Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?

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— Many of us have been decorating our Christmas trees with baubles, lights, and lovely ornaments for decades — but why do we have Christmas trees? And where does this custom come from?

Bringing evergreen indoors has been used for thousands of years to celebrate winter festivals by both Pagans and Christians. During the winter solstice, Pagans would decorate their homes with tree branches as a symbol of spring, which was just around the corner.

Fir trees were also used by the Romans to decorate their temples during the Saturnalia festival, and by Christians as a symbol of eternal life with God.

Germany is also widely regarded as the birthplace of the tradition, as many Christians began decorating trees brought in from outside. Those who didn’t have trees — or couldn’t afford them — devised their own ingenious alternatives, such as wooden pyramids.

Some of Germany’s first were adorned with delectable edible decorations such as gingerbread men and gold-covered apples (glass makers would also hang special small ornaments they had crafted themselves).

Who was the first to bring a Christmas tree into the house?

Martin Luther, a 16th-century preacher, is credited with being one of the first to bring a into his home — and also one of the first to add lights to the tree. Martin was seen walking through the forest one night before Christmas and looking up to see the brightly shining stars glistening through the tree branches, according to legend.

To recreate this scene for his family, he erected a tree in his living room and wired its branches with lovely lights.

When was the first Christmas tree brought to England?

While Queen Victoria and Prince Albert are credited with popularizing in England, the credit actually belongs to King George III’s wife, Queen Charlotte.

Queen Charlotte set up a yew tree in the middle of the drawing room at the Queen’s Lodge in Windsor in December 1800 for a large party for the children of the rich and noble. Baubles, fruit, toys, and small wax candles were used to decorate the tree. The spectacular sight wowed guests, and from then on, having a tree became popular, albeit only among wealthy families in England.

The Christmas tree tradition grew stronger with each passing year, and by the time Queen Charlotte died in 1818, it had become firmly established.

Prince Albert imported several spruce firs from his native Coburg in December 1840. But it wasn’t until 1848, when images of the royal family gathered around the royal were published in an edition of the Illustrated London News, that the practice of displaying Christmas trees became popular and widespread in England.

What does the Christmas tree represent?

Long before Christianity, plants and trees held special significance for many people during the cold winter months. Similarly to how many of us decorate our homes today, ancient cultures would hang evergreen boughs across their doors — many even believed that this could keep witches, evil spirits, and illnesses at bay.

In 2004, Pope John Paul II referred to the as a “symbol of Christ.” He claims that this ancient tradition extols the value of life and reminds Christians of the ‘tree of life,’ which is mentioned in the first book of the Bible, Genesis.

How have Christmas trees evolved in recent years?

We still decorate ours with baubles and string lights, just like the very first . Purchasing a real Christmas tree is still a tradition for many families, but there has been an increase in the use of artificial trees, particularly pre-lit , as households prefer fuss-free, low-maintenance trees that they can reuse year after year. The popularity of artificial Christmas trees has also resulted in a plethora of trends, such as rainbow trees and sunflower trees, as well as a variety of styles to suit various interiors, ranging from a winter wonderland-style snowy flocked tree to playful pink Christmas trees.

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