Oh Christmas tree, how do we keep thee?

By Sharon Bouchard

Feature Writer / Photographer

OXFORD HILLS – Now that the Thanksgiving turkey is little more than a memory we turn our thoughts to the Christmas season starting with the search for the perfect Christmas tree.

Having a decorated Christmas tree inside the house finds its origins in 16th-century Germany. The decorations then and for many years to come were usually fruits, nuts, berries, paper roses and homemade confections. The fir was the tree of choice in the 1500s and is still a popular choice today.

It is widely believed that Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, was the first to add lit candles to the Christmas tree. The story claims that while walking home on a winter evening, Luther was awed by the brilliance of the stars twinkling on the snow-covered branches of the evergreen.

In an effort to recapture this beauty for his family he erected a tree in the main room of his house and wired candles to the branches. So, as the story goes, that was the first lighted Christmas tree.

Much safer strings of electric light are used on trees today and which are also worked into wreaths, garland and kissing balls, making for an enchanted holiday display.

Holiday greens, especially trees can be found at many locations throughout the Oxford Hills area. Department stores and supermarkets carry greens, but for the freshest and largest selection you may want to consider greenhouses and farm stands.

Young’s Greenhouse, High Street, South Paris, 207-743-9427 has a long history of providing fresh-cut Christmas trees in the area. Kissing balls and wreaths, decorated and undecorated, of all sizes are also now available at Young’s.

At Smedberg’s Crystal Spring Farm, Route 26, Oxford, 207-743-6723, you will also find a very large inventory of balsam and Frasier fir Christmas trees, garland, wreaths and kissing balls.

The evergreen decorative items don’t stop there because Smedberg’s also has a nice variety of decorated evergreen arrangements for use as a centerpiece or suitable for outside display.

Gayle Smedberg advises tree shoppers to get their Christmas tree early because with only two weeks until Christmas the fullest and best trees will disappear quickly.

“No matter where you get your Christmas tree,” cautioned Smedberg, “make sure it is fresh and have a cut taken from the trunk. And, never, never let it go dry!” Smedberg further explained, “It’s not just the fact that a tree needs water to keep it fresh, if it goes completely dry the cut will heal over and then it won’t be able to drink the water it so badly needs.”

At Crystal Spring Farm you can do some shopping for the holiday as well. You will find a large variety of Maine-made jams, jellies, syrups, balsam pillows, balsam draft stoppers, soaps, socks, mittens and baked goods. They also carry fresh produce, their own beef and pork, and locally grown poultry.

With all of the Christmas trees available in Oxford Hills you should have no problem finding the perfect tree for your home. Be kind to your tree and keep it well watered and it will keep your Christmas bright, not to mention a lot safer.


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