Great Moments in Christmas Tree History
• Ancient Romans - Decorated trees with small pieces of metal during the winter festival of Saturnalia.
• 1530s - German Christmas trees made using goose feathers that were dyed green and attached to wire branches. The wire branches were then wrapped around a central dowel rod that acted as the trunk.
• 1700s - Small candles were used to light a Christmas trees. Folklore credits Martin Luther as being the first to decorate a tree after a walk through a forest of evergreens with shining stars overhead, Luther tried to describe the experience to his family and showed them by bringing a tree into their home and decorating it with candles.
• 1882 - Thomas Edison's assistant, Edward Johnson, came up with the idea of electric lights for Christmas trees.
• 1890 - Christmas tree lights were first mass-produced.
• 1930 - Addis Brush Company created the first artificial Christmas tree made from brush bristles. The company used the same machinery that it used to manufacture toilet brushes, but they were dyed green.
• Since 1947, the people of Oslo, Norway have given a Christmas tree to the city of Westminster, England. The gift is an expression of good will and gratitude for Britain's help to Norway during World War II.
• Since 1971, the Province of Nova Scotia has presented the Boston Christmas tree to the people of Boston, in gratitude for the relief supplies received from the citizens of Boston after a ship exploded in 1917 following a collision in the Halifax, Nova Scotia Harbor.
• To ensure enough trees for harvest, growers plant one to three seedlings for every tree harvested.
• Most Christmas trees are cut weeks before they get to a retail outlet. It is important to keep them watered thoroughly when they reach your home. In the first week, a Christmas tree in your home will consume as much as a quart of water per day.
Decorated Tree Cookies
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup soft margarine or butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1. In a large bowl, beat powdered sugar and margarine with an electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with a spoon, until smooth.
2. Break egg into a small bowl and beat slightly with a fork.
3. Add egg to sugar mixture and stir in vanilla extract.
4. Stir in flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar.
5. For best results, cover the dough and refrigerate for about two hours.
6. Preheat oven to 375°F.
7. Lightly flour counter or use a dough board. Place half of dough on surface and form a ball. Rub some flour on the rolling pin and roll dough to about 1/8 inch thickness.
8. Using a Christmas tree cutter cut out several cookies. Place about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. If using egg yolk paint, decorate before baking.
9. Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until lightly brown. Cool completely before using frosting or glaze to decorate or it will melt.
Snowy Sugar Glaze
Use snowy sugar glaze to cover the cookies first, then use colored glaze to decorate in straight lines, drizzles, squiggly lines or dots. Let the glaze dry and harden to create a perfect work surface. Do not use egg yolk on cookies after they have been baked.
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons skim milk
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Make sure cookies are completely cool then coat each cookie with the white glaze.
2. To make colors, remove one of tablespoon glaze to several custard cups. Add 1 or 2 drops of food coloring to each.
3. To use the same recipe as frosting, simply add a little more powdered sugar to thicken.
Egg Yolk Paint
Adult supervision suggested. Do not eat raw egg yolk paint. Paint cookies before baking for food safety reasons.
Empty Styrofoam egg carton
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon water
1 package assorted food colors
1. Stir together egg yolk and water. Divide yolk and place in compartments of empty Styrofoam carton or several custard cups.
2. Tint with food color to desired brightness.
3. Using a small paintbrush or toothpick, decorate cookies before baking. Paint may dry out during sitting time, cover and add a few more drops of water to keep moist.
Sweetened condensed milk
Assorted food colors
Empty Styrofoam egg carton
1.Place 1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk in each compartment or container.
2. Add a few drops of different color to each. Paint on cooled, glazed cookies.
3. Allow to completely dry before storing.
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Barry A. Shellian RPFT
Wildfire Information Officer
Rocky Wildfire Management Area
P - 403.845.8351
“May the forest be with you”