History of the Christmas Tree-Merry Christmas, Y'all!

Every year, millions of people around the world go out and buy Christmas trees (or unpack their fake one like me) to decorate for the holidays, yet most people never think about how the tradition got started. Being a big advocate for fighting the great fight against ignorance, I figured I'd share a little insight as to how it all began. I had heard a lot of stories over the years about how and why but I recently found a great article from the History Channel that goes into serious depth, discussing how several countries all around the world each have their own traditions as it relates to the ol' fir.

Long before the Wise Men and Mary and the birth of baby Jesus, the decorating of homes with evergreens was believed by ancient peoples to keep witches, ghosts, and illness from one's home. It's not so surprising that this tradition occurs around the time of the Winter Solstice (Dec 21/22-the longest night and shortest day of the year). Many ancient cultures believed in a sun god that they believed was sick, resulting in cold weather and lifeless plants. They would use evergreens to remind themselves that Spring and Summer and blooming life was just around the corner. The Celts (Irish folk) believed that evergreens were a symbol of eternal life. 

It is believed however, that Germans were the first to start the tradition as we know it today. Martin Luther was said to have once been giving a sermon and saw the stars twinkling above the evergreens so he brought a tree into his home and lit it with candles to recall the sight. Over the years, Germans began decorating their trees with apples, representing the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden. They would also sometimes decorate a wooden frame with glass balls and tinsel (eventually cookies, popcorn, and other things) with a light on top, representing the birth of Jesus, the light of the world. 

Because of the pagan history of the tradition, early Puritan Americans made it illegal to decorate homes with evergreens and such. In 1846, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert posed in front of their own tree for the British press. Being loved and admired by folks on both sides of the Atlantic, the Christmas tree became widely accepted and it would seem, that the tradition stuck. 

For the full article and facts about how people across the world see the Christmas tree as part of their own traditions, click here: http://www.history.com/topics/christmas/history-of-christmas-trees

So. Now that you're educated on that fun fact, put away your computers/phones/iPads, and go spend some time with your friends and family. From my family to you and yours, Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night.

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