My daughter looked puzzled when I told her I wanted to make Easter Egg Trees with the grandkids. “What’s an Easter Egg tree?” And “Who ever came up with the idea of hanging eggs from trees?”
Good question. Apparently the origins have been lost, but the tradition may have begun in Germany when eggs, being signs of new life, were hung on the yet-bare branches of trees in early spring.
German Volker Kraft made Easter Egg Trees an extreme tradition when he began hanging hand-blown decorated eggs (made by Mrs. Kraft) on a tree in his yard in 1965. Every year, his wife made more eggs. Every year, he hung them. In 2012, Kraft and his grown children hung over 10,000 eggs on their tree! Aren’t they beautiful?
The last tree the Krafts decorated was in 2015; the eggs were donated to a local organization.
When I was a girl, my mother would help me push big jelly beans onto the thorns of a thorn tree branch in a pot, and my top-heavy version of an Easter Egg Tree sat on the glass coffee table in the living room every Easter. My father also hid jelly beans in the basement for my brother and me to find. The best part was discovering a stale jelly bean around Halloween.
One Easter I hung plastic eggs from a sapling tree in our front yard to surprise my children. The bigger surprise came the next morning when we discovered someone had driven right across the lawn and over the tree for laughs. I didn’t bother with an Easter Egg tree after that.
Do you think Easter Egg Trees are a dying tradition? I hope not. This year, I cut two sucker branches from a thorn tree, stuck them florist’s foam in pots from the Dollar Store, and my granddaughter and grandson hung tiny ornaments from the branches. It wasn’t long before the 2-1/2 year-old lost interest, but my daughter, who initially thought the idea was kind of silly, really enjoyed finishing his tree.