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Christmas Trees in Market Square

Christmas Trees For Sale in Market Square, December 1952
Queen’s University Archives. George Lilley fonds V25.5 21-41

A sure sign that Christmas is not far away, besides the annual Santa Claus Parade, are the hundreds and hundreds of Christmas trees, of all shapes, sizes and varieties that suddenly appear around the city to adorn parking lots, storefronts, and other empty spaces. Often cut well in advance of late November, early December, these green conifers are shipped to Kingston from all over the province to be sold as fundraisers and other revenue generators for a variety of volunteer and community organizations. Dating from the 16th century in northern Germany, the tradition of putting up and decorating a tree within the confines of one’s home in order to celebrate the season has become a staple at this time of year. While increasing numbers are turning away from the traditional tree in favour of the artificial variety, quantities of the former are still available today, as they were in December 1952, when photographer George Lilley snapped this picture of Market Square, festooned with not only a large number of vehicles, but an equally large number of trees.

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