The History or Christmas Trees

Elaine Horne

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    Why do hundreds of families put up Christmas Trees every year? The tradition started over 1,000 years ago in Northern Europe. The first Christmas Trees were not trees at all. Instead, previous generations built wooden pyramids as symbolism. A wooden pyramid represented a Paradise Tree which represented the Garden of Eden.

The official use of a Christmas Tree is shared between the cities of Tallinn in Estonia and Riga in Latvia; both claim they started the tradition. The Brotherhood of Blackhead put up both trees in Livonia before being split in Estonia and Latvia. Germany jumped on the Christmas Tree train in 1521 when they paraded it around town with a man on horseback representing St. Nicholas. Martin Luther changed the tradition into what is known today as bringing the Christmas Tree inside the house. The story goes that Luther walked through the woods, saw the stars shining through the limbs, and it reminded him of Jesus and how he let the stars shine down on Christmas.  

However, another version floats around Germany too. One late Christmas Eve, a little boy showed up at the door of these foster parents who took him in. They fed, bathed, and gave him a bed to sleep in. On Christmas, after waking up, the little boy turned into Jesus the Christ Child. To thank the family for their kindness, he went outside and broke a branch of a Fir Tree. After this, Christmas Trees made their arrival to Britain in the 1830s then traveled to America to finish off their journey as the tradition we know today.