The traditional Christmas tree and ornaments
On December 23, 1848, an article published in The Illustrated London News featured a detailed drawing of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert with their family gathered around an elaborately decorated tree in Windsor Castle. The tree is a royal German Christmas tradition; it was eight feet tall and had six tiers of branches. The branches were decorated with candles, sweet treats, fancy cakes and candy suspended in baskets with colored ribbon. The tree stood on a small table covered in cloth and underneath were gifts of larger sweets, dolls and toys for the young members of the royal family. At the very top of the tree was the small figure of an angel with outstretched wings holding a wreath.
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s Christmas tree is recreated at Lower Fort Garry’s Red River Christmas. Look for traditional Christmas tree ornaments from the Parks Canada Collections: colourful pressed glass candle lamps, paper dolls decorated with tinsel, and Santa figures of moulded glass. This is livened up with ornaments made of fruit, popped corn and cranberries – typical of the time period.