Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree….
When I was a child growing up, I remember going with my family to buy a Christmas tree. After Thanksgiving Day, tree shopping was a big outing in our household.
I remember going to the store with my parents and picking out ornaments to decorate it with, and the almost serious discussion of whether to use a star, angel or Santa as our tree topper that year!
But I’ve always wondered: why do we put up a tree and where did this tradition come from? Well, if you were wondering the same thing, then this post is for you!
Trees were often used as winter solstice decoration long before Christmas was even a holiday. Many civilizations such as the Romans, Egyptians and Vikings decorated their dwellings and temples with branches of fir trees in hopes to honor their sun gods who would bring spring in the coming months.
It has also been known for people to decorate wooden pyramids instead of real trees during the winter solstice. Later, Christians began to recognize the Christmas tree as a symbol of “The Tree of Life”.
Celts, Vikings and others looked to Evergreen firs as a symbol for everlasting life as those trees particularly thrive throughout the year. They used fruit and anything else they can find to decorate the trees.
The Christmas trees we know today, can be traced back to German tradition. In fact, the British monarch, Queen Victoria who was also German sparked the decorative Christmas tree trend.
In 1848, an illustrated publication of Queen Victoria and her family gathered around a decorated tree at Windsor castle spread to the British and American public like wildfire as she was quite the trendsetter of her time.
Soon enough, everyone wanted a Christmas tree!
Christmas Trees Today
German settlers also brought the tree tradition to the United States in the early 1800s. By 1851, trees were being sold commercially so that every household could have one.
Originally, trees were fairly small enough to stand on tabletops but as the trend grew, people wanted larger trees to display. Almost a competition of who could have the largest and tallest trees.
Speaking of large trees! Did you know that Dortmund’s Christmas market has a tree that is about 148 feet tall? It is made of 1700 red spruces and decorated with 48,000 lights.
Do you like to buy your tree and decorate it early or wait until close to Christmas? Comment below and share this post!
Some photos sourced from Pixabay.com