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The History of the Christmas Tree

As the holiday season approaches, people often get caught up in accomplishing all of the things that need to be done that they forget about the reasons behind why they are doing them. Sometimes it helps to slow down and remember what started all of the traditions that are so widely held today. A good place to start when thinking about holiday traditions is to learn about the history of the Christmas tree.

Ancient people are said to have used evergreen branches in their day, but it was actually the Germans who started putting up Christmas trees and decorating them at Christmas time. A widely accepted fact regarding the history of the Christmas tree is that Martin Luther, a Christian theologian, was walking home to his family one night and was overcome by the beauty of the stars. When he arrived home, he placed candles in a tree that was inside his home to replicate the beauty he saw when walking outside.

The history of the Christmas tree in America is relatively recent. The first settlers in America did not put up Christmas trees. It was not until the German people started immigrating to America in the 1800’s that the tradition of putting up and decorating a Christmas tree began here. The Germans brought their traditions with them to America, and slowly, the Americans started mimicking the practice. Some of the Christian leaders in America were against this tradition of decorating Christmas trees, but eventually the practice became widely accepted in America.

The history of the Christmas tree is not, as some people think, rooted in pagan practices. Rather, its history is centered on the celebration of the beauty of winter and what nature has to offer. The time-honored tradition of decorating Christmas trees is likely to continue for many years to come.

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photo credit: Scott Feldstien @ Flickr.com

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