Monday, December 12, 2011


Sometimes things that are tradition just go on without any thought involved. Traditions are so ingrained into our culture, so that's only natural. However, when your traditions are taken away from you and new ones are put in front of you, you begin to realize just how important these traditions really are.

This past Thursday my mom and I put up our Christmas tree in our living room. A faker than fake, pre-lit, plastic tree, full of tradition. I dragged it up from the basement, full of determination, eager to get this symbol of Christmas up to see.

We may walk by our Christmas trees without paying much mind to why we have them. Please learn along with me, the origins of the Christmas tree.

Legend has it that Martin Luther began the tradition of decorating trees to celebrate Christmas. One crisp Christmas Eve, about the year 1500, he was walking through snow-covered woods and was struck by the beauty of a group of small evergreens. Their branches, dusted with snow, shimmered in the moonlight. When he got home, he set up a little fir tree indoors so he could share this story with his children. He decorated it with candles, which he lighted in honor of Christ's birth.
The Christmas tree tradition most likely came to the United States with Hessian troops during the American Revolution, or with German immigrants to Pennsylvania and Ohio, adds Robson.
But the custom spread slowly. The Puritans banned Christmas in New England. Even as late as 1851, a Cleveland minister nearly lost his job because he allowed a tree in his church. Schools in Boston stayed open on Christmas Day through 1870, and sometimes expelled students who stayed home.
The Christmas tree market was born in 1851 when Catskill farmer Mark Carr hauled two ox sleds of evergreens into New York City and sold them all. By 1900, one in five American families had a Christmas tree, and 20 years later, the custom was nearly universal.
Christmas tree farms sprang up during the depression. Nurserymen couldn't sell their evergreens for landscaping, so they cut them for Christmas trees. Cultivated trees were preferred because they have a more symmetrical shape then wild ones.

The Kennedy's in front of the White House tree
The Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center

The iconic tree of Charlie Brown

If you're interested take a moment to browse by clicking here to watch some videos about Christmas trees.