Oh Christmas Tree, What is Your History?

Oh Christmas Tree, What is Your History?

Every year we invite a new tree into our homes to celebrate the Christmas season. Throughout the holidays, we share gifts, laughs and love around it, giving each tree its own story.

Fir, spruce and white pine are often named the most popular trees to share these memories with, but have you ever wondered the story behind Christmas’ favorite trees?  

Because of their long history with the holidays, there are a number of stories about early traditions with the Christmas tree.  

Festive Fir Trees         

The fir tree has traditionally been used to celebrate winter festivals around the world. Fir tree branches were used to decorate homes and temples. The rich green color and distinct smell so late in the year reminded people of the upcoming spring season. 

Trees were embellished with decorations, but not like the ornaments we know today; instead with edible objects like apples and nuts.

A Starry Night

Germany is recognized for starting the tradition of bringing Christmas trees into homes to decorate. According to History.com, in the 16th century, German priest Martin Luther spotted an evergreen tree glowing with light from the stars one night. He cut the tree down, brought it home and decorated it with candles to recreate the scene for his family.

Bringing in New Traditions

America, inspired by German settlers, began using Christmas trees in holiday traditions in the mid-1800s. People decorated their trees with handmade ornaments and strings of dyed popcorn. Since then, the Christmas tree has become a holiday symbol, sold commercially since 1850 and standing in more than 99 million homes today.

Long live your tree’s legacy! Consider recycling your Christmas tree to help the environment and wildlife reap its benefits for many months to come. For questions about “tree-cycling,” contact your local arborist.

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