Christmas Traditions: Christmas Tree (1600s-1800s)

My tree last year.

This is tenth in a series of 12 posts on historical Christmas traditions. I didn’t note my sources, but please trust I did verify the information.

As mentioned earlier, the Christmas tree has its origins in Germanic pagan tree worship. But the Christmas tree we think of today really dates back to German Lutherans in the 17th century and spread to Pennsylvania in the 1820s after they began to immigrate to the United States. When Germany’s Prince Albert came to England in 1840 to marry Queen Victoria, he brought the Christmas tree with him. The royal family decorated it with small gifts, toys, candles, candies and fancy cakes, giving rise to the modern ornament. Eight years later, a photograph of the royal tree appeared in a London newspaper, and displaying a Christmas tree became the height of holiday fashion in Europe and America.

When do you put up your tree? Colored lights or white?

I put mine up the day after thanksgiving. As a kid, I liked the colored lights, but now I prefer white lights (preferably the ones that look like candles) and rustic decorations that look like cranberries or fruit or things in nature.