US Christmas Tree Sales - 2010 to 2016

Week 40 Dataset and Historical Background

Posted by David Velleca on December 2, 2018

Historical Background

Christmas Trees are a ubiquitous part of the holiday season, found throughout stores, corporate environments and of course homes. Our modern decorations are thought to trace their roots back to the 16th century in areas that are now part of Germany. However, the use of evergreens in winter celebrations goes back to the Ancient Egyptians, Romans, Hebrews and even the Chinese. The earliest Christmas Trees were decorated with flowers, paper ornaments and illuminated by candles.

Christmas Trees saw a huge surge in popularity when the marriage of Queen Victoria to her German husband Prince Albert exposed the United Kingdom to the tradition. The elegant trees of the British Royal Family were illustrated in the American publication, "Godey's Lady's Book" in 1850. Though not the first time Christmas Trees were introduced to the US (they trace their American roots to the late 1700's), it was truly the beginning of their popularity.

The simple ornaments and candle-lit trees saw a huge change in 1882, when Edward Johnson used electric lights to illuminate a Christmas Tree for the first time. As electric lights became the norm, Christmas Trees became even more popular, with large public trees displayed in cities across the nation. The Christmas Tree has become an icon of the winter holiday season with families developing traditions around the selection and purchase of a tree, or putting up the tree, decorating the tree, or even hiding and finding a special ornament in the tree.Data around Christmas Trees is surprisingly hard to find. This week, we're looking at a small dataset on Christmas Tree sales from 2010 to 2016. This is another relatively simple dataset, but should be a fun one for some creative visualizations. We'd love to see what you can uncover! Download the data and see what you can do. Create your viz and post your work to Tableau Public and Twitter with the hashtag #ThrowbackDataThursday, tagging @TThrowbackThurs. We'd really love to see what you can come up with!

Data Source

This week's dataset comes from Statista. Please be sure to cite the source on your viz. The photo on this page is from the Baltimore Sun.