The Sacramento District Review – December 2012

In this Month’s Issue:
A Look Back at the Christmas Tree
Christmas Tree Sales
Kids Corner
The Ranger’s Report

The Sacramento District Review is a monthly newsletter prepared by the Sacramento Ranger District of the Lincoln National Forest.


A Look Back at the Christmas Tree

-Jason Schultz
It’s almost that time of year again, the time when we leave the confines of our homes to claim our own piece of Christmas spirit: The Christmas tree. If you decide to go to your local supermarket and purchase a tree, or take the more traditional approach and venture into the forest for one, battling inclement weather and woodland creatures along the way, you are partaking in an event that dates back many centuries.

Though there are mixed opinions as to when the use of a Christmas tree first came about, many historians have credited the start of the Christmas tree to having originated in Germany around the 16th century. Christians at this time would bring trees into their homes and decorate them. It is widely believed that Martin Luther, a 16th Century protestant reformer, was the first individual to add lighted candles to the tree. It is said that while walking towards his home one winter evening, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst the evergreens. To recreate the scene, he put up a tree in the main room of his home and lined it with candles.

It wasn’t until around the 19th century that Americans became familiar with Christmas trees. The first record of one actually being on display was in the 1830’s in Pennsylvania by the German settlers. Most of the 19th century Americans found the display of Christmas trees to be an odd practice and as late as the 1840’s, Christmas trees were seen as a pagan symbol and were not accepted by the majority of Americans.

To certain religious followings, like the New England Puritans for example, Christmas was a sacred event, not to be “paganized” with fancy decorations or any other frivolous things.
Influential individuals like Oliver Cromwell took a very strong stance against such “heathen traditions” such as Christmas carols, trees, and any joyous occasions that he believed desecrated the sacredness of Christmas.

In 1659, the general court of Massachusetts enacted a law making any observance of December 25th a penal offense, unless it was for church and worship services only. It wasn’t until the 19th Century, when German and Irish immigrants fought and defeated the Puritan legacy that Christmas trees became more widely accepted.

In 1846, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were drawn into an illustration of the London News. In the picture, the Queen and Prince are seen standing with their children around a Christmas tree. Queen Victoria was favored among her people and what was done in her court always became fashionable and popular in Britain. In fact, its popularity reached across the globe and hit the eastern coast of America by storm. The Christmas tree had “officially” arrived.

The 1956 National Community Christmas Tree at the White House was delivered to Washington D.C. from the Lincoln National Forest

Around the 1890s, shipments of Christmas ornaments were arriving from Germany and Christmas tree popularity continued to rise in the U.S.

It wasn’t until the early 20th century that Christmas tree decorations started evolving for American people. Mostly homemade ornaments were used, and some of the German American community decorated their trees with apples, nuts, and cookies. Eventually colored popcorn joined in the mix. Once electricity became prominent in our everyday lives, it was possible to have Christmas tree lights that would sparkle and glow indefinitely.

Though the history of the Christmas tree is complex, it has earned its rightful place in our lives during the Christmas season, and has permanently made its mark on American culture.

Information from

Falling Snow

See the pretty snowflakes,
Falling from the sky;
On the wall and housetops,
Soft and thick they lie.

On the window ledges,
On the branches bare;
Now how fast they gather,
Filling all the air.

Look into the garden,
Where the grass was green;
Covered by the snowflakes,
Not a blade is seen.

Now the bare black bushes,
All look soft and white,
Every twig is laden,
What a pretty sight!

-Author Unknown



Christmas Tree Sales

Lincoln National Forest is selling Christmas Tree Permits for $5 each Nov. 1st – Dec. 21st at District Office’s and at the Supervisor’s Office in Alamogordo. The permits are available for purchase ONLY at Forest Service offices or through a mail-in application which can be printed on-line at: or picked up at various retailers in NM and TX.

Mail-in applications must be received by Dec. 14th.

In addition to our regular hours, the Sacramento Ranger District Office will be open on Saturdays 9:00am-2:30pm Nov. 17th thru Dec. 15th for Christmas tree permit sales.



The Evening Lecture Series is on a Winter break and will resume in March 2013.


Kids Corner

By J. Fink

Craft Project:
Clothespin Reindeer

-3 old-fashioned clothespins
-2 wiggly eyes
-1 small red or black pom-pom
-1 small white pom-pom
-Ribbon and other decorations (optional)

1. Glue two clothespins together facing the same way to create the body and legs.
2. Glue the third clothespin to the body flipped up to be the head and antlers.
3. Glue on eyes, a red or black pom-pom nose and white tail.
4. Embellish with paint, ribbon & other decorations if desired.

*Parental supervision is recommended

I am a bird you know quite well,
All dressed in black and white.
And even though I do have wings
They’re not designed for flight.

I waddle, waddle, waddle,
On my funny
little feet.
Across the icy snow I go
To find a fishy treat!

-Roxanne Williams


The Ranger’s Report

-James Duran

District Ranger, James Duran

As the Sacramento Ranger District transitions into the winter holiday season, we are thankful for a productive year and we look forward to another great year of public service.

I’d like to sincerely thank everyone within the community who has offered assistance and support in managing the Lincoln National Forest throughout 2012.   I am thankful to all those who have engaged in conversations at our monthly lecture series. This effort to connect with our local community has truly been a fun event and I appreciate all the attendees who have shared their experiences or offered suggestions.

We have worked hard at sharing information and many of you may have had the opportunity to tune in as several of our employees shared information and answered questions on local radio programs.

We continue to publish information ranging from current events and critical updates to general information and fun facts about the outdoors and we’ve even started a youth segment in the Sacramento District Review that I am very excited about.

Thanks to those who organize the great parades that take place in our community. We have enjoyed participating and we cherish the public support that we    receive.

Next year will be a year of continued collaboration. We have several projects underway that are specifically for the benefit of visitors to the Lincoln National Forest and the local area. We will continue our work implementing valuable vegetative treatments. I thank all of the homeowners adjacent to our projects in areas where we’ve been implementing mastication work, tree thinning, and prescribed fire operations. I know at times this can be inconvenient, but we appreciate your patience and your support.

Again, to all our community friends, thanks for your support and we look forward to your continued assistance as we work hard carrying out our assigned mission.  Please be safe this holiday season.


Write a letter to the Ranger

If you’ve ever wondered about timber harvests, endangered species, off-road vehicle use, or other natural resource management topics, this is your opportunity to get your answer.

Individuals aspiring to acquire knowledge about the US Forest Service are encouraged to escape the fast-paced world of technology and write a good old-fashioned letter to the Ranger.

If you would like to write a letter to James Duran, Sacramento District Ranger, please mail it to:  P.O. Box 288, Cloudcroft, NM 88317.