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PICTURE IT: CHRISTMAS, 1910.


by Alexandria O'Brien


It's that special, certain time of year again! As early as the beginning of last month, you could see garland-wrapped street lamps, wreaths adorn doors of local businesses and glamorously decorated Christmas trees each direction you turned.


My favorite Christmas decoration by far, is my Christmas tree. It is the focal point of our family room, shimmering with white lights and colorful ornaments of all shapes and sizes. Most are gifts, given to represent precious memories that I have with the person who gave them to me. From arcade game cabinets to wedding rings to Winnie the Pooh, my tree reminds me of so many good people and things in my life each time I gaze upon it.

Although Christmas trees have changed over the years one thing remains true - they are a symbol of life & joyful celebration for the year that has passed and the year to come. Christmas trees tell a story of the people that surround it. What does your Christmas tree have to say? Has it changed over the years or remained the same?


This month the Galveston County Museum has displayed a special Christmas tree as well. Believed to be the very first of it's kind in the area, it is probably the oldest Christmas tree you will ever see! In 1910, this 6-foot tall artifical tree was imported from Germany and purchased for $11 from Eiband's Department Store in Galveston by the Martin family. Supported by a wooden trunk and beautifully lit by real candles (as electric lights were not used yet), this Christmas tree graced the home of the Martin family for 24 years before it was passed to other family members.






In 1934, Mrs. Frank Martin passed the tree on to her daughter, who eventually passed it on to her son. The tree was displayed by many family members over the years, until it was donated to the Galveston County Museum in 2022.


Above is a picture of donor Lynn Ringh decorating the over 100-year-old yr old tree inside of the Galveston County Museum


As schools are beginning to let out for the winter break and out-of-town guests are coming in for family celebrations, it is the perfect time to visit the Galveston County Museum. Among many displays of important county history, this antique tree is beautifully decorated with historic ornaments, much like it was a century ago. See if you can spot the oldest ornaments on the tree!


Thank you to the Martin, Ringh, and Conley families for their donation!


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