Real or artificial Christmas tree?

Oh, Christmas tree!

Are you team real or team artificial?

Let’s take a look at the history of Christmas trees.

According to the fine folks with the National Christmas Tree Association, the first written record of a decorated Christmas tree dates back to 1510!

Men of the merchants’ guild in Riga, Latvia reportedly decorated a tree with artificial roses, danced around it, then set it on fire. (And no, we don’t know why they set fire to it.)

The rose is a symbol for the Virgin Mary which is likely why it was chosen for decoration.

Research shows Christmas trees first made their way to the United States in the 1800s when German settlers brought the tradition with them.

Live Christmas Trees were first sold commercially in the United States in 1851, according to the National Christmas Tree Association. They were reportedly taken from forests at random.

Sears, Roebuck & Company is credited with offering the first artificial Christmas trees.

In or about 1883, you could get an artificial tree with 33 limbs for a mere $.50 or upgrade to 55 limbs for $1.00.

You may also be interested in: Make Your Real Christmas Tree last until New Year’s

Real tree controversy

Did you know that a U.S. President was strongly against real Christmas trees?

President Theodore Roosevelt, a self-described environmentalist, feared that the use of live Christmas trees would lead to deforestation.

He actually banned Christmas trees from the White House during his presidency.

But, lo and behold, there was a live tree in the White House for the Christmas of 1902.

Read more about it in this expert from this letter Roosevelt wrote to a friend:

Archie and his brother Quentin reportedly cut down a tree on the White House grounds, snuck it inside and hid it in a closet! A member of the staff also helped the boys decorate it with lights.

Ready for a little bit of irony?

Teddy Roosevelt’s cousin, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, actually helped popularize the concept of growing Christmas trees by growing them on his New York estate in the 1930s!

The first Christmas tree farm was started on a farm in New Jersey in 1901.

RELATED: More than 40 themed Christmas trees tell the story of this Heartland county

How did artificial trees come about?

According to the folks at, the tradition is also credited to people in Germany.

We’ll let them explain:

One of the perks of going artificial, of course, is the fact that you can use it again and again.

Furthermore, they come in all shapes, sizes, colors, pre-lit, and unlit.

And, for those who crave the scent of a real pine, you can get sprays, ornaments, wax melts, and more to give you that Christmassy ambiance.

In conclusion…

But, no matter which side of the debate you’re on, you likely have your reasons: convenience, cost, allergies, lack of storage space, nostalgic feelings, the list could go on and on!

All in all, it doesn’t really matter to us which side of the debate you’re on. Or if you don’t have a side at all.

It’s an age-old debate that comes up year after year, but here at Heartland Weekend, we just want everyone to enjoy the holiday season with family and friends.

And now you have a little extra knowledge to drop at your next holiday gathering. You’re welcome!

Nichole Cartmell

Nichole Cartmell

Nichole Cartmell is the reporter and producer for Heartland Weekend.