In 1848, the Illustrated London News published a full-page engraving of the royal family celebrating around a decorated Christmas tree at Windsor Castle, a tradition reminiscent of the Prince's childhood in Germany. The custom took hold immediately and trees bedecked with candles and decorations began popping up in homes on both sides of the Atlantic.
The Christmas tree tradition “officially” arrived in America around 1850 for English speakers with the publication of Godey’s “Lady’s Book” which featured the same illustration published in the Illustrated two years earlier. English-speaking Americans quickly adopted the English craze.
Those living in the country cut down their own evergreen trees. However, city dwellers often purchased from farmers bringing in trees to sell.
In just a generation, buying a tree from commercial vendors had become so popular that by 1901 conservationist president Theodore Roosevelt refused to have a Christmas tree in the White House to protest the deforestation the craze caused. Unsurprisingly, the first Christmas tree “farm” was started that same year in Trenton, New Jersey.