Christmas trees have been a tradition for those who celebrate Christmas for quite some time. For those that have ever pondered their origins, we at Milam’s Tree Service would like to share a brief history on Christmas Trees.
Traditional German Christmas Trees
For starting the Christmas tree tradition, it would seem to be that the Germans get the credit. The faithful Christians would bring trees into their homes and adorn with handmade decorations of the time dating back to the 16th century. Faux trees would be created if in the event Christmas trees were difficult to come by, through stacking wood into a pyramid and decorate them with evergreens and candles.
Real Candles on Christmas Trees
The first to add lit candles to a tree was a 16th-century Protestant reformer, Martin Luther. By sharing his encounter of a beautiful site on his walk home, came about his reasoning for the candles. He spoke of walking home on a cold winter night as he was practicing on the walk, when he happened to gaze up through the tall evergreens and was mesmerized by the twinkling and shimmering stars shining their light through the limbs. He wanted to emulate the memory for his family; being so taken back by the sight. To achieve his goal, he would wire branches with lighted candles on their tree.
Earliest Account of Christmas Trees in America
Many Americans found the Christmas tree tradition to be a bit peculiar, when the German immigrates first came to the states, though they were quite curious by the oddity of dragging a filthy tree into the home and then decorating it. The Pennsylvania German settlements in the 1830’s were the first to put a tree on display in the community. Placing a community Christmas tree in 1747 is believed to be the earliest of a community tree. But because Christmas trees were perceived as pagan symbols in the late 1840s, it was not welcomed or even tolerated by most Americans. However, the tree would eventually be adopted in America like many other Christmas customs and traditions.
Bah Humbug Christmas Grinches
Christmas was sacred to the New England Puritans. Finding forms of punishment to hinder the silly and whimsical traditions being practiced, William Bradford, the second governor wrote that he tried hard to rid out “pagan mockery” of the observance of Christmas. Oliver Cromwell would be another tyrant that would try to quash many of the Christmas traditions from caroling, tree decorating, and other such joyful expressions.
Christmas Tree Decorations & Ornaments
Christmas ornaments were arriving from Germany by the 1890s, becoming common to have on Christmas trees and very popular as it spread throughout the U.S. Americans preferred their Christmas trees to reach from floor to ceiling, where Europeans traditionally used small trees, about four feet in height. The German-American folks preferred the more traditional decorations, such as; apples, nuts, and marzipan cookies, where by the early 20th century Americans decorated their trees primarily with homemade ornaments.