Now that the holiday season is in full swing those who celebrate Christmas (and other December holidays) are trimming their trees and homes with festive decorations. But, have you ever wondered where the Christmas tree tradition comes from? Here are a few fun facts about the history of the Christmas tree tradition:
No. 1: Long before Christianity, evergreen plants and trees had a special meaning for people in the winter months. They would don their homes with boughs of evergreen believing it kept witches, evil spirits, ghosts and even illness away. The ancient Egyptians and Romans were among the cultures that believed in the power and beauty of evergreens.
No. 2: Germany is credited with beginning the Christmas tree tradition in the 16th Century. It’s a widely held belief that Martin Luther was the first to add lighted candles to the holiday tree.
No. 3: The first record of Christmas trees in America was in the 1830s when German settlers brought the tradition to Pennsylvania.
No. 4: When Queen Victoria’s German husband, Prince Albert, put up a Christmas tree at Windsor Castle in 1848, the tradition was born throughout England, the United States, and Canada.
No. 5: Christmas ornaments started to gain popularity in the 1890s.
No. 6: While Americans didn’t take to Christmas trees right away, as they grew in popularity at the end of the 19th Century it was noted that Americans liked for their trees to reach from floor to ceiling, while Europeans’ trees were usually about four feet tall.
No. 7: German Americans used apples, nuts and marzipan cookies to decorate their trees, while other Americans used homemade ornaments.
No. 8: Christmas trees have become popular in many other countries outside the United States, England and Canada. In Mexico the Nativity scene has been a historic tradition and Christmas trees are sometimes incorporated there, and in Sweden trees are decorated stars, sunbursts, and snowflakes made from straw.