The Fort Dodge Messenger: Dec. 22, 1904
Christmas Trees are in the Stores
Custom Grows of Decorating
The Trees Come From The Pine Forests of Michigan and Wisconsin – Southern States Furnish The Other Decorations
Holly and misletoe (sic) everywhere. There is no end to the Christmas green. The windows of all the stores are filled with it; and garlands of it festoon the interiors. There has never been a time in Fort Dodge, when there has been as great a showing of the Christmas foliages as there is this year.
Great heaps and stacks of Christmas trees block the side walks in front of the stores, and the whole atmosphere of Central Avenue is pregnant with the fragrance of the pine forest. The trees are of all sizes, and in price ranges from 25 cents ($6 today) up to as high as $5 ($120). Already the sale on them has commenced strongly. There will be hundreds of small trees sold to private families in and about the city. The Christmas tree is gaining in popularity every year as a means of pleasing the children at home.
It is only within the past few years that this has become a yearly habit with Fort Dodge people. Eight or ten years ago, with the exception of the large trees used by the churches in their public Christmas festivities on Christmas eve, the practice of using trees in this city was rare. About eight years ago the citizens began calling for them and the merchants commenced ordering them along with a little holly and mistletoe. Both the trees and the other greens met with a ready sale, and each year since that time, the amount of such stuff ordered for the holiday season has been increased up to the present time, wehn the trade on this class of goods has become enormous.
Holly is always the more popular of all the Christmas greens. It holds its beautiful color for weeks, and the bright scarlet of the berries set off and intensified by the dark foilage (sic), makes a most pleasing bit for decorative purposes. The greater part of the holly and mistletoe received here from the southern states. The trees are fresh from the spruce forest of Michigan and Wisconsin. The evergreens, of which the beautiful garlands are made, come also from the northern part of Wisconsin, where they grow up about the bases of the big trees.
These garlands are becoming ever more popular. Up to a very few years ago they were unknown in this city. Shortly after the first of the Christmas trees arrived on the market however, they made their appearance along with the sprigs of holly and mistletoe, and at once became very popular for Christmas decorations. At the present time the making of these garlands has become a great industry. For weeks in advance of the holiday season, great forces of women and children, interspersed with a few men, are at work weaving the evergreen on the wire frames. The garlands, when completed are stored away in a damp place, until they are shipped out to fill the orders that are flooded in upon them from every town in the country.
Foreigners Get Big Trees.
“The Danes, Swedes and Norwegians buy the finest trees they can secure for their churches and Sunday schools,” said a big dealer yesterday. “The Americans and Germans usually buy the smaller trees for home use. It shows the customs of the countries. You know in Sweden and Germany they make a great deal over Christmas and usually great companies congregate to celebrate. Thus it is the Swedish and Norwegians people here like to have their Christmas observances in the churches, and no trees are too large or too good for them. But the Americans and the Germans more especially seem to prefer to have Christmas at home, to have trees in the parlor for the children to exclaim over when they come down early Christmas morning. Hence we sell the smallest parlor trees to them.”