In the past, mats were placed around the base of the Christmas tree to catch candle drippings, pine needles, and sap. Over time, a sheet of simple cotton fabric was used for this purpose and to serve as a decorative accent as well.
Today, Christmas tree skirts are part and parcel of holiday décor. There is a wide variety of styles and designs that will suit any theme. Materials are no longer limited to cloth; velvet, fur, wool, and satin are now commonly used and embellished with appliqué, lace, or sequins.