Christmas Tree
Credit: http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=download&id=916351

Many of us who celebrate Christmas have decorated our Christmas trees by now. Have you ever wondered why we have Christmas trees? 

Where they started

The German’s are credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition. This tradition started in Germany around the 16th century. Christians would bring decorated trees into their homes. Some say that Christmas trees represent the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  If wood was scarce, some would build pyramids of wood and add decorations of evergreens and candles to the wood pyramid tree. 

Size

The Christmas tree tradition did not become popular in the United States until the 1800s. German settlements along the east coast were the first to have Christmas trees in the United States. Christmas tree evolved once they came to the United States. The Europeans often had small Christmas trees that could fit on top of a table. European Christmas trees were often less than four feet tall. Americans started to have Christmas trees that reached from floor to ceiling. 

Decorations

In the 1800s people in Europe often decorated their Christmas trees with edible ornaments such as fruit, cookies or strings of popcorn. American decorated their trees with homemade ornaments, and some edible ornaments. Some would decorate their trees with tinsel made of silver or later plastic. Both also used candles for light on the tree. Not until the late 1800s were glass ornaments introduced in the United States. Many glass ornaments were imported from Germany. Glass ornaments were used in Germany many years before in the United States.

Lights

Countries in Europe and the United States used candles to light Christmas trees until 1895 with the invention of electric Christmas lights. These lights were similar to the ones we use today were invented by American Ralph Morris. These electric Christmas lights were invented because of all the fires candles were causing! Lights on Christmas trees are often said to represent stars. 

Today

The Christmas tree of today has evolved a lot since the first Christmas tree. Today we have all kinds of Christmas trees everything from colored to real to artificial. We also have traditional ornaments such as glass ornaments made in Germany. Many of us still make homemade ornaments, or hang strings of popcorn. The best part of Christmas trees though is they represent the wonderful holiday that celebrates christ, and they bring the family together.