The custom of bringing an evergreen tree indoors in the middle of winter to mark the winter solstice and to bring good luck to the home, is centuries old. Traditionally in German culture, a yule tree was placed at the entrance of the house on the celebrative feast day, December 24. Celebrating the festive season with Christmas trees was widespread among German Lutherans by the 18th century, and by the 19th century it had become a deep-rooted German tradition.
The Christmas tree was popularised in England in the mid-19th century by Prince Albert, the German husband of Queen Victoria. Brought to Australia by English and European immigrants, the Christmas tree has been an integral part of the Aussie Christmas ever since.
Where to buy farm fresh Christmas trees
NSW: Christmas Tree Man
Locals are welcome to visit the farm and choose their own tree each Sunday in December; online orders are delivered free within one day of the tree being cut. Installation and pick-up services are also available. Trees cost from $125–$210. Paddy’s River, Wingello. (02) 4884 1209;
Victoria: Daylesford Christmas Tree Farm
No matter what size tree you choose on this farm, an hour’s drive from Melbourne, the price is fixed at $50. Open daily from 9am–6pm from November 26. Coopers Lane, Daylesford. 0418 509 776, 0419 318 731;
South Australia: Santa Trees Christmas Tree Farm
This family-run 20-hectare Christmas tree farm has been operating for more than 20 years. Families planning to choose and cut their own trees are encouraged to pack a picnic and make a day of it. Trees priced from $65–$220 and delivery from $40. A pick-up service is also available. Norsworthy Road, Forreston. (08) 8389 1498;
Queensland: Chrissy Trees 4 U
Trees at this family-run Christmas tree farm are generally 2–3 metres tall. For those wanting to choose their own tree, the farm is open daily from 9.00am–4.30pm from December 1–19. Delivery is also available. Trees from $55–$85. 328 Reedy Creek Road, Kingaroy. (07) 4164 3161;
Western Australia: Christmas Trees of Wanneroo
From November 28–December 22, this farm is open to the public Tuesdays-Sundays, from 10am–6pm. Take the kids on the weekends, when Santa will be available for photographs. Delivery also available. Trees from $80–$340. 99 Rousset Road, Mariginiup, Wanneroo. (08) 9405 1351;
Tasmania: Killiecrankie Farm
Located in the Tamar Valley, this perennial plant nursery also has a Christmas tree plantation, with visitors welcome to choose and cut their own tree (keep an eye out for nesting birds), and picnic between the rows. Open weekends only from November 28–December 20. Trees from $50. 228 Glengarry Road, Glengarry. 0400 575 628;
Choosing a tree
When looking for a Christmas tree, seek out potted plants with compact foliage to ensure the tree has a good shape for attaching ribbons, balls, lights and other decorative pieces. One plant that stands out is the Wollemi pine, the native Australian conifer released to the world in March 2006. Thought to be extinct, the tree was discovered over 10 years ago growing in a remote chasm in the Wollemi National Park, north of Sydney. Once dinosaur food, today it’s an ideal and long-term choice for a potted Christmas tree.
As well as pines and other conifers, there are many other plants that can be decorated for Christmas as a unique alternative. Any shrubs that are sold as a standard or topiary can be used as a living Christmas tree. For something a little different, bring a pot of green indoors – whatever it may be – and decorate the plant as well as the pot. Plants that look great in early summer include blue or pink hydrangeas, elegant pure white liliums and bright, leafy poinsettias. The scarlet-red bracts of poinsettias bring a festive feel to any room and they make absolutely stunning table centrepieces. Poinsettias also come in lovely shades of pink and cream.