Christmas tree stands come in all shapes and sizes these days, and are made out of a wide variety of materials. However no style of stand may be as charming as the traditional cast iron Christmas tree stand. Both solid and ornamental, these substantial stands evoke a nostalgia for times gone by. They represent for many the very beginnings of the family Christmas tree tradition.
While the idea of bringing evergreen boughs into the home is likely an ancient one, our modern tradition of a “tree in every living room” is a surprisingly recent development. Early German and Hessian immigrants brought the tree-decorating tradition with them to the American Colonies. A popular market for “Christmas trees” started to take off in the United States in the late 1800s.
In 1876, Christmas tree stand as we know them today were introduced. Made from cast iron, these functional objects were attractive as well. The legs of the stands often featured the same patterns you would expect to find on a cast iron bench or woodstove. They were designed to last as a piece of furniture that a family could enjoy for years, even generations.
Like any cast iron product, the stands are made by pouring molten iron into a mold. Next, a finish is applied, often in the form of baked-on enamel. The tree is held in place by 3 metal screws that run perpendicular to the trunk and can be adjusted to accommodate a tree of various diameters. Some stands also include a central spike that goes into the bottom of the trunk. The center of the stand is a water-tight reservoir that can be repeatedly filled to keep the tree hydrated over several weeks.
When using a traditional cast iron stand, keep in mind that they are heavy. It is best to plan on not moving the stand once it has been placed. Once a spot has been chosen, place the tree in the stand, being careful center it as closely as possible. A second person can come in handy here to hold the tree upright while the screws are tightened around the trunk.
At this point is advisable to take a step back and make sure the tree aligned correctly. If it is visibly leaning in one direction or another, you can easily fix the problem by loosening or tightening the screws on the various sides of the trunk until the desired angle is reached. Then you are ready to decorate your tree, but not before adding a healthy dose of water to the reservoir within the cast iron stand. Most experts agree that sufficient watering is the key to a tree that stays green and healthy all season long. If you are looking for a sturdy and reliable Christmas tree stand that will also add some charm to your holiday festivities, you cannot do better than a traditional cast iron stand. It makes a tree the perfect centerpiece for family celebrations. Moreover, this stand will likely become a cherished family heirloom for generations to come.