The Christmas tree, I’ve discovered, is a relative newcomer to the New York holiday scene, at least according to the Nineteenth Century literary critic Evert Duyckinck, who writes in his entry of December 24, 1852:
“… The fog at Barnum’s Circus to the South gave an English atmosphere and distances to the street view. Christmas Trees offered for sale on the sidewalk in front of the Hospital, the [tops] of evergreens set in a square of wood and the branches hung with a few showy ornaments. This German Christmas tree within the last ten years has become quite an inhabitant of our parlors… “
(New York Diaries: 1609-2009. p. 416.)
The inhabitants of my own parlor are usually purchased from the Quebecers (Qubecoises?) at 6th Avenue and Christopher. It’s too early in the season to buy just yet. That would be panic shopping. But if you have nerves of titanium, you can wait until late in the week before Christmas and hope to grab that single, fabulous 8’ tall, Norfolk pine, marked half price because one side is missing. That side fits against a wall nicely. And who’d be so rude as to inspect the backside of a Christmas tree?