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Inner Western Courier Thursday Not Used Anymore : December 24th 2008
MB INNER-WEST WEEKLY, Monday, December 22, 2008 7 THE CHRISTMAS STORY www.innerwestweekly.com.au Appeal for more gift donations WITH just a few days to go before Christmas, The Salvation Army and The Smith Family are encouraging all residents to make a small difference to the lives of those less fortunate by donating a gift to the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal at Westfield Burwood and Ashfield Mall. The current Burwood gift tally is 664, still a fair way behind the 833 gifts donated last year. Appeal spokesman Gary Masters of the Salvation Army asks people to remember the appeal in their rush for gifts and give generously to Australian families who are struggling. ''If every shopper was able to do this, it would significantly help struggling families at this time of year,'' Major Masters said. ''It would allow them to truly enjoy Christmas. ''We encourage gifts to be donated for all ages but especially teenage boys as this age group is often neglected when it comes to gift giving and we ask that you consider them this Christmas.'' A further 40,000 presents are needed to reach the state tally of 85,000 in NSW. Presents are being collected until Christmas Eve and can be placed under a Wishing Tree in front of Kmart stores across Australia. A time-honoured tradition FIONA BOXALL The city of Riga in Latvia claims to be the site of the first Christmas tree in 1510' ' The annual Christmas tree at Darling Harbour always draws a crowd. THE evergreen tree is so much a part of our Christmas tradition we rarely stop to wonder why. But there is some rhyme and reason to the practice. One of the first recorded rituals involving decorative trees began with the ancient Romans who celebrated the festival of Satur- nalia -- which was dedicated to Saturnus, the god of agriculture -- by decorating trees with small pieces of metal. In Germany and Northern Europe, the practice of decorating coniferous trees originated in pagan times and is associated with the winter solstice. During the middle ages, a popu- lar play performed in the advent season depicted the evergreen paradise tree in the Garden of Eden hung with apples. The play ends with a prophecy of the coming of the Saviour. The city of Riga in Latvia claims to be the site of the first Christmas tree in 1510, while Christian folk- lore from the 16th century, credits Martin Luther with being the first person to decorate an indoor tree to symbolise the way the stars shone in the sky at night. The oldest genuine record of a Christmas tree was found in Strasburg in a personal diary dating from 1605 which tells of a tree decorated with paper roses, apples and candies. In the 17th and 18th century in Austria and Germany, the tops of evergreens were cut and hung upside down in the corner of the living room and decorated with apples, nuts and stripes of red paper. In Britain, Queen Victoria's German consort, Prince Albert, is said to have introduced the first royal Christmas tree in 1834, although some suggest the tra- dition had already been started by Queen Charlotte in the Queen's Lodge at Windsor on Christmas day in 1800. In America, the first trees were actually wooden pyramids covered with evergreen branches decorated with candles. The custom of Christmas trees was introduced to the US during the War of Independence by Hess- ian troops, although there were also early accounts of trees set up by German settlers in eastern Pennsylvania. By 1850, the practice had become fashionable in the eastern states amongst the anglophile American upper classes where, prior to this, it had been considered merely a quaint custom. So when you admire your Christmas tree this year, enjoy knowing you're part of a very long tradition. 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December 17th 2008
January 7th 2009