Interestingly, the tree holders of wood, weighted down with lead, were decorated with a garden with house and figures, "animals of clay for its garden, and drying them by the kitchen stove. They were in the true quaint style of those sold by the country people. Two stags of chocolate colour, with gilded horns; a funny sheep; two birds representing, however ill, storks—one silvered over; a dog, and two shepherds with their tall staves, and arrayed in purple and blue, with green hats. All these were half lost in a wilderness of moss and heath, or issuing out of a wood formed of the twigs of the fir-tree."
The trees themselves were lavishly decorated with small red candles, sugar confections - fruits, musical instruments (trumpets, guitars, harps) "coloured hearts crowned with gilded crosses, dames in different costumes, babies on swaddling-boards, children riding on dogs."
Trees were sold at the market, or cut from the woods - some were cut from the tops of trees, "the woodwatchers are particularly on the alert, and a heavy fine is inflicted on any offenders that are taken in the act." Or "boughs straight enough to resemble tops"
The following excerpts are from the chapter "Christmas Eve - Weighnacht" in The Rural and Domestic Life of Germany -
"The day arrives. The drawing-room, or in Germany, the saloon, is closed. Only the person who is entrusted with each one's secret is admitted to it, and has the key. All the young people of the family, in fact, have been previously busy in preparing the tree, gilding walnuts and apples, and hanging them upon it; hanging on it also sundry little cakes, and figures of sugar-work of various colours. This has been the source of great delight to them. The tree has been set in its place, and then the room consigned to the one confidential person, who has laid out, in tasteful array, the presents intended for every person, each in a group by themselves."
"But, perhaps, the confectioners shops are in the greatest glory, the Germans being as great lovers of sweetmeats as of tobacco. Here are to be seen immense quantities of all sorts of little cakes and confections; almost every thing that you can conceive in sugar and chocolate. Figures in the costumes of all nations; grotesque-figures; figures of animals, and of all kinds of characters. The student smoking, the bauer or peasant, the countrywoman, the child on his rocking-horse, Swiss and Tyrolese maidens, all elegantly moulded and gaily coloured, with representations of sausages, fruits, musical instruments, thimbles, etc. These are chiefly bought to hang upon the Christmas-tree. They are set out in the shops in separate departments, each after their own kind; and, on entering, so well does the sugar-baker know what you are come for, that he hands you a basket, and you go round and select such figures as you please.
For about a fortnight before Christmas the markets are filled with preparations… Numbers of Christmas-trees shew themselves for sale. These are principally tops of fir trees, or boughs straight enough to resemble tops. Much damage is said to be done in the woods at this season, by the cutting of these tops; the woodwatchers are particularly on the alert, and a heavy fine is inflicted on any offenders that are taken in the act. These trees are from six inches high up to ten or twelve feet or more, according to the size of the house, or the finances of the purchaser.Board base with garden, house
They are generally set in a thick board or block of wood, weighted with lead, and on this board is made a garden, paled in with ornamental paling, having at the back generally a house of wood or cardboard. The garden is filled with moss and green sprigs of the fir, and in it stand shepherds, sheep, a dog, a stork, and one or more stags with gilded horns.