first christmas tree

@rick_d (213)
United States
December 7, 2008 2:20pm CST
I read a story along time ago that told of an imigrant to the U.S. that settled in wooster, Ohio. On his first christmas away from his home land, he was missing his home and family so to remind himself of these, he cut a pine tree and took it back to his home(pine was tree that grew in his homeland) he then decorated it with items that reminded him of people in his family and home.Slowly people started asking him about the tree and with his explanation, neighbors started doing the same until it grew to be a tradition for many of us today. has anybody else heard this story? Is there any truth to it?
1 response
@owlwings (38881)
• Cambridge, England
7 Dec 08
There may be truth in the story but it isn't the origin of the 'first' Christmas tree (though it may have been the first one in Wooster, OH). My guess is that the immigrant was German. The tradition of bringing evergreens indoors at the Winter Solstice to represent the persistence of life through the dark days of winter has its roots in pre-Christian tradition and the Christianisation of many pre-Christian rituals by the early church meant that many of the traditions associated with them also survived. The Christmas tree seems to have been popularised in Britain in the mid 19th Century when it may have been introduced by Queen Victoria's beloved husband Albert but the tradition of decorating with winter greenery (holly and ivy and mistletoe) is as old in England as it is in Germany. Some Americans may have brought that tradition with them when they emigrated from Britain but it's almost certain that the tradition of the decorated tree arrived in the US with Northern European settlers (probably of German origin, though I believe the custom existed in Scandinavian countries as well).
@rick_d (213)
• United States
7 Dec 08
Thank you for responding. I live in Ohio so I always remembered some of the story but not all,that maybe the reason I was thinking "first" tree.I did not know any of what you have written so Again thank you.
@owlwings (38881)
• Cambridge, England
7 Dec 08
Just searching for 'christmas tree' on the Internet brings up a startling variety of stories, most of them inaccurate and highly embellished! In one, St Boniface, 'enraged by the local Druid's worship of mistletoe' is said to have cut down the oak tree on which it grew. In it's place he found a fir tree and so (the story goes) the fir tree became the symbol of the triumph of Christianity over the older religion. A pretty story, no doubt, but a pack of lies from start to finish and one which is a classic illustration of the means by which the Christian church has sought to force its supremacy on the world. Christmas itself may, indeed, be a celebration of the birth of Jesus but Jesus was NOT born on the 25th December! Christianity has 'sanctified' a much older pagan festival.
@owlwings (38881)
• Cambridge, England
7 Dec 08
None of this, of course, destroys the magic and specialness of Christmas for me (I hope it doesn't for you). It is still appropriate to remember and celebrate the birth of the Son (or Sun ... a coincidence but a felicitous one) a few days after the shortest day of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere).