Saturday, 8 December 2012
Christmas Countdown 6 - The Royal Tannenbaums
Nothing to do with the (wonderful) film of the same name. Tannenbaum is German for the fir tree - which is usually used as a Christmas tree. The Christmas tree has been popularised by German royalty ever since the 1500's. It is a totally non-Biblical Christmas icon.
It has always been believed that Britain owes its love of the tradition to Queen Victoria's Prince Consort, Albert, but the first monarch to introduce Christmas trees into Britain was actually George III - through his wife Queen Charlotte. Post-Revolutionary Russia adopted the tree as a secular replacement for the nativity crib - with the Red Star replacing the Star of Bethlehem, and Sputniks and Cosmonauts replacing traditional baubles.
Jackie Tyler puts her brand new tree up on Christmas Eve - which is exactly when you are supposed to put them up, traditionally. The idea of erecting the tree earlier - at the start of Advent or after Thanksgiving comes from North America.
Of course, the tree Jackie puts up has been delivered anonymously and is actually a lethal weapon devised by the Roboform Santas. When activated, it spins furiously and wreaks havoc in the flat - until the Doctor zaps it with his Sonic.
Christmas trees are supposed to be taken down as of 5th January. If you don't, your flat is just as likely to be wrecked as the Tylers', as real trees have a built in self-destruct mechanism, whereby they turn brown and all the needles drop off en masse.