By Robertino Solàrion
Dallas, Texas
21 December 2000

These magnificent pictures of the American National Christmas Trees in Washington, D.C.,
were found at the following website:

Appended below are several articles about the origin of the Christmas Tree; for more information, please access their URLs and links. Even a casual reading of such material leads to the immediate conclusion that, originally, "Christmas Trees" were not Christian but Pagan. It wasn't until the 16th Century that the Catholic Church finally allowed this previous "pagan anathema" to be included in the celebration of the Birth of Jesus. Once again, the Church had to cave in to the cultural demands of its flock, just like in the Apollonius saga when they co-opted the Roman holiday commemorating the Birth of Mithras and made it the official Birth of Lord Jesus Christ. At any rate, the tradition of a "Yule Tree" or "Solstice Tree" long pre-dated the time of "Jesus" and the Catholic Church. There can be no doubt that their origin lies in a "pagan" remembrance of a time when there was a Cosmic Tree, a home of "Gods", connected by a "Rainbow Bridge" to our "Northland Vigrid Plain".

In one of the appended articles is mentioned the fact that the Estonians set fire to their early "Jol" trees. Why might they have initiated such a custom? Possibly to depict the destruction/detethering of The Cosmic Tree in a fiery cataclysm, as happened during 762-687 BCE. The usurping ornament of the "Star of Bethlehem" atop our traditional Christmas Tree would have originally represented the Planet Hyperborea atop the "tree trunk". It is not surprising that many of these early legends originated in Northern Europe, where people would have had the most magnificent views of this "tree". Coincidentally, Santa Claus lives at the North Pole! And serpent decorations were placed around these early trees!

Also, according to Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky's essay on The Night Sun and David Talbott's video computer animation, there were "satellites" orbiting this "planet". Perhaps the "72 Branches" of The Cosmic Tree (72 Archons?), i.e., the serpents in the hair of the Medusa, denote that these various planetoids and moons are, like Earth, also tethered electromagnetically to the Hyperborea brown-dwarf planet and move around their "parent object" in some sort of snake-like fashion. And it is furthermore interesting that most of the trees mentioned in THE CELESTIAL SHIP OF THE NORTH had fruit hanging from their branches -- apples, peaches, figs, mulberries, sycamore balls, oak acorns, date clusters and so forth. By chance, all of these fruit are round like Christmas Tree ornaments.

Why did I decide to investigate this subject? Well, the other night President Clinton turned on the lights of the National Christmas Tree in Washington. It looked almost exactly like my Sky-Diagram of the Hyperborea Polar View, and I immediately made the connection. It is therefore not too surprising to find corroboration for this idea. As I have stated time and again, if a basic premise is inherently true, then all of the peripheral facts will automatically fall into place like clockwork, a statement with which Dr. Velikovsky would certainly agree, as he based his own research upon such a principle.

When you look at these quite beautiful photographs of our National Christmas Trees over the decades, the "star" on the top is definitely prominent. However, if these trees were truly accurate depictions of The Cosmic Tree Hyperborea, the "star" would be larger in appearance. If you can recall that famous photograph taken by one of our astronauts from the lunar surface, the "Earthrise" photograph, with a large blue Planet Earth rising over the lunar horizon landscape, then that would be about like our own ground-level, naked-eye view of Planet X Nibiru. Hyperborea will seem perhaps 5-6 times bigger, relatively speaking, than the "stars" atop the National Christmas Trees in these photographs. As I recommended before, to get some idea of this comparative size from ground level, go outside and hold a 15-20" round platter or trashcan lid up towards Polaris. Nibiru would "occult" about that same general-sized area of the northern sky. See also The Hyperborea Sky-Diagrams.

The photos for 1965, 1967 and 1968 represent to me personally what I "envision" The Cosmic Tree to look like, given that the "star" on top is larger. Tree 1967 makes me think of the "Stairway To Heaven". Because of the wide base, these sorts of Christmas Paradise Trees would have originated in Scandinavia and/or Russia as Cosmic "Fir Trees" (and even today, as seen in these photographs, most American National Christmas Trees are fir trees from the western part of the United States), since The Cosmic Tree itself would have best been viewed from northernmost regions of the planet. To me, of all the 30 photographs, Tree 1968 depicts most definitively what a REAL "Cosmic Tree" would look like, say, from Washington, DC, if one were looking northwards past the Washington Monument.

However, Tree 1966 most accurately depicts the Irtysh Ostyak Legend of the "golden pole with the golden cage on top", up and down which a "tomcat" climbs, singing songs or telling tales. Here, though, in this symbolic American representation, the "cage" is a sort of blue color, not golden; but you can get the idea. Tree 1974, although golden, is too broad at the bottom, as is Tree 1973. The ground-level view from Northern Europe would be more "sloping" in appearance, as in Tree 1972.

Tree 1982 looks like a "golden pole with a golden cage on top" as well. And it also has the rope-like, serpentine effect to it. If it were more slender, like Tree 1966, it would meet all the physical requirements. Tree 1979 is certainly a "dark-looking" sort of tree, compared to the others. Actually, I would have predicted that the REAL cosmic "tree trunk" would have more resembled the smooth Washington Monument than an irregular "fir tree" rendition per se -- with a "golden cage" atop the Washington Monument. But who knows for sure? Maybe the actual Cosmic Tree itself looks different at different places on Earth, or maybe it changes its appearance everywhere as time goes by. These are impossible speculations to resolve, before we once again see it with our very own eyes.

  • Tree 1978 reminds one of the Nordic "Bifrost, The Rainbow Bridge To Asgard" (which would be the Hyperborea "star" on top).
  • Trees 1973 & 1977 : The Oak Tree
  • Trees 1975 & 1983 : The May Pole
  • Trees 1981 & 1986 : The Lofty Apple Tree Of The Summit
  • Tree 1976 : The Tree Of Fire
  • Tree 1980 : The Serpent Tree
  • Tree 1985 : The Tree Of Paradise
  • Tree 1989 : The Fig Tree
  • Tree 1990 : The Mulberry Tree
  • Tree 1991 : The Sycamore Tree
  • Tree 1992 : The Totem Pole
  • Tree 1993 : The Chinese Immortal Peach Tree

The Origin and Meaning of the Christmas Tree

By Pastor Richard P. Bucher

Trinity Lutheran Church of Clinton, Massachusetts

The Christmas tree is one of the most popular and cherished Christmas customs. Each year, 35-40 million live trees are purchased and decorated in the United States alone. But when, where, and how did this custom begin? What is the origin of the Christmas tree? What does it mean?

Many answers to these questions have been offered on the Internet. Some are completely erroneous. Some make no distinction between history and legend. Unfortunately, none of them give sources for their assertions about the Christmas tree (a problem with most web articles!). Given that dependable scholarly sources about the history of the Christmas tree are hard to come by, citation-less Christmas tree web pages are understandable.

In doing the research for this article, I found three works especially helpful. The first is Christmas in Ritual and Tradition, Christian and Pagan by Clement A. Miles.1 Though now a bit dated, Miles's work made use of the best scholarship of the time, much of which has not been improved upon2, and therefore is still a valuable resource. Of equal value is Francis X. Weiser's Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs.3 Weiser's work only devotes several chapters to the customs of Christmas, but these are well researched and articulated. I also found The Solstice Evergreen by Sheryl Ann Karas to be helpful. Karas has done an admirable job researching the various ways that the evergreen has been used in various cultures over the centuries and this is the book's strength.4

What was the origin of the Christmas tree? As much as I would like to embrace as fact the oft- quoted story that Martin Luther was the first to set up a Christmas tree (or at least a lighted one), I cannot -- for the story is pure legend.5 Many years of intensive Luther scholarship has turned up nothing to support it.6 There is scholarly consensus, however, that the Christmas tree originated in Germany. Indeed, the earliest record of an evergreen tree being used and decorated (but without lights) for Christmas is 1521 in the German region of Alsace.7 Another useful description has been found among the notes of an unknown resident of Strasbourg in 1605, who writes that "At Christmas they set up fir trees in the parlors at Strasbourg and hang thereon roses cut of many- coloured paper, apples, wafers, gold-foil, sweets . . ."8 Some fifty years later (about 1650) the great Lutheran theologian Johann Dannhauer wrote in his The Milk of the Catechism that "the Christmas or fir tree, which people set up in their houses, hang with dolls and sweets, and afterwards shake and deflower. . . Whence comes this custom I know not; it is child's play . . . Far better were it to point the children to the spiritual cedar-tree, Jesus Christ."9

Several conclusions can be gleaned from these quotations. First, we are told some of the items with which the first Christmas trees were decorated: paper roses, apples, Communion wafers, gold, foil, sweets, and dolls. Second, even in 1650 a noted scholar like Dannhauer did not know the origin of Christmas trees. Third, not all Christians approved of these trees, even in the beginning. Fourth, the first Christmas trees, as far as we know, did not have lights. According to Weiser, the first mention of lights (candles) on a Christmas tree is in the seventeenth century.10

From the mid-seventeenth century on the Christmas tree slowly grew in popularity and use. However, it was not until the beginning of the 19th century that the use of the Christmas tree grew into the general German custom that it is today. Also at this time it spread to the Slavic people of eastern Europe. The Christmas tree was probably first used in America about 1700 when the first wave of German immigration settled in western Pennsylvania. During the War of Independence, Hessian soldiers supposedly set up Christmas trees.11 It is widely held that the Christmas tree was first introduced into France in 1837 when Princess Helen of Mecklenburg brought it to Paris after her marriage to the Duke of Orléans. The Christmas tree made its royal debut in England when Prince Albert of Saxony, the husband of Queen Victoria, set up a tree in Windsor Castle in 1841.12 After this it grew in popularity, though in 1850 Charles Dickens was still referring to it as a "new German toy."13 But from where did Christians get the idea of the Christmas tree? Was it a new idea or was there a historical custom upon which they were building?

Karas has amply demonstrated that evergreens have been a symbol of rebirth from ancient times. Bringing greenery into one's home, often at the time of the winter solstice, symbolized life in the midst of death in many cultures.14 The Romans decked their homes with evergreens and other greenery during the Kalends of January.15 Living trees were also brought into homes during the old German feast of Yule, which originally was a two-month feast beginning in November. The Yule tree was planted in a tub and brought into the home.16 However, the evidence just does not exist which shows that Christians first used trees at Christmas as a symbol of rebirth, nor that the Christmas tree was a direct descendent of the Yule tree. On the contrary, the evidence that we have points in another direction. The Christmas tree appears to be a descendent of the Paradise tree and the Christmas light of the late Middle Ages.17

From the eleventh century, religious plays called "mystery plays" became quite popular throughout Europe. These plays were performed outdoors and in churches. One of the most prevalent of these plays was the "Paradise play." The play depicted the story of the creation of Adam and Eve, their sin, and their banishment from Paradise. The play would end with the promise of the coming Savior and His Incarnation (cf. Gen. 3:15). The Paradise play was simple by today's standards. The only prop on stage was the "Paradise tree," a fir tree adorned with apples. From this tree, at the appropriate time in the play, Eve would take the fruit, eat it, and give it to Adam.

Because of abuses that crept into the mystery plays (i.e., immoral behavior), the Church forbade these plays during the fifteenth century. The people had grown so accustomed to the Paradise tree, however, that they began putting their own Paradise tree up in their homes on Dec. 24. They did so on Dec. 24 because this was the feast day of Adam and Eve (at least in the Eastern Church). The Paradise tree, as it had in the Paradise plays, symbolized both a tree of sin and a tree of life. For this reason, the people would decorate these trees with apples (representing the fruit of sin) and homemade wafers (like communion wafers which represented the fruit of life). Later, candy and sweets were added.

Another custom was to be found in the homes of Christians on Dec. 24 since the late Middle Ages. A large candle called the "Christmas light," symbolizing Christ who is the light of the world, was lit on Christmas Eve. In western Germany, many smaller candles were set upon a wooden pyramid and lit. Besides the candles, other objects such as glass balls, tinsel, and the "star of Bethlehem" were placed on its top.18

Though we cannot be certain, it seems highly likely that the first Christmas trees that appeared in Germany in the early sixteenth century were descendants of both of these customs: the Paradise tree and the Christmas pyramids and lights. The Paradise tree became our Christmas tree. Decorations that had been placed on the pyramids were transferred to the Christmas tree.

For many Christians the Christmas tree still retains the symbolism of the Paradise tree. The tree reminds us of the tree in Eden by which Adam and Eve were overcome and which thrust them into sin. But more importantly, the tree reminds us of the tree by which our sin was overcome, namely the tree upon which Christ Jesus was crucified. Is it a stretch to refer to the cross as a tree? Hardly, for this is the language of the New Testament itself! For example, Paul writes in Galatians 3:13, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree" (quoting Deut. 21:23). And Peter writes, "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed." Therefore, the Christmas tree is a wonderful symbol and reminder of our salvation and forgiveness through Jesus Christ!

Some other interesting facts about the Christmas tree, some of which I haven't yet substantiated from the sources (so use at your own risk!) are:

  • The first retail Christmas stand was set up by Mark Carr in New York City in 1851;
  • Franklin Pierce was the first president to introduce the Christmas tree to the White House in 1856 for a group of Washington Sunday School children;
  • The first lighted Christmas tree in public was in Boston in 1912;19
  • The first national Christmas Tree was lighted in the year 1923 on the White House lawn by President Calvin Coolidge.


Updated: November, 2000

1 . Clement A. Miles, Christmas in Ritual and Tradition, Christian and Pagan (New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1912).
2 . Such as, A. Tille, Die Geschichte der deutschen Weihnacht (Leipzig, 1893); A. Tille, Yule and Christmas: their Place in the Germanic Year (London, 1899); H. F. Feilberg, Jul (Copenhagen, 1904); E. K. Chambers, The Medieval Stage (Oxford, 1903).
3 . Francis X. Weiser, Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1958).
4 . Sheryl Ann Karas, The Solstice Evergreen: The History, Folklore and Origins of the Christmas Tree Rev. Ed. (Fairfield: Aslan Publishing, 1998).
5 . The story has appeared in many forms. Here is how it appears in Karas, 111: "One clear cold Christmas Eve the famous Reformation leader Martin Luther was walking home through the woods. As it was a beautiful starry night, he paused for a moment to gaze at the sky in reverent meditation. He was in a grove of tall pines . . . From where he stood it looked as though thousands of stars had settled on their branches. He proceeded to cut a tiny tree and took it home where he decorated it with small candles in metal holders to recreate his experience for his children. That glittering tree became a tradition for his family in the many Christmases to come just as it has for many other families around the world."
6 . Another pure legend that is sometimes passed off as historical fact is the story of St. Boniface. As one web page puts it: "The first Christmas tree is said to have originated in 8th century Germany when a British missionary, St. Boniface, cut down a giant oak that crushed every tree in its path except a small fir sapling. Considering this a miracle, St. Boniface called it "the tree of the Christ child."
7 . J. Lefftz and A. Pfleger, eds., Elsässische Weihnacht, hereafter EW (Kolmar, 1941), cited in Weiser, 100.
8 . Quoted in Miles, 265. The manuscript can be found in EW, 53.
9 . Miles, 265, quoting from Tille, Deutschen Weihnachten, 259.
10 . Weiser, 101, citing EW 55. A later explicit mention of candles on a Christmas tree occurred in a Latin work on Christmas presents by Karl Gottfried Kissling of the University of Wittenberg, written in 1737. See Miles, 266.
11 . Karas, 106.
12 . Though Miles claims it was alluded to as early as 1789.
13 . As laid out in Weiser, 101. See also Miles, 267.
14 . Karas, 3-5.
15 . Miles, 268.
16 . Karas, 103-104.
17 . This is the thesis of Weiser, 98-100, which, in my opinion, is the most convincing.
18 . According to Weiser, pictures of these "Christmas pyramids" can be seen in O. Huth, Der Lichterbaum (Berlin, 1943), 72ff.
19 . Weiser, 102.

The Quest for the Historical Christmas Tree: Pagan Symbol or Lutheran Invention?

By Richard E. Boger, Jr.

The Peace of the Lord be with you!

This time of year Christmas trees can be found almost everywhere in the world. Today, the Christmas Tree is one of the most universal of Christmas symbols. But where did it come from? Is it some thinly veiled carryover of ancient pagan tradition, or is it an uniquely Christian symbol? Ask most people about the origin of the Christmas Tree and they will tell you they haven't a clue. However, those having an opinion are likely to tell you either that it is a throw back to some pagan custom, or else (especially if they happen to be Lutheran) that Martin Luther invented it. But what is the truth? What is the real origin of the Christmas Tree, and what did Martin Luther have to do with it, if anything?

The first stop on our quest is ancient Egypt. According to the National Christmas Tree Association the "Egyptians brought green palm branches into their homes on the shortest day of the year in December as a symbol of life's triumph over death." The Egyptians weren't alone however, in their use of evergreens to celebrate life. The Chinese, the Hebrews and other ancient peoples had similar pre-Christian customs. As can be expected people in Northern climates were particularly interested in the passing of the shortest day of the year and the return of the sun. Sure enough pre-Christian Scandinavians decorated houses and barns with evergreens. It is from these Scandinavians that we get the tradition of the Advent Wreath and the Yule Log. They called this month Jol. We will concede then that many pre-Christian peoples used evergreen trees and branches during what we call December as a symbol of life beyond the darkness of winter, but does this fact in and of itself make Christmas trees pagan? What if any is the connection of the modern Christmas tree with these pagan traditions.

The earliest recorded Christian use of an evergreen tree during this season, was in the Baltic. according to The Christmas Tree Book. There are two separate accounts, one from 1510 in Riga, the other 1514 in Reval. They tell of a strange Christmas Eve tradition in which "after a festive dinner, black-hatted members of the local merchants' guild carried an evergreen tree decorated with artificial roses to the market place, where, . . . they danced around the tree and then set fire to it." (page 11.) The meaning and significance of this act escapes me, and aside from it involving a decorated tree and Christmas Eve, it seems to bare little resemblance to the modern Christmas Tree. So we must journey on.

Our next stop is Germany; well, OK, France. Well, it's now part of France, but in 1531, it was German territory. There in Alsace in the Strasbourg market trees were being sold for the Christmas holiday. So popular had this custom become that by the end of the sixteenth century many communities in Alsace passed ordinances either severely limiting or prohibiting the use of evergreens for the holidays. In Ammerschweier, an ordinance stated that no one "shall have for Christmas more than one bush of more than eight shoe lengths." (The Christmas Tree Book, p. 12.) Why? What had happened to spark such an interest in evergreens in what was clearly a Christian era?

The answer is somewhat surprising. While this custom was uniquely Christian and observed on December 24, it had little to do with the celebration of Christ's nativity. On the old Christian Calendar, Dec. 24 was the feast day of Adam and Eve. During the Middle Ages bible stories were often taught to the masses using miracle plays. The actors needed a prop to symbolize the tree of temptation. An evergreen tree was the logical choice for a lush garden tree on this winter festival, and it was decorated with apples symbolizing the forbidden fruit. People gradually began to set up a "Paradise tree" in their homes on Christmas Eve often with little figurines of Adam and Eve and the serpent beneath it. Here we have found at last what seems to be the uniquely Christian origin of what became the Christmas tree. Gradually, flat wafers symbolizing the forgiveness of sins in communion were added to the paradise tree making it now not just the tree of knowledge but the tree of life. Paper Roses were later added symbolizing the Virgin Mary. In some areas the custom was to hang the tree upside down.

In addition to the paradise tree, many German Christians set up a Christmas Pyramid called a Lichstock, This was an open wooden frame with shelves for figurines of the Nativity covered with evergreen branches and decorated with candy, pastry, candles, and a star. The star of course was the star of Bethlehem, the candles represented the light of Christ coming into the world, the evergreens were the symbol of eternal life, and the candy, fruits, and pastries, the goodness of our life in Christ, the fruits of the spirit, etc. By the seventeenth century the Lichstock and the "Paradise Tree" became merged into the modern Christmas tree.

Christmas trees continued to grow in popularity during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries particularly among Lutherans. The Catholic Church had historically tried to ban the festive use of evergreens by Christians, no doubt because of the pagan associations with the pre-Christian use of evergreens. Naturally, Lutherans wanted to claim the custom of the Christmas Tree as their own, and emerging as it did in Germany during the time of the reformation such an association was not too much of a stretch. In 1845, C. A. Schwerdgeburth painted Luther and his family seated around a shining, candle-covered Christmas tree in 1536. Legend has it that Luther admiring the starry sky one Christmas Eve was inspired to put candles on an evergreen to teach his young son about Jesus being the light of the world. Everyone other then Lutherans believes this is just a legend. The symbolism of the Christmas Tree does capture many of Luther's favorite Christmas themes about light coming into the darkness, the glory of creation and redemption, etc. Also, Luther did uphold the use of symbols to teach the young. The legend about Luther certainly isn't out of character for the great reformer.

OK, perhaps we cannot trace the Christmas Tree to Luther. Nonetheless, we have seen that our Christmas Tree has a uniquely Christian history, whose origin is separate and distinct from the pagan uses of evergreens during this holy season.


  • Snyder, Phillip V., The Christmas Tree Book, Viking Press, NY, 1976.
  • "Christmas-Trees and Decorations" Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia, Compton's New Media Inc., 1994.
  • "Tradition and Folklore" National Christmas Tree Association Home Page, (Internet: World Wide Web)

First, a Carol.

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,

Thy leaves are so unchanging.

Not only green when summer's here,

But also when 'tis cold and drear.

Even though the tradition of using the Christmas tree is so well known now, its exact origin is uncertain. The decorating of a tree during the winter can be traced back to the ancient Druids, who centered their winter solstice celebrations around the sacred oak. These oaks were left standing where they were growing and decorated with candles and apples.

Read more about Druids and their sacred trees at Ethno Magazine Online.

Although this is vaguely similar to current tradition, it is likely that Martin Luther bridged the gap with his Christmas tree of 1530. It is said that one night, the stars were shining though the forest of firs near his home. It so moved him that he apparently cut a small one and brought it indoors. He placed lit candles in its boughs in a salute to the star of Bethlehem. This story of the first Christmas tree is quite popular, even though the first actual written record of a Christmas tree dates to 1604, which is well after Luther's death.

Then there is the relevance of St. Boniface. You can read all about him in Traute Klein's The Legend of St. Boniface.

In any case, it was from Germany that the tradition was quick to catch on. Soon all over Northern Europe, people were cutting small trees to bring indoors to centre their winter celebrations around.

In England, the first documented Christmas tree went up in 1841. Prince Albert (originally from Germany), husband of Queen Victoria, set up a Christmas tree at Windsor Castle in England. It soon became very popular, and for Victorians, a good Christmas tree had to be six branches tall and be placed on a table covered with a white damask tablecloth. Often a cloth was placed over the bricks or wooden contraption holding the tree up. It was decorated with garlands, candies and paper flowers.

Interestingly enough, the first documented Christmas tree in North America was erected way before that. In 1747, in the Moravian community of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, a wooden pyramid was covered with boughs of fir, and was decorated with candles and apples.

The first settlers of New England were Puritans, and forbade any Christmas trees to be erected, as it was considered to be sinful to subscribe to any practice not specifically mentioned in the Bible (such as eating potatoes). By 1659, it was necessary to level fines on the masses of non-Puritans who now infiltrated that part of the country. Anyone caught celebrating Christmas would be fined 15 cents. As a result, New England remained essentially Christmas-less until late in the 19th century.

In other parts of America (populated by the carousing Anglicans), Christmas celebrations ensued and occasionally included a Christmas Tree.

Most of the very early trees were tiny. These table-toppers were often decorated with gingerbread, pretzels, gilded nuts, strings of raisins and lumps of marzipan. The predominance of edibles was of particular interest to the children. They were also known as "Sugartrees."

Early holiday-makers were much less selective about their trees than they are today. Mainly deciduous trees were cut. The best tree was the one that was readily available and considered expendable. A three-foot tall tree would usually suffice, and it would be dragged home and covered with cotton wool to simulate snow. Quite a stretch from the cultivated and sheared trees of today. In areas that had conifers, conifers were popular. It was as simple as that. By the 19th century, with the miracle of advanced trade routes, the conifer was the tree of choice, wherever you were in the U.S.A.

But let us move onto Canada, where this tradition was also most firmly planted by a German. In 1781, General Von Reidesel planted the first Christmas tree on Quebec soil at Sorel. This custom spread rapidly in the Victorian period although it was limited to the middle classes. After 1920, the practice began to appear in large cities. In rural Canada, however, the decorated tree did not become a familiar sight until the 1930s.

Between 1850 and 1900 is when most of the changes to the Christmas tree ideal changed, along, it seems, with so much else in the world. As the trees became more popular, they also became bigger. This usually made it difficult to stand them up. Usually wood was nailed to the bottom, or the trunk was planted in a pot with rocks and dirt. The biggest change came with the Christmas tree stand, first patented in 1876, but not accessible to the masses at a reasonable price until as late as 1920.

In the 1870's the most popular Christmas tree was the fragrant cedar. It lost its foliage indoors quickly, and so was replaced briefly by the Hemlock, which was flimsy and would not hold much in the way of ornament or food items on its branches. Pines and spruces followed, but by 1900 all these were ousted by the balsam fir. This tree remains the favourite tree of the eastern seaboard provinces and states. The larger the tree, the more decorations were required. Before 1850, they were generally homemade, but during the mid-19th century, business in ornaments skyrocketed. The first commercial ornaments were glass icicles and balls, arriving from Germany in the 1850's. Soon almost anything could be made into miniature and hung from a tree; wax cherubs, brass musical instruments, cardboard cutouts of animals, paper flowers, cornucopias, and tiny silk pillows with uplifting mottoes embroidered upon them.

In 1878 silver tinsel was invented, using a centuries old French process formerly used for putting glitter on military uniforms. By the 1920's, tinsel was made exclusively from lead. It was cheaper and hung straighter (lead tinsel was banned in the 1960's; tinsel is now made of plastic). Trees were often disastrously lit with candles, often with colourful glass lanterns, but as soon as technology allowed, the first electric Christmas tree appeared. In 1882, Thomas Edison's lab assistants strung a tree with hand-blown light bulbs.

It was also about this time that the first artificial trees were introduced. In 1885 a thirty-three limb tree could be mail ordered from Sears, Roebuck, and Company for the price of 50 cents. Times have changed. Artificial trees are much more expensive now, but there's actually a lot more at stake than your bank account.

If a real tree was preferred, the balsam fir was still available and most popular. It retained its lead until the depression of the 1930's, when it was overtaken by the scots pine. Nowadays it is the tree most commonly cultivated in Christmas tree plantations in eastern North America.

The scots pine briefly lost the lead in the 1960's to the Douglas Fir, which is now the most popular tree only in the west, which makes up a very small portion of the total market. In California, the Monterey pine is most popular. In the deep south, the white pine is most prevalent, while New England, which now allows Christmas trees, largely uses Balsam Fir, white fir or white spruce.

Christmas Tree Links

Here also is another link to the origin of the Christmas Tree. If you wish to pursue this research further for whatever reason, you are advised to go to a Search Engine and search out the subject: THE ORIGINS OF THE CHRISTMAS TREE

You'll find more than you need, I assure you!