An Icelandic tradition of making your own Christmas tree

Iceland is a land where forests are scarce… the native forests are mostly composed of birch trees, and so the tradition of ornamenting Christmas trees as we know them is relatively new.

The first Christmas trees were imported to Iceland in the mid-19th century, mainly for the homes of Danish families. (NB until 1944, Iceland belonged to the Danish Crown and Danish families represented the upper-class)

Very few Icelanders could afford Christmas pine trees in those days, but some solved the matter by simply making their own!

The stamp motifs show homemade Icelandic Christmas trees. One comes from the farm Hruni and the other from Laugardælir; both farms are situated in the South of Iceland.

The Hruni Christmas tree (50g domestic) was made in 1873 and is considered the oldest homemade Christmas tree in Iceland! It is one meter in height, made of timber and painted green. 

690A - 50g domestic The Hruni Christmas tree

690A – 50g domestic
The Hruni Christmas tree

Day of issue 31.10.2019
Designer Tryggvi T. Tryggvason
Number per sheet 10
Printer Cartor Security Printing
Size 27×37 mm
Printing process Offset Litho
Price: ISK 195

38 wooden sticks protruding from the stem represent branches – they are wrapped with bearberry and each branch holds a candle. This tree originates from the estate of pastor Steindór Briem in Hruni and the craftsman was farmer Jón Jónsson. 

The Laugardælir Christmas tree (50g to Europe) dates back to the middle of the last century. It has a 63 cm stem which was turned on a lathe and has stylized branches intended for candles. The tree was found in the attic of the church of Laugardælir when it was being demolished.

690B - 50g to Europe the Laugardæla Christmas tree

690B – 50g to Europe
the Laugardælir Christmas tree

Day of issue 31.10.2019
Designer Tryggvi T. Tryggvason
Number per sheet 10
Printer Cartor Security Printing
Size 27×37 mm
Printing process Offset Litho
Price: ISK 250

Famous carpenter Gísli Brynjólfsson (1871-1961) is known for creating Christmas trees of similar shape and style. This strongly suggests that he is the maker of this particular Christmas tree, which was used for many years in the church of Laugardælir.

The stamps series 689 Icelandic Art X and other regular philatelic products such as the 2019 Stamp Year pack and the 2019 FDC year pack will also be released October 31st.

All these products are available from today in our webshop –  :-)

You can email us at stamps@stamps.is or telephone us on : + 354-580-1050 from 9am to 4pm Icelandic time.
You can also contact us on Icelandic stamps’ facebook page. See you there!

 

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