History of the Christmas Tree Skirt

Christmas tree skirts have been around for a long time - and look certain to be a popular festive accessory for years to come.

The history books suggest that the tree skirt came into being in the 1870s in Germany where they were used in a very basic form to collect hot wax which dripped from candles which were lit on real Christmas trees.

Mats were placed at the base of the tree to collect the way and prevent it from messing up the floor area in homes. They was also seen as a good idea for collecting the little pine needles that annoyingly fall off fresh Christmas trees - the mat could catch the needles and stop them from scattering around the floor.

The Germans were among the first people to decorate their Christmas trees - they initially place small ribbon bows all around a tree and then hit on the idea of attaching lit candles to the bows.

In today's health and safety conscious world, it's hard to imagine a time when it was acceptable to put lit candles on a tree! The obvious fire risks don't bear thinking about.

There was nothing stylish about the primitive forms of Christmas tree skirts - they were just plain and simple mats or pieces of materials wrapped around the base of a Christmas tree.

Around 1879 the humble Christmas tree stand emerged and another use for a tree skirt was born - namely as a clever and simple way to cover an ugly-looking tree stand.

In the years that follow the Christmas tree skirt evolved into a much visually attractive feature - round skirts emerged, made from little patches of material sewn together or colourful pieces of cloth embroidered and adorned with traditional festive images, including holly leaves and berries.

These days the number of styles of Christmas tree skirts available to buy is truly remarkable - there are literally thousands of stylish skirts to choose from. These range from cheap and simple felt, cotton or paper products which are decorated with festive motifs and patterns, to deluxe faux fur, linen, silk and velvet skirts which can make a tree base look spectacular.

Most skirts offer the perfect location for displaying nativity figures in the approach to Christmas and they are a great place Christmas presents for the kids. 

Most tree skirts are round and flat, but another popular choice is the wicker, rattan or willow skirt which is a hard and robust structure which encircles the tree base and hides an unsightly stand and also Xmas tree light cables and wiring.