The Christmas Tree – #CIJParty 2018

Contributor post by Mairi from mairidesign

One cold winter’s night, Martin Luther was walking through a pine forest near his home in Wittenberg when he looked up and saw thousands of stars glinting jewel-like among the branches of the trees. This wondrous sight inspired him to set up a candle-lit fir tree in his house that Christmas.

Long before Christianity, however, people in the Northern Hemisphere used evergreen plants to decorate their homes to celebrate the Winter Solstice. This was celebrated by the Egyptians, the Celts, the Vikings and the Romans, who decorated their homes and temples with green palm rushes or evergreen boughs in honour of their gods and to symbolise everlasting life.

The modern tradition of decorating trees indoors began in Germany in the 16th century. Open-air plays, telling the story of creation, were performed on Adam and Eve day, where the Garden of Eden was symbolised by a ‘paradise tree’ hung with fruit. The church banned these practices, considering them acts of heathenry, so people collected evergreen branches or trees and brought them, secretly, into their homes. On these, families would hang lit candles, gingerbread, gold covered apples, roses made from coloured paper, wafers and sweets.

This eventually reached the shores of the United Kingdom, when Queen Charlotte, the German wife of George III, set up the first known British tree in 1800. She held a large Christmas party for the children of all the principal families in Windsor and set up a yew tree in the middle of the drawing-room, illuminated by small wax candles, and decorated with baubles, fruit and presents. Christmas trees then became fashionable in English upper-class circles, where they formed the focal point at children’s gatherings.

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It wasn’t until half a century later, that the tradition took hold. In 1840, Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, imported several spruce firs from his native Coburg. Each year, magazines would describe the royal Christmas tree and print illustrations of the Royal Family around it, popularising the custom of setting up trees, which became commonplace in British homes.

Over the Atlantic, in the 1880s, Woolworth brought the magic of Christmas tree decorating into American homes. After a visit to Europe, F.W. Woolworth began importing holiday ornaments from Lauscha, Germany, the small village where hand-blown glass ornaments originated.

Response to the affordable, miniature glass toys was tremendous. More than 250 million ornaments were being imported to the United States from Germany, Japan and Czechoslovakia. But, as war broke out, it became difficult to export ornaments from Germany. In 1939, the American company Corning began producing ornaments on a larger scale, using a machine originally designed to produce glass bulbs.
Nowadays, in the U.S.A., 35 million Christmas trees are sold annually, with an additional 10 million artificial trees, and 300 million Christmas trees are grown in farms around the world.

So, each Christmas, as you decorate your tree, you can recall the origins of this festive custom and delight your family with stories full of holiday spirit.

Sources:

https://www.zmescience.com

https://www.historytoday.com

https://www.whychristmas.com

http://www.peopleticker.com

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Dorm Decor with Major Style: Astronomy and more

Contributor post by Alicia of AliciasFindings

Dorm Decor with Major Style: Astronomy, History, Art and Biology

https://blog.etsy.com/en/2015/dorm-decor-with-major-style/

Astronomy

You’ll be seeing stars (and looking like an outer-space insider) when you hang an arty wall decal showing off a lesser-known constellation. A handmade moon phase pennant is a cool twist on school spirit, and you’ll want to study (okay, nap) next to this moon-shaped salt-rock nightlight. And for those galaxy-gazers with an appreciation for interiors, there’s a vintage mid-century chair inspired by Atomic Age design.

Here at Christmas in July team we wanted to know do you have any items related to Astronomy and what the story behind the item is.

Ina from InaSudjana says:

What better way to hang this pastel Star dream catcher in the dorm OR anywhere in your hallway really.

With 3 stars hanging down from the hoop, it’ll just be perfect for your reading corner (of course for reading and/or napping)

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Sue and Misty from shabbyshopgirls said:

Who isn’t in awe of the stars, moon, planets & night sky? The “space race” was such a dream for so many to be involved in! This Men’s Tie features all those fun things, including UFO’s! Watch out! One may be headed to your neck of the woods!

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Annie from DesignedbyAnneliese states:

I remember back in my uni days going to a ‘out of space’ dress up party. These paper star confetti would have been great to use to decorate the table. So if you are having a dorm party, why not use this star confetti!!

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History

Get inspired by history’s greats: Write a treatise — or just a term paper — under a lamp modeled on those Abe Lincoln owned and prop up a pint-sized portrait of ground-breaker Eleanor Roosevelt for daily motivation. Come sundown (or later, if you insist on using electric lights), bed down under an antique quilt made from upcycled sports banners or an embroidered patchwork throw featuring the faces of all the U.S. Presidents who governed before you were born (it only goes through Reagan).

Stock Lane Studio from StockLaneStudio says:

This is a pencil pouch/gadget bag created from a photograph we took of the remnants of the Berlin Wall that was dismantled in 1989. Artists have expressed their feelings about freedom, politics and culture on the remaining sections of the wall. It is now called the East Side Gallery and makes up the largest open-air art gallery in the world.

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Sue and Misty  from shabbyshopgirls said:

We love old books that deal with History – especially Presidents! This is a fun graphic book about Abe Lincoln. Thumb through the pages and reacquaint yourself with our 16th President!

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Art

We know, you’d rather paint your own mural on those bland beige walls, but that’s not going to fly with the RA. Instead, try a watercolor-inspired wallpaper mural that you can (carefully!) tack up and remove at year’s end. Complement it with an abstract bud vase, a vibrant visual guide to the world’s great art museums, and color-splashed bedding worthy of Jackson Pollock.

Stock Lane Studio  from StockLaneStudio says:

Here is a water fountain photograph set in Paris. It is one of my favorite spots to rest, have a coffee and people watch. Nikki De St. Phalle created the bold and bright modern art water fountain sculpture in Place Igor Stravinsky.

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Biology

A microscope-turned-lamp will shed some light on your first-semester exams, while a botany-illustration pillow is cute on the cellular level. You can even experiment with small space gardening in your free time, thanks to a repurposed-beaker terrarium set.

Amy Spock  from BeadsandThreadsbyAmy says:

You can never have too many towels when you are off to college. Why not show off your interest in Biology and Ocean Life with a personalized, embroidered ocean theme towel set?

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