Christmas Tree Traditions
By Marilyn Pokorney
Modern day Christmas trees originated in the 19th century
Britain by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. During the
Victorian era trees were the focus of celebration and were
decorated with toys, cakes, bonbons and other sweet treats.
Young women in the households made decorations from paper,
silk, feathers, and lace to hold the treats.
After 1865 glass trinkets, wire ornaments were began in
By the 1880's Woolworth's sold commercially produced Xmas
In the early years real silver tinsel was used for Christmas
decorating and the modern version was began in the 1950's.
Spiders are sometime given credit for building webs in trees
which sparkled in the morning dew and sunlight which
inspired the invention of tinsel.
In America fake trees gained popularity early in the
twentieth century but not in Britain until the 1950's. While
plastic and aluminum were the trees of choice in America,
the UK had a penchant for feather trees in the 1920's which
quickly disappeared by the 1930's.
Originally in Victorian times candles were used for lights
on trees. The invention of electricity brought fairy lights
to America in the mid 1880's. By the 1920's candles were
President Franklin Pierce brought the first Christmas tree
in the White House during the mid-1850's. President Calvin
Coolidge started the National Christmas Tree Lighting
Ceremony on the White House lawn in 1923.
The fairy at the top of the Christmas tree was originally a
little figure of the baby Jesus.
Christmas tree farms originated during the depression.
Nurserymen found that they could make a profit by cutting
evergreens for Christmas trees when they couldn't sell them
But all Christmas trees were not started as a symbol of
The Egyptians, Romans, Druids, and other cultures regarded
the tree as a symbol of life. They brought green branches
into their homes on the Winter Solstice as a symbol of
life's triumph over death.
Druid priests decorated oak trees with golden apples for
their winter solstice agricultural festivities.
In the middle ages, evergreen trees were decorated with red
apples on December 24 as the symbol of the Feast of Adam and
Even today, Christmas trees are unique to individual
In Brazil where Christmas occurs during the summer, pine
trees are decorated with little pieces of cotton to
represent falling snow.
In Greenland Christmas trees have to be imported because no
trees live this far north.
In South Africa, Christmas is a summer holiday. Instead of
trees, windows are often draped with sparkling cotton, wool,
And in the Ukraine a Christmas tree is not complete unless
it has a spider and web for good luck.
Copyright: 2005 Marilyn Pokorney
About The Author
Freelance writer of science, nature, animals and the environment.
Also loves crafts, gardening, and reading.