Karen here, have you ever wondered why we put up a Tree at Christmas? I never gave it any thought until I was a young teenager. We celebrated both the religious and the retail part of the holidays growing up and I always assumed that the Christmas tree, which is one of the most visual parts of Christmas had to do with the story of the Nativity. Boy was I surprised to learn they actually had nothing in common and that the tree was not a religious part of the Christmas holiday. The two were from very different backgrounds. The Christmas tree tradition came from European Solstice traditions that have combined over the years to become a large part of the Christmas we celebrate today.
Try and picture Christmas with out the trees….it is really hard to do as our society has included Christmas trees since the 1830’s! Germany is actually credited with starting the Christmas Tree Tradition.
For how to make your own paper doll tree from my 2011 tutorial please click here.
German settlers brought the tradition of the Christmas Tree which celebrated the the winter solstice, to Pennsylvania as early as the 1740’s! But they were regarded by non German settlers in North America as a Pagan Tradition and were not really accepted by the majority of people.
By the 1890’s Christmas Ornaments began arriving from Germany as the popularity of the Christmas tree began to take off. In Europe most Christmas trees were very small, traditionally only 4 feet high, however in America having a floor to ceiling tree was a popular status symbol. The bigger the better. American’s began making their own ornaments and popcorn strings became very popular with families as a holiday tradition. Electricity made it possible to light the Christmas Tree and the American tradition of trees in the center of towns took off. Did you know that there has been a tree at Rockefeller Center since 1931? It was first placed there by people working on the center, at the time it did not even have lights! Each year the tree at Rockefeller Center now has more then 25,000 lights and has become one of the most iconic American Christmas Traditions!
Now you know a little bit more about the history of the Christmas Tree. I hope you enjoyed today’s post and I look forward to sharing more with you again soon.