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The History of the Christmas Tree

Published: 30th November, 2016

Queen Victorias Christmas treeFor many, one of the most enjoyable parts of Christmas is gathering around a fir tree with family to spend a few hours decorating it with baubles, lights and treats. It is perhaps one of the most integral parts of the Christmas tradition. And as with all traditions there is a history behind it.

The exact origins of the Christmas tree are not fully known but it is recognised that the evergreen fir tree has traditionally been used to celebrate winter festivals (pagan and Christian) for thousands of years. Pagans used branches of it to decorate their homes during the winter solstice, as it made them think of the spring to come. Ancient Egyptians, the Romans and Scandinavians each had their own variation of evergreen tree for decorative purposes.

However, it is Germany who is credited with the tradition of the modern-day Christmas tree, when in the 16th Century Christians brought decorated evergreen trees into their homes. It is a widely held belief that Martin Luther, a 16th Century German Protestant Reformer, first added lights to a tree in the form of candles after being awed and inspired one winter evening by stars twinkling among the evergreens around his home.

Bauble endowed trees that we know today first became popular in British culture during the reign of Queen Victoria. Her German husband, Prince Albert, was instrumental in bringing German traditions to Britain. In 1848 Prince Albert had a Christmas tree erected at their home in Windsor Castle. “The Queen’s Christmas tree at Windsor Castle” was published in the Illustrated London News. At the time it was fashionable to copy what the Royal family did and typical German traditions, including Christmas trees, quickly surged in popularity, with America also adopting the traditions very soon after.

Most Christmas tree decorations at the time were handmade, consisting of dried fruits, nuts and popcorn. As the demand for Christmas trees increased, many companies began to design and develop special decorations for the new market. These mainly consisted of painted hand blown glass. The final component of the modern Christmas tree arrived in the late 1800s with the introduction of electricity and the invention of the light bulb. Electric lights added more convenience to the tree and people no longer had to worry about wax dripping from the candles onto the floor or dried trees catching fire. The Christmas tree as we know it had finally arrived!

This Christmas whether you have a real or an artificial tree, take a moment to reflect on the amazing history of one of the most prominent Christmas symbols.

Here at Henry Street we’re very busy thinking of all things Christmas and preparing our quality Christmas trees for our customers. Our carefully chosen trees are all top quality, selected for health, shape and fullness. We have a large number of varieties all available now. So why not visit us today to pick your own gorgeous Christmas tree!

If you are not sure which type of tree is best for you and your home read our guide to Choosing the Perfect Christmas Tree.

We are sure you’ll find something you love, but if you have any problems, we have a replacement guarantee …

Having taken all that care to choose a beautiful tree, you’ll want to make sure that it stays looking fresh and gorgeous for the duration of the Christmas period. We can help you with our Guide to Christmas tree care.

See you soon.

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