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Christmas Tree History and More

Updated on October 25, 2014

How Did Christmas Trees Began?

This is what the modern Christmas tree looks like today. They come in all different sizes to suit the house or apartment. The Christmas tree can be fir, pine or spruce. And even an artificial one. Of course the first trees that were brought into the home during this holiday season was a real tree. This tree was decorated in homemade ornaments. Perhaps a string of popcorn or cranberries used as garland. Candles were added to the tree. It was a pretty site to see.

Photos of the First Christmas Trees

Photo Classic of Getting a Christmas Tree

Lighting the Outdoor Tree

Riga's First Christmas Tree Year 1510


Why do we decorate the Christmas tree?

There are some variations on how the how the Christmas tree history began.

The habit is probably inherited from the Egyptians that used to decorate their houses with palm tree leaves in the day of the astrological winter. This habit was taken by the Romans that used instead of palm trees the conifers.

But the story really begins around the 7th century when a monk from Crediton, Devonshire, went to Germany to teach the word of the Lord. Legend says that he used the triangular form of the Christmas tree to symbolize religious meanings. In the Europe of the 12th century, on Christmas day, the Christmas tree was installed upside down, hanging down from the ceiling!

It appears the tree was first decorated at Riga in 1510. At the beginning of the 16th century, Martin Luther decorated the tree with candles to suggest to his children the sparkling of the stars in the sky.

At the middle of the 16th century, in Germany, appear the first markets specialized in selling presents for Christmas, usually food or objects of practical use.

Christmas decorations that were meant to suggest snow were invented in Germany in 1610. At that time not only they were silvery, but they were also made out of silver. There were invented machines to make thin silver strings for the tree. Silver lasted long but it oxidized very quickly, so they tried to ally it with cooper and zinc, but the product was so heavy that it just broke under the action of his own weight. So silver was used till the middle of the 20th century.

In Great Britain, the Christmas tree came along with merchants that originated from Germany and settled in England. Decorating the Christmas tree meant silver ornaments, candles and pearl-like ribbons all produced in Germany and Eastern Europe at the time. The custom said that every family member or invited person had to have a little tree placed on the table in front of him, with the presents besides it.

In 1846, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert - both born in Germany - appear in "Illustrated London News", along with their children, all around the Christmas tree. The popularity of the regal family made this custom to spread fast among the people. The tree became a fashion matter not only in the Britain Islands, but also on the eastern coast of America.

Decorations were of a huge variety. Mostly home made because they were expensive at the time. Young ladies spent hours cutting paper snowflakes and stars, folding presents envelopes and paper supports for candy.

In America, the Christmas tree appears around 1747, in German communities from Pennsylvania, but it spreads only along with the development of communications, at the middle of the 19th century.

In 1879 the electric light bulb was invented by Thomas Edition. In 1882, Edward Johnson, as associate of Thomas Edition was the first to electrically light Christmas tree.

Present day, we have a variety of firs, pine and spruces to pick from. Plus all the different type of artificial Christmas trees.

Christmas Lighting

Christmas Tree Memories - Family Tradition

Cutting Down Our Tree

When I was a little girl, my family would drive out into the country where we would cut our own Christmas tree. Once we were there, it became a long process. My father was a perfectionist and was quite picky. It couldn't be just any tree. It had to be the best one out there. We would search for what seems like hours. I would watch people come after we did and leave long before, with their non-perfect tree. Often we would return to where we first started, my father saying, "I guess, this one will have to do!" with the disappointment ringing from his voice.

After this entire ordeal, we would drink hot cocoa and take the hay ride that was offered on farm. The hot cocoa was so warming after spending a good deal of the day searching for that perfect tree. Our legs were so tired, that the squares of hay, which we sat on felt more, like a cushion of feathers.

Sometime in my teenage years, we bought our first artificial tree. From there my parents never went back to the real thing.

I couldn't help but sense my dad's disappointment of not going back to the tree farm those first few years with the artificial one.

I often look back at those days. It was more than looking for a Christmas tree. It was our family tradition.

Newlywed's First Christmas Tree

Our First Tree

It was a good time in life, still newlyweds, both doing little things for each other. We were carefree, with no children, no huge debts or aches and pains. We were invincible. Our looks were important to us, we were in shape and being healthy was cool.

My husband and I lived in a small apartment in California, far away from any of our families. I left my family from the beautiful state of Washington and his from Wisconsin. He was in the service and stationed at Camp Pendleton.

It was our first Christmas together, just the two of us. We had set up a space in our little apartment for the Christmas tree. Now was the time to search out for that perfect tree.

We lived in a small retirement town. Everything seemed more expensive. Even for back then, in the good old days. We were on a budget, which made it harder to find that perfect tree.

We went from one tree lot to the next. The more we looked, the more disappointed we became.

After searching for what seemed like hours and the last tree lot in town. A young man working on the lot came over to us. He said that he was secretly pocketing some money on the side. He offered us a nice looking tree that had a $25 tag on it for $1. It wasn't until we moved the tree to our car, that we noticed it was very sparse in the back.

Once in the apartment, we placed it in the corner. It was our Charlie Brown Christmas tree. After we had decorated it, you would have never known that it was branch less in the back. It was perfect! Just like in "A Charlie Brown Christmas." It turned out to be one of our best Christmas trees ever.

After Decorating the Tree - Comes Decorating the House with Lights

Now that you have your tree decorated, what comes next?

Of course setting up the outside lights!

Solar Multicolor LED Christmas Lights

Real versus Artificial

Do you plan on having a real tree or an artificial tree for Christmas?

See results

Christmas Tree Varieties and Types

Shop for the Right Tree

Looking for the right tree, but don't know which variety is right for you? This guide will help you decide which Christmas Tree species or types sold and grown in the United States is worth the price and has the properties you want. (Sorry, if this is a little fuzzy. But it is readable. PUT YOUR GLASSES ON.)

Don't Forget the Send Out the Cards


Christmas Tree Cards with Matching Stamps

Vintage Christmas Tree Card

Vintage Christmas Tree Postage Stamp

both by Sandyspider on Zazzle. Click on these links above to go there.

© 2008 Sandy Mertens

What's Your Christmas Tree Memory? - Leave a comment to let me know you were here! Thanks for visiting!

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    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 3 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Ardhendu Dey Thank you. I did want to get all the history facts in.

    • profile image

      Ardhendu Dey 3 years ago

      Very nice article with wonderful details. Informative and useful :)

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 5 years ago

      Interesting lens, i did not know Christmas tree's history would be very much interesting. Thanks.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 7 years ago

      HI! I didn't know the history facts, this is a lens with a lot of info, and I like your presentation.Stardust Blessing your lens.

      Merry Christmas

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 7 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      very interesting story. i love this lens

    • CruiseReady profile image

      CruiseReady 7 years ago from East Central Florida

      Loved the story of your first tree!

    • profile image

      CR2000 7 years ago

      Great Lens : )

    • Sami4u LM profile image

      Sami4u LM 7 years ago


      The best Christmas Tree Memory I can remember was the time I saw some knock the tree over while dancing. I wish I would of had a video of that. One of the funnest thing I ever saw. They tried like three time to get to stand back up.

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 8 years ago

      very nicely done lens and information...5* lensrolling it to my 'Christmas tree' lens...better late then never! love the glass blocks

    • profile image

      myraggededge 8 years ago

      Lots of great stuff here. Lensrolling to my Best Artificial Christmas Trees - though we do always have a real one!

    • almawad profile image

      almawad 8 years ago

      I Love Xmas trees and I am surprised that it has ancient Egyptian origin. I have always thought that it was some Scandinavian thing with all the evergreens in December . We always bought our trees and they never were higher than my mom :) ...It always saddened me when we had to throw it . I love Andersen's tale on the fir tree ..

    • AlisonMeacham profile image

      AlisonMeacham 8 years ago

      A wonderful lens Sandy. Christmas is my favorite time of the year and I always put up the tree as early as possible! Angel Blessings to you

    • profile image

      KFreeman 8 years ago

      Nice lens Sandy. I need to link this lens to my VintageChristmasDecor lens.I'm learning a ton from you Squidoo vets, really fast.


      Peace & Love

    • caketech profile image

      caketech 8 years ago

      Love the glass block Christmas present idea! 5*s all the way!

    • Laniann profile image

      Laniann 8 years ago

      Great pictures - the second one looks like Macy's Square in New York. Always nice to learn more about our traditions.

    • MsSnow4 profile image

      Carol Goss 8 years ago

      Gret lens . i will lens roll it to my Christmas lens :)Nice to learn more about a Christmas tree

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 8 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Great lens! My parents had a choose and cut Christmas tree farm that they ran after they retired. For 15 years all of the family would go and help out between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was great...really put you in the Christmas spirit! Thanks for the memories! 5*

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Great lens!

    • Lizblueberry profile image

      Lizblueberry 9 years ago

      Absolutely a great lens. I was so impressed!

    • profile image

      TrueGhostTales 9 years ago

      Nice lens, it was very interesting to see the history behind Christmas trees

    • profile image

      poutine 9 years ago

      Fantastic lens.

      I love the natural Christmas tree. My dad used to go and get it

      at his dad's farm. He always chose such a pretty one!

    • profile image

      bragova 9 years ago

      Many thanks for a fascinating lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      very nice, never knew so much about christmas tree's as i do now, great job on the lens, love the pictures

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 9 years ago

      Christmas is over. It hated taking down the tree. I love the lights.

      Great lens


    • profile image

      HomeTowne_Market 9 years ago

      Very nice lens. tons of info and great pictures. Thanks for sharing this!

    • monarch13 profile image

      monarch13 9 years ago

      Congratulations on your win too. 5 stars and rolled to "The Sacred Tree of Life".

    • thepartyanimal2 profile image

      thepartyanimal2 9 years ago

      Yahoo you are a winner in The Squidoo Home for The Holidays Lens Contest So Go Grab your badge.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      so that's how the tree of Christmas came to be?.. wow..

    • profile image

      tdove 9 years ago

      Thanks for joining G Rated Lense Factory!

    • profile image

      tdove 9 years ago

      Thanks for joining G Rated Lense Factory!

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Lanley 9 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      The glass boxes are new to me. Neat.

    • Sensitive Fern profile image

      Sensitive Fern 9 years ago

      Everything I wanted to know about Christmas trees and more! I've lensrolled this to my Blue Christmas Lights and Make A Paper Ornament lenses. 5*

    • Wendy L Henderson profile image

      Wendy Henderson 9 years ago from PA

      Wonderful Lens. I love the glass boxes as well.

    • profile image

      poutine 9 years ago

      I learned a few things today about the christmas tree.

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 9 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      [in reply to foovay] I'm glad you like it. You are the only one who sent an email and asked for the coloring book. Funny how hard it is to give out free stuff. LOL

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      I just printed out the free Christmas coloring book. It is about twice the size of a Christmas coloring book I spent a buck on the other day - and much nicer! Great gfit - thank you!

    • michelledurakis profile image

      michelledurakis 9 years ago

      great lens, Love the christmas glass blocks, 5*

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Thanks for visiting my lens about "25 Inexpensive ways to celebrate Christmas". Now its finished! and you can see your lens being featured there.

    • profile image

      saraht43 9 years ago

      Interesting to learn the history of the Christmas Tree. Great lens.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 9 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      This is wonderful and full of information as well as your beautifully told personal stories. I really enjoyed it and am lensrolling to my Christmas Tree In The White House lens. Thank you.

    • profile image

      jpetals 9 years ago

      Just like all of your lenses, this is full of detail. You take such pride in everything you create. Wonderful lens. =)

    • profile image

      jpetals 9 years ago

      Just like all of your lenses, this is full of detail. You take such pride in everything you create. Wonderful lens. =)

    • bgamall lm profile image

      bgamall lm 9 years ago

      Very pretty and seasonal lens, Sandy!

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      beautiful lens! this would be useful to my new lens "25 inexpensive ways to celebrate Christmas"

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      What a thorough lens - I learned a few things! I'll be sharing the link to this lens in my coloring pages blog also - the free coloring pages PDF is great!

    • TinyPrints LM profile image

      TinyPrints LM 9 years ago

      Wow, huge lens, tons of reading. Well done

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 9 years ago

      Love this lens!

    • michelledurakis profile image

      michelledurakis 9 years ago

      great lens on christmas Trees. trully loved it.

    • profile image

      GregGiordano 9 years ago

      Thanks for the nice lens on Christmas trees. I share my own Christmas stories at I will lens roll your lens to mine. Great job!


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