Kevin McAllister was the star character in the Home Alone movies, and he was obsessed with Christmas trees. I feel the same way about the holidays. The tree is my favorite decoration. There’s something magical about a tree lit up for the season. Today I’m sharing a collection of Christmas trees, along with a bit of this holiday staple’s history.
Germany is credited with the inception of the Christmas tree back in the 16th century. The first tree was claimed to have been placed in the Cathedral of Strasborg in 1539.
Evergreen boughs have been used throughout history to decorate homes. Oftentimes it was in reference to the fruitfulness of farms and orchards. And Druids, the priests of ancient Celts, decorated temples with evergreens as a symbol of everlasting life.
Martin Luther is credited with placing the first candles on a Christmas tree. Legend has it that he was inspired by the twinkling of the stars through the evergreens.
In America, Christmas trees weren’t a welcome tradition at first. Pennsylvania German settlers had trees as early as the mid 1700s. The trees were thought to be pagan symbols by the purists in America.
William Bradford, the second pilgrim governor, penalized the use of Christmas trees. Some pastors went so far as to claim that carols and any other form of holiday frivolity desecrated the sacred birth of Jesus.
Not only that, but Massachusetts enacted a law making any observance of December 25th a penal offense. That was back in 1659 and continued until the 19th century.
Enter Queen Victoria in 1846 with her German Prince. Their family was sketched around a Christmas tree and since the Queen was so popular, the Christmas tree became a new tradition for the British and fashion-conscious east Americans.
Europeans preferred smaller trees, while Americans liked large, extravagant trees that stretched from floor to ceiling.
Europeans used natural elements to decorate trees, while Americans used homemade ornaments.
Once electricity became normal for most homes, tree lights were added to the decorations.
Here’s a few more Christmas trees to enjoy.
It’s odd to think that the Christmas tree didn’t become a standard holiday decoration in America until the mid-1800s, which was about the time my house was built.
Next year I think I’m going to take out my vintage ornaments and create a tree like this one. It’s been about 10 years since I’ve used them.
Another way to enjoy a holiday tree is to drive around at night to see them all light up throughout towns and neighborhoods.