The first person to bring a Christmas Tree into a house, in the way we know it today, may have been the 16th century German preacher Martin Luther. A story is told that, one night before Christmas, he was walking through the forest and looked up to see the stars shining through the tree branches. It was so beautiful that he went home and told his children that it reminded him of Jesus, who left the stars of heaven to come to earth at Christmas.
Artificial Christmas Trees really started becoming popular in the early
20th century. The first artificial tree was created in Germany and was
made out of dyed goose feathers. In the Edwardian period, Christmas
Trees made from coloured ostrich feathers were popular at “fashionable”
parties. Around 1900 there was even a short fashion for white trees – so if
you thought coloured trees are a new invention, they’re not! Over the
years artificial trees have been made from feathers, papier mâché, metal,
glass and many different types of plastic.
Did you know that only rich people used to have a whole tree in their homes? For the poor, they would bring in branches of evergreen and decorate those on the mantlepiece of their fireplaces. Decorated trees were left outside and were generally a community endeavor to decorate.
England’s first Christmas tree was brought to Windsor by Charlotte, wife of George III, in 1800…but it was the trees brought in the 1840s by Prince Albert, consort of Queen Victoria, that led to their popularity throughout the UK. The Victorian tree was decorated with toys and small gifts, candles, candies, popcorn strings, and fancy cakes hung from the branches by ribbon and paper chains.
The early Christmas tree was traditionally decorated with roses made of coloured paper, apples, wafers, tinsel and sweetmeats, with the apples and round ornaments representing the fruit of knowledge of good and evil from the Book of Genesis in the Christian Bible. The rose was used for many years and is considered to be a symbol for the Virgin Mary
The first decorated Christmas tree was in Riga, Latvia in 1510