tips. 

One of the best parts would have to be that they’re reusable, so with a $50 to $300+ investment, you can use it year after year.

2. Norfolk Island Pine

With its salt and humidity-loving qualities and hatred of the cold, the Norfolk Island Pine is as Australian as a Christmas tree can be. As their name suggests, they’re native to Norfolk Island, but can be found throughout the coast of Australia, making them the perfect living Christmas tree.

We should note, while they are called a pine, they aren’t actually within that family. They can grow up to 60 meters high, but are quite adorable while they’re still small enough to be potted.

3. English or Japanese Boxwood

Every grandparents’ house with a decent garden seems to feature an English or Japanese boxwood. While they don’t look like a traditional Christmas tree, even a summary palm version, they’re a popular choice for smaller decorations, both indoors and out.

The best part is, you can prune them into any shape you want. You can go with a more traditional cone-shape, or go all out and try making a little Santa, elf or even a star. Then, add some LED lights, decorations and a tree topper to finish it off.

Once the holiday season is over for another year, move the pot back outside. When the time comes again, prune it again and you’re good to go.

Top 3 Christmas Tree Trends 2019

1. Traditional Christmas Trees & Decorations

While there is a whole theory about marketing with colour and the influence red and green have on shoppers, there’s no denying they’re the colours of the season. Traditional Christmas decorations tend to be in the realm of red, green, white, gold and silver, with plaid patterning. 

One of the best parts about a traditional Christmas palette is it’s hard to go over the top. You could have leafy garlands on every surface, red ribbons streaming from branch to branch and cornice to cornice, with tartan cushions, throws and dog collars, and it still wouldn’t be too much.

2. Pastels & Glitter

If you’ve ever wanted a white, glitter, pink or over-the-top flocked Christmas tree, but didn’t know how to make it work, then a pastel theme is for you. The soft pinks, blues, purples, white and more muted green is such a chic alternative to a traditional Chrissy setup, while still being absolutely stunning.

3. 50 Shades of Blue & Green

Traditional Christmas décor doesn’t always go with every household. For example, if you’ve worked hard to create a Hampton’s vibe, the red and green may stand out like a pimple on school picture day. If this is your household, you may want to consider a blue and green (aqua-inspired) theme.

To really take it up a notch, look online for some nautical-themed decorations and accent with cushions and throws in a similar palette. Even some white wicker or timber baskets and crates around to store things would finish off the whole look perfectly.

BONUS: Get inspiration for your own Aussie Christmas tree at your local nursery!

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      Sarah Russo

      UX Content Writer

      Sarah Russo is a UX Content Writer at Localsearch with a decade of experience in traditional and digital marketing. She has written for and assisted in the social media and marketing strategies for many different industries, including real estate, medical, health and fitness, trades and beauty. When she isn’t nose deep in data, SEO research or her content strategy, Sarah is a gym junkie, foodie and gamer with a brain full of random facts that come in handy far more often than you would think. As a digital marketing all-rounder and lifestyle specialist, her articles provide insight into marketing, advertising and branding for small businesses on the Localsearch Business Blog, as well as some handy lifestyle tips on the Localsearch Blog.