The Christmas garlands tradition in America was brought from Europe by the early settlers. Ropes of garland were usually made after the fall harvest. Making and selling Christmas greens brought enough income to furnish many suits of Sunday clothes and a new bonnet when there was little else to do after harvest. Staples, like pine, spruce, and cedar trees that were used could be found in the nearby woods. Greens were gathered by day and in the evening the greens were twisted into garlands around the fireplace. Usually someone could complete twenty to forty yards in an evening.

In the 1800’s wagons and boats filled with aromatic Christmas greens announced the beginning of the Christmas season. Boxwood, hemlock, mountain laurel, holly, cedar blue berries, myrtle, and princess pine were used as highlights for the Christmas ropes. Other materials used to decorate were corn husks, dried grasses, the orange and scarlet pods of bittersweet, moss, dried fruits, and the red berries of black alder. Churches, business, hospitals, and florist purchased the majority of the woven decorated greens and other Christmas decor. The abundance and price range of the Christmas greens allowed everyone to participate in the hustle and bustle of the Christmas event as we do today with Christmas shopping.

In the early 1900’s natural Christmas foliage and Christmas greens became less abundant in the countryside. With the introduction of plastic artificial Christmas foliages and Christmas greens we could now make Christmas decorations without endangering nature. Plastic holly and evergreen were the most realistic of these early reproductions. With the introduction of silk (polyvinyl) flowers and greenery the quality and realistic looking reproductions of Christmas decor was greatly enhanced. In 1963 the first polyvinyl or PVC artificial Christmas trees, picks and greens hit the market. Technical advances in the manufacturing process have created the most beautiful Christmas decorations to date. Today, with the production of the artificial Christmas foliage, Christmas poinsettias, and Christmas greens, the colors and variety of the Christmas decor is endless.

Author Joe Willmeth. Check out his site for decorations