According to the first mass-produced artificial Christmas trees were made in Germany during the 1800s — goose feathers dyed green.

Then in 1930, Britain's Addis Housewares Company began producing Christmas trees made from brush bristles — the needles were animal hairs dyed green.

"Then came a thing of rare wonder: the aluminium Christmas tree — manufactured in Chicago in 1958. The 'silvery Evergleam' tree retailed for $25.

The 1963 Sears catalogue sold fake trees thus: "Whether you decorate with blue or red balls ... or use the tree without ornaments — this exquisite tree is sure to be the talk of your neighbourhood. High lustre aluminium gives a dazzling brilliance. It's really durable ... needles are glued and mechanically locked on. Fireproof ... you can use it year after year."


Anxiety baking is on the rise

According to a story in the Atlantic, young people working long hours could mean they're less likely to come home every night in time to roast a chicken instead of ordering takeaways ... "but many of them seem to have turned to weekend baking as a salve for the ambient anxiety of being alive in 2018. There's a good reason for that: Baking actually can be really relaxing".

Food journalist Kat Kinsman explains: "People are afraid to spend money, and they're feeling like s***. Baking is cheap, it's easy, and it's visceral."

When you're baking you put down your phone, get your hands dirty, and pay close attention to what you're doing and at the end you have something delicious (hopefully) to eat. "Baking is mindful. Mindfulness means paying attention to yourself in the moment and not being in the past or the future, but really being there," says Philip Muskin, a Columbia University psychiatry professor.

Straight outta compost

A reader writes: "Town planners, developers and politicians considering mass plantings should all read an excellent book, The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben. Chapter 27, entitled Street Kids, describes the miserable life that street trees have."

A terrible roadside manner

"Whatever the variety, the resultant root growth is the same," writes Judith Bowman. "Pohutukawa have been planted along the roadside of Coronation Rd and adjoining streets in Mangere Bridge and nearly all have already broken the kerbings and buckled the footpaths in just a few short years. Believe it or not these were planted to replace the kauris planted a few years previously. Neither are really good roadside choices."

Video Pick

80s Christmas song from The Waitresses...

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