The Purpose of Christmas Tree Skirts
Christmas tree skirts are festive decorations used beneath the Christmas tree to cover the ground immediately around the tree stand. While tree skirts are beautiful additions to the Christmas tree, their purpose goes beyond mere tradition. Like each piece of the Christmas tree, the tree skirt has a purpose behind its usage.
A History of Tree Skirts
The first Christmas trees were actually lit with candles as opposed to bulbs. This meant that while lit, the candles would drip wax onto the floor. Christmas tree skirts were created to gather the wax as well as the fallen needles from the live trees to make clean up easier.
Traditional tree skirts were not very decorative and were simple pieces of circular fabric that could be placed beneath the tree and taken out for cleaning without hassle. As technology advanced, tree skirts became more decorative. Since wax was not going to drip on the tree skirt and ruin it, the skirt became more ornate with new fabrics and designs.
The Present Day Use of Tree Skirts
Now, the tree skirt is used primarily to hide the tree stand and add interest to the bottom of the tree. Placing presents beneath the tree on the tree skirt has become common practice, while placing presents that were light enough to be hung in the tree had been standard before bulbs became widely used. Tree skirts are still helpful for hiding the tree stand and gathering fallen needles even now that skirts have become more about decoration than function.
How to Choose a Christmas Tree Skirt
All sorts of materials go into the making of tree skirts. No longer are simple fabrics used but every type of fabric from cotton to upholstery grade. Velvet and silks are most used, and many skirts have tassel trim in complementary colors. While traditional tree skirts had little to no decoration on them, modern day tree skirts are very decorative. Tree skirts usually depict scenes from the nativity or a Christmas village, though many tree skirts take a non-traditional approach and depict reindeer, birds, and snowmen, or purely decorative items like holly and swirls. The design of the Christmas tree is left up to personal preference.
Modern tree skirts come in multiple sizes since Christmas trees are so varied. They still hold to the traditional shape, encircling a tree stand and coming to rest beneath the tree over the ground. Many tree skirts continue the round shape, though some are scalloped or star-shaped to depict the star of Bethlehem. The larger a tree, the larger a tree skirt should be. Choose a 56″ for artificial Christmas trees 9′ and higher. 48″ is great for 7.5′ trees, while 42″-48″ is ideal for 4.5′ to 6.5′ trees. 20″ tree skirts are used for mini Christmas trees and tabletop trees.
Whatever the tree skirt, the tradition is set. A tree looks best with a skirt whether to gather needles or hold presents. With the multiple sizes, fabrics, and scenes depicted on tree skirts, they have become a varied and popular Christmas decoration item.