The Origins Of The Christmas Tree

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@LadyDuck (109152)
Switzerland
December 9, 2015 9:30am CST
The Christmas tree tradition started in Germany possibly in the 15th century. As many ancient populations, the Germans believed that evergreen trees had magic powers. They decorated the entrance doors and the windows with pine branches, to keep the evils spirits away. From these simple decorations, they evolved to something more sophisticated. They cut spruces and pines and decorated them with real candles, that were lit during the night. That was the beginning of the decorated Christmas tree. Other countries soon followed, more decorations were added, until the modern trees that now decorate hour houses. This is how everything started, we still enjoy the magic of a lit Christmas tree.
48 people like this
48 responses
@Asylum (45972)
• Manchester, England
9 Dec 15
It was not until the Victorian era that Britain was introduced to this custom. Prince Albert was the one who promoted the concept here and now people seem to accept it as a long tradition.
8 people like this
@LadyDuck (109152)
• Switzerland
9 Dec 15
In Italy it was introduced many years later, by the Queen Margherita of Savoy (the same of the pizza) in the second half of 1800.
2 people like this
@Asylum (45972)
• Manchester, England
9 Dec 15
@LadyDuck That would be about the same time as England introduced it.
3 people like this
@Namelesss (983)
• United States
9 Dec 15
I am aware of this. I remember as a kid coloring books showed Christmas trees with candles on the branches. We don't see them depicted that way often any more. I've also read about tree sprites, interesting stuff.
5 people like this
@LadyDuck (109152)
• Switzerland
9 Dec 15
Tree sprites are of Celtic mythology, very interesting. Here they still put real candles on the branches, that is pretty dangerous and create accidents every year.
2 people like this
• United States
9 Dec 15
@LadyDuck Wow, I haven't seen real candles on a real tree since I was a little thing and then only a few times. But we made lots of popcorn and cranberry decorations.
3 people like this
@LadyDuck (109152)
• Switzerland
9 Dec 15
@Namelesss I have seen beautifully decorated trees in the United States, I missed the popcorn, but I saw plenty of real candy canes.
@PainsOnSlate (18576)
• Canada
9 Dec 15
I was always fascinated by the candles on the trees. Can't figure out who they did that without burning down the house.
5 people like this
@LadyDuck (109152)
• Switzerland
10 Dec 15
They still lit real candles on the branches here in Switzerland, when the tree is "fresh" it does not burn, but people must be careful and never let the candles lit during the night when they go do sleep.
3 people like this
@celticeagle (111682)
• Boise, Idaho
10 Dec 15
I think that the candle holders were made with a shield against the tree so it would be harder to catch fire.
2 people like this
@LadyDuck (109152)
• Switzerland
10 Dec 15
@celticeagle You are right, we still use candle holders with a shield, but an adult should always survey that nothing is going wrong.
2 people like this
@Tampa_girl7 (21028)
• United States
9 Dec 15
Christmas celebrations in Germany were always wonderful. I miss them.
4 people like this
@LadyDuck (109152)
• Switzerland
9 Dec 15
You are right, the Christmas villages and the decorations are beautiful in the northern countries.
1 person likes this
@celticeagle (111682)
• Boise, Idaho
9 Dec 15
Have you read any about the tree sprites and such? Interesting.
3 people like this
@LadyDuck (109152)
• Switzerland
9 Dec 15
Yes, I have read about tree sprites in the Celtic mythology, it is very interesting.
3 people like this
@celticeagle (111682)
• Boise, Idaho
9 Dec 15
@LadyDuck ...Yep, I am up on the Celtic stuff.
3 people like this
• Greece
10 Dec 15
@celticeagle The Celts don't get much exposure, unlike the Greeks and the Romans, how about telling us something about the Celtic December celebrations?
1 person likes this
@BelleStarr (29501)
• Portland, Connecticut
9 Dec 15
How interesting , I knew that the origins were German but not the rest.
3 people like this
@LadyDuck (109152)
• Switzerland
9 Dec 15
Many Christmas traditions are from Austria and Germany, they still have the most beautiful Christmas markets.
2 people like this
@BelleStarr (29501)
• Portland, Connecticut
9 Dec 15
@LadyDuck Salzburg has some great Christmas shops all year too.
2 people like this
@LadyDuck (109152)
• Switzerland
10 Dec 15
@BelleStarr Yes, it's a beautiful city, the nicest Christmas markets here in Switzerland are north in the German speaking part of Switzerland.
1 person likes this
@sofssu (14749)
10 Dec 15
Evil spirits and Christmas spirit don't gel together.. its really strange how these traditions come to stay.. I love decorating the Christmas tree though.
3 people like this
@LadyDuck (109152)
• Switzerland
10 Dec 15
It's surely because people liked the decorated trees and from something to chase the evil, they became the symbol of Christmas.
2 people like this
@sofssu (14749)
11 Dec 15
@LadyDuck I also think that since winter is cold and bleak the tree offers an element of brightness and joy.
2 people like this
@marlina (57198)
• Canada
9 Dec 15
I think that candles would have been extremely dangerous.
3 people like this
@LadyDuck (109152)
• Switzerland
10 Dec 15
They are, we have several accidents here in Switzerland because of this tradition. It's not safer to burn candles put in the middle of pine tree garlands, this is much more common around the world.
1 person likes this
@antonbunot (8655)
• Calgary, Alberta
9 Dec 15
Thanks for the info about the origin of our artificial Christmas tree @LadyDuck!
3 people like this
@LadyDuck (109152)
• Switzerland
9 Dec 15
Well, at least we do not kill too many pines and spruces.
2 people like this
@OneOfMany (9169)
• United States
9 Dec 15
And the pine tree's fresh scent was a good bonus to otherwise stinky homes when bathing in the winter wasn't so popular. :P
2 people like this
@LadyDuck (109152)
• Switzerland
9 Dec 15
That is right, in those time people believed that bathing was dangerous.
2 people like this
@OneOfMany (9169)
• United States
9 Dec 15
@LadyDuck It probably was dangerous because of infections from poor sanitation methods. Bathing in toilet water doesn't go well.
2 people like this
@LadyDuck (109152)
• Switzerland
9 Dec 15
@OneOfMany Oh my, what a horrible thought that to imagine people bathing in toilet water.
2 people like this
• New Delhi, India
9 Dec 15
The best of all gifts around any christmas tree is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.
@LadyDuck (109152)
• Switzerland
9 Dec 15
Yes, but this is something that all those who live alone cannot have.
2 people like this
• New Delhi, India
10 Dec 15
2 people like this
@Gabugs (1801)
• United States
9 Dec 15
Wow! Thank You @ladyduck for this explanation about the origin of the Christmas tree. I had no idea. Must discuss this with my grandkids.
2 people like this
@LadyDuck (109152)
• Switzerland
9 Dec 15
There are many traditions that come from the past but we do not really know where and when originated.
2 people like this
@amadeo (42221)
• United States
9 Dec 15
Lovely post there and some nice comments below.
2 people like this
@LadyDuck (109152)
• Switzerland
9 Dec 15
Thank you Alfredo, I like to check the origins of the traditions.
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Dec 15
Darn and I thought my father invented the Christmas Tree...
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (109152)
• Switzerland
9 Dec 15
I am sorry, I know that now you are very deceived.
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Dec 15
@LadyDuck Yes, I"m crying pine needle tears...
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (109152)
• Switzerland
9 Dec 15
@AbbyGreenhill No, don't please, they hurt.
1 person likes this
• Lakewood, Colorado
12 Dec 15
My favorite thing,,the Christmas tree Anna. I would b afraid to put candle on it however lolz
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (109152)
• Switzerland
12 Dec 15
I would never put lit candles inside the house, I am very careful even with the center table candles, I keep them lit only while we are eating.
1 person likes this
• Lakewood, Colorado
13 Dec 15
@LadyDuck I bet your tree is beautiful.
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (109152)
• Switzerland
13 Dec 15
@TiarasOceanView It's only a small tree, we are only two of us now, it is enough for us.
1 person likes this
@boiboing (12533)
• Northampton, England
9 Dec 15
Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's husband, brought the tradition to the UK.
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (109152)
• Switzerland
9 Dec 15
I did not know, thanks to share. I want to check who brought the tradition to Italy.
@LadyDuck (109152)
• Switzerland
9 Dec 15
@boiboing I have found it, the Queen Margherita of Savoy in the second half of 1800, she was the first to decorate a tree at the Quirinale.
1 person likes this
@shshiju (8847)
• Cochin, India
16 Dec 15
Now there is ready made Xmas trees, how can it express it magic powers ? Lol
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (109152)
• Switzerland
16 Dec 15
They are anyway a sign of Christmas and they look nice.
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@shshiju (8847)
• Cochin, India
16 Dec 15
@LadyDuck True, Happiness is important in Xmas
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@ison_1 (1255)
11 Dec 15
Hi Anna :) So it has nothing to do with draping the entrails of enemies on trees?
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@LadyDuck (109152)
• Switzerland
11 Dec 15
No, I think not, but I an check if you like.
1 person likes this
@ison_1 (1255)
11 Dec 15
@LadyDuck I think I probably dreamed that, or made it up :)
1 person likes this
@SIMPLYD (73084)
• Philippines
10 Dec 15
So that's the original reason why we actually put up Christmas tree . I thought , they were put up simply as a decoration for Christmas .
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (109152)
• Switzerland
10 Dec 15
Everything comes from ancient traditions, even some food we eat during the festivities.
2 people like this
@SIMPLYD (73084)
• Philippines
11 Dec 15
@LadyDuck Yes, they are just handed down from generation to generation .
1 person likes this
@DeborahDiane (14253)
• Laguna Woods, California
11 Dec 15
I love having my Christmas tree. They do seem magical. Thanks for explaining how the tradition was started.
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (109152)
• Switzerland
11 Dec 15
I live to have a tree and a small nativity village, they bring back memories.