Easter trees became a tradition in the United States just after the Civil War. In Germany, the Ukraine, and Austria, the trees have been around longer. They would decorate evergreens with painted eggs. Eggs represent rebirth, renewal, and the resurrection.
The tree has gained rising popularity since the book “The Egg Tree” was published. By Katherine Milhous, the book tells the story of a girl who finds her grandmother’s old eggs hidden in the attic. She takes them outside and hangs them on the tree, and starts a wonderful new tradition in her family.
People use many different and colorful decorations on these trees. There are hand-painted eggs, miniature baskets with eggs, miniature straw hats with flowers attached, and a lot of ribbon used to hang each piece on the tree. Generally speaking, most people use a Forsythia or Cherry tree because the branches are the perfect ornament holders due to their crookedness.
Most of the eggs used have been blown out or had a pin inserted in one end. The yolk is then blown out and the shell painted. Packed away carefully, these fragile eggs can be used year after year.
Germans extend their decorations from the trees out to their gardens. So if you get to travel in Germany during Easter, you will see the live trees and the gardens decorated with colorful eggs. In some of their institutions such as an elderly resting home, you can find their foyers decorated with eggs, rabbits, and a large tree with baskets all around. If you look hard enough, you might spot a rooster and hen too.
If your tree is inside, make sure to decorate underneath as well. Place some rabbits and some egg baskets around the bottom of the tree. When the Easter Bunny comes, he will go fill the baskets with good surprises.
You can also adorn your tree with other decorative pieces. Chickens, roosters, little baskets, and eggs are always great. Find some garland to help in the festive look. Use some garland made of small flowers or little rabbits. The sky is the limit. Most importantly, have fun with your children deciding what will go on your Easter tree.