Christmas trees have been a long time tradition, that has been around for generations. But have you ever wondered how this custom got started?
Milam’s Tree Services would like to take the time to offer you some history on the Christmas Tree.
In Which European Country Did the Christmas Tree Tradition Originate
It would seem to be that the Germans get credit for starting the Christmas tree tradition. Dating back to the 16th century, the faithful Christians would bring trees into their homes and adorn with handmade decorations of the time. If Christmas trees were difficult to come by, they would create faux trees by stacking wood into a pyramid and decorate them with evergreens and candles. The 16th-century Protestant reformer, Martin Luther was believed to be the first to adorn lit candles to a tree. He related his reasoning by sharing his encountering a beautiful site on his walk home. On a cold winter evening, he was practicing his sermon and happened to look up through the tall evergreens to be mesmerized by the twinkling and shimmering stars shining their light through the tree limbs. Being so taken back by the sight, he wanted to emulate the memory for his family. By doing so he wired branches with lit candles on their tree. When the German immigrants first came to the states, many Americans found the Christmas Tree tradition to be a bit peculiar, though they were quite curious by the oddity of dragging a filthy tree into the home and then decorating it.
Early American Christmas Tree Traditions
In the 1830’s, the Pennsylvania German settlements were the first to put a tree on display in the community. But is believed they began a lot sooner than that, by placing a community Christmas Tree in 1747. However, in the late 1840’s Christmas trees were perceived as pagan symbols and not welcomed or even tolerated by most Americans. Like many other Christmas customs and traditions, the tree would eventually be adopted in America. To the New England Puritans, Christmas was sacred. William Bradford, the 2nd governor wrote that he tried hard to rid out “pagan mockery” of the Christmas observance and would find forms of punishment to hinder the silly and whimsical traditions being practiced. Oliver Cromwell, being a man most respected, would preach against the heathen traditions of decorated trees, Christmas carols and any other joyful expression that took away from the sacred event that Christmas was being observed for. In 1659, the General Court of Massachusetts enacted a law making any observance of December 25 (other than a church service) a penalty offense. Individual rebelling on the new laws would generally be fined for hanging decorations. That strict policy and laws continued until the 19th century, when the flood of German and Irish immigrants undermined the Puritan legacy and took control. By the 1890s, many Christmas ornaments arrived from Germany and it became commonplace to have Christmas trees. It soon become popular and quickly spread throughout the U.S. Europeans traditionally used small trees, about four feet in height, while Americans preferred their Christmas trees to reach from floor to the ceiling. By the early 20th century Americans decorated their trees primarily with homemade ornaments, while the German-American folks preferred the more traditional decorations, such as nuts, apples and marzipan cookies. Popcorn also became a popular decoration, dyed bright colors and laced with nuts and berries. Electricity and Christmas lights made it possible for Christmas trees to glow brightly.
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Facts
Having a Christmas tree in every home became a time honored American tradition. Christmas trees began to make their appearances in town squares across the United States including the Rockefeller Center in New York City. Dating back to the days of The Great Depression, the tallest tree ever displayed at Rockefeller Center was in 1948. It was a Norway Spruce from Killingworth, Connecticut that measured 100 feet tall. In 1931 the first tree at Rockefeller Center was proudly placed on display. It was a smaller, undecorated tree put there by construction workers at the center of the construction site. Two years later, another tree would be placed there but, this time with lights to adorn it. As the years passed, it would grow more and more intricate. Now a days, the giant Rockefeller Center tree is adorned with over 25,000 Christmas lights.
Professional Christmas Fraser Fir Tree Sales & Quality Tree Services in McDonough, Jackson, Jonesboro, Fayetteville & Hampton as well as Fayette, Clayton & Henry Counties Georgia
We hope this was a fun look into the history of Christmas trees and when you decorate your tree this year, you take a moment to remember where it came from. For all your tree services, call Milam’s Tree Service today to have a trained professional do your fall and winter tree pruning and removing as well as your Fraser Fir tree & firewood sales!.