Although this year is likely to look a little different, Christmas is usually a celebration of love and family. There is also a multitude of beautiful plants that are revered and celebrated. One thing all these plants have in common is they are evergreen and stand for old customs and tradition.
But have you ever wondered where those customs come from? Why do we drag a big, heavy and bulky tree into our living room for a few days a year?
Christmas trees or "Tannenbäume" are probably the best known of all Christmas plants. Bringing in and decorating a Christmas tree with your family and getting ready for Santa is one of the dearest and most exciting childhood memories many of us probably have.
Evergreen plants embodied vitality and life, and that is why people in earlier times believed to bring health into their homes by decorating their homes with greenery. This custom has strong roots in Germany, where the arrival of the tree traditionally coincides with winter solstice during the darkest month of the year. If you're still thinking about getting a tree this year, we at WunderTree take this literally and bring a healthy, living Christmas tree your home.
Interestingly, just like beauty trends, Christmas trees haven't been the same throughout history. Different species of fir, spruce and pine have made it into our homes over the centuries. Until the end of the 50s it was almost exclusively the slimmer red spruce, and until the mid 70s the Germans preferred the more densely growing blue spruce. The early 80s marked the beginning of the era of the Nordmann fir, currently Germany's most popular Christmas tree and one you're likely to have in your living room this Christmas.
European holly aka Europäische Stechpalme (ilex aquifolium), with its decorative berries and leaves, is for many people the epitome of Christmas. Its tree essences should not only relieve anger, jealousy and envy, but also bring spiritual peace. The species has been chosen as Tree of the Year 2021. It is rare and protected, so you're lucky if you come across one in the wild! Just be aware though, the berries are considered toxic so focus on smelling rather than tasting this beauty.
White berry mistletoe (Viscum album) is technically not a tree as we imagine them, but it is actually one of the few parasitically living plant species in our native forest in Germany. This means it needs a tree to live and survive, because it extracts water and nutrients from the host tree. Mistletoe grows very slowly and branches of 50 cm length might be up to 30 years old. Long ago it was honoured as a miracle plant against diseases and a symbol of fertility due to its special ecology. This reputation still continues today and the kiss under the mistletoe is a widespread Christmas tradition. If you find yourself being approached by someone you'd rather socially distance from, bringing up the parasite story is a great alternative to a polite 'no thank you'.
You can help us plant more trees and diversify forests with our Little Forest Sponsorship! These beautiful, limited edition artworks are brought to you by amazing local artists, and for every artwork sold we plant 3 native trees in our forest on your behalf. They make for a fantastic Christmas gift while doing good for the planet.