Learn your Christmas Tree History Here

Do you know your Christmas tree history?

Would you believe the first decorated Christmas tree was over 500 years ago? It was in Riga, Latvia in 1510 - that's according to the National Christmas Tree Association. (Yes, there is such an association.)

The Christmas tree that we are familiar with today came to the US in the 1800's with the German immigrants. They introduced smaller table top versions that gained in popularity. Soon taller trees were being brought into homes and decorated in honor of Christmas.

More Christmas Tree History:

Because of their popularity, the supply of evergreen trees was dwindling. So back in 1901, the first Christmas tree farm was established to replenish the supply. And we know how many there are today!

Christmas tree history

Legends or Christmas Tree history?

There are many stories surrounding the origin of Christmas trees. We can't be sure in many cases if there is any truth to them, but they are interesting to know about.

Most of the stories center around the birth of Christ and the gift He is to mankind. In Europe, people used folk tales about trees to teach their children about Jesus' birth.

The Three Virtues

One story that comes from Northern Europe, tells us that three virtues - Faith, Hope and Charity came from Heaven to find a tree that was as high as hope, as great as Faith, and as sweet as Charity, and that had a sign of the cross on every bough. That search led them to the forest where they found the Fir tree, lit by the brilliance of the stars.

Another story surrounding Christmas Tree history is The Upside Down Fir Tree. During the 7th century, an English monk used props to teach the word of God.

He used the triangular shape of the Fir tree to illustrate the relationship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that make up the Trinity. By the 12th century, the Fir tree was being hung upside down from the ceilings in peoples homes in Central Europe. This symbolized their Christian faith at Christmas time.

Martin Luther Legend

There is a famous legend about Christmas Tree history involving Martin Luther. The legend tells us that Martin Luther was out walking one snowy winter night, with the moon bright and stars shining brilliantly.

As he walked he thoughtfully recalled the miracle of Christ's birth. Delighted with the majestic evergreen trees on that star lit night, he chopped down a tree, brought it inside and put candles on it to represent the joy he felt about Jesus coming down from the stars to bring us eternal life.

More Interesting Christmas Tree History:

Paradise Tree
In the 11th century Europe, "Mystery Plays"or religious plays were popular, particularly the Paradise Play about Adam and Eve and creation.

Since the play usually took place during the winter festival, an evergreen tree was used to represent the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden. It was decorated with apples symbolizing the forbidden fruit.

Gradually, flat wafers were used on the Paradise Tree to symbolize the forgiveness of sins and the promise of the Savior coming again. This all was the beginning of a European custom of decorating a fir tree with apples and small white wafers at christmas time.

Eventually, the wafers were later replaced by little pieces of pastry cut into shapes such as angels, stars, hearts, flowers and bells.

German Influence

By the early 1600's many German towns were using elaborately decorated trees in their Christmas celebrations. Decorations first used were paper flowers, fruits, nuts, gold foil, small cakes and gifts, and candies.

These decorated Christmas trees continued to grow in popularity in the 1600's and 1700's especially among the German Lutherans. They eventually brought this custom to England and then to America.

More Modern Day

By the mid 1800's Christmas trees were even fashionable with the Royal family of England. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were featured in the London News with their children around their Christmas tree.

In America, the White House and President Franklin Pierce led the way for this tradition to take root and grow.

In general, Christmas Tree history does not come from pagan or biblical roots.

It has become a Christian tradition that teaches the evergreen and its decorations symbolize God sending His only Son to bring eternal life to a fallen world. However, unfortunately, popular culture sometimes gets away from this truth. Want to know more about the true meaning of Christmas?

Christmas tree history

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