History of the Christmas Tree

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History of the Christmas Tree - From where did it originate?
The history of the Christmas tree comes as a shock to many. This famous symbolism of Christmas is displayed in homes in the United States, Europe, and in many countries around the world.

There is no evidence that the modern custom of a Christmas tree originated in paganism. The Romans did decorate their houses with greens and lights and exchanged gifts. Late in the Middle Ages, the Germans and Scandinavians placed evergreen trees in their homes or outside their doors to show their hope in the forthcoming spring. The modern-day Christmas tree evolved from these early German traditions.

History of the Christmas Tree - How did the tree come to the U.S.A.?
The history of the Christmas tree in the United States dates back to the time of George Washington and his defeat of the German Hessians in the year 1776. The Hessians were exuberant because they felt they held a winning hand in the war against George Washington and his troops. The war was during the Christmas season, which for the Germans was a time for food, songs, and decorated trees. In their busy efforts to celebrate the season, they paid little attention to their military duties. Therefore, the German Hessians became easy prey for Mr. Washington. His troops were able to sneak in and defeat the foe who was ill-prepared for the onslaught.

After the war in 1776, many Germans stayed in the United States, introduced the Christmas tree, and shared their traditions. The size of the tree was limited to 8 feet, and decorations consisted of dolls, as well as sugar items.

As the years went by, the United States realized the need for a Christmas tree market. The first supplier, by the name of Mark Carr from the Catskill Mountains in New York, took it upon himself to cut down fir and spruce trees that grew in abundance. He then transported them to New York City where he rented space for $1.00, and sold small trees for .05 to .10 cents and 8 to 10 feet trees for .25 cents. He continued the business until the year 1898.

History of the Christmas Tree – What is the early symbolism of the tree?
In those early years, many Americans considered the tree an oddity that should not be displayed at Christmas because it had been pronounced as a pagan symbol. The New England “Puritans” acknowledged Christmas to be sacred, so their governor William Bradford worked to put an end to the “heathen tradition” of decorated trees. He tried to penalize any such display.

By the early 20th century Americans proudly displaying their Christmas trees! They decorated with homemade ornaments and brightly-colored popcorn which added beauty and color to the branches. The tree has now become a popular American tradition.

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