Unwrapping the History and Heart of Mississippi’s Christmas Tree Tradition

Mahala Roach’s neighbors on Depot Street in Vicksburg, MS, probably wondered what was going on when they saw an evergreen tree being taken into her home on a December day in 1851. It is believed that the tree displayed in her parlor was the first Christmas tree in Mississippi. 

While Christmas trees had cemented themselves as symbolic pillars of the winter season long before in ancient cultures, it took a little longer for the German practice to take root as an American tradition. As late as the 1840s, Christmas trees were seen as pagan symbols and not accepted by most Americans.  

However, once the popular royals, Queen Victoria and her German Prince, Albert, were shown in a magazine in 1846 standing with their children around a Christmas tree, the tradition became a fashionable custom. Americans and Mississippians, such as Mahala Roach, followed suit and by the 1890s Christmas ornaments were arriving from Germany and Christmas tree popularity was on the rise around the United States.  

Now, Christmas trees have taken on new meaning, and stand as symbols of gathering as they adorn living rooms earlier and earlier each year. Whether you are the type of person to decorate months before or the week leading up to Christmas day, choosing a Mississippi-grown Christmas tree for your home will make every shared moment that much more special. 

“When you choose a locally-grown Genuine MS® Christmas tree, you’re not just bringing home a symbol of the holiday season — you’re supporting local farmers and our state’s agricultural industry,” said Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson. “These trees are lovingly nurtured throughout the year, resulting in trees of exceptional quality and freshness for your family to enjoy.” 

Every year, Mississippi Christmas tree farms grow thousands of Christmas trees, from the popular Leyland Cypress to the Eastern Red Cedar. These farms provide a festive atmosphere where families create fond memories and start family traditions. Don Kazery, owner of Kazery Christmas tree farm in Jackson, MS, recounted the joy he experiences in providing a platform for people to make lasting memories. 

“When you look at what you’re doing, and if you enjoy what you’re doing, then that goes a long way,” said Kazery. “It’s a valuable part of raising Christmas trees because you’re giving back to people and providing them the experience of coming out.” 

Now more than ever, Americans want to know where their products are coming from. Mississippi has over 20 Christmas tree farms that allow you and your family to stand on the soil your tree was grown in and have it cut down in front of you. Your investment in a real Christmas tree allows tree farmers to plant more saplings that produce oxygen daily for 18 people for every acre that grows. Christmas trees also absorb dangerous toxins in the air and are biodegradable, sending nutrients back to the soil they came from once discarded. 

Do as the royals and live out your Hallmark movie dreams by purchasing a real Christmas tree from one of the state’s Christmas tree farms. Find farm locations, proper tree care tips and the different types of trees on the Mississippi Christmas Trees website at https://mschristmastrees.com/.