History of the Christmas Tree

(continuing from the previous blog, in honor of the season)

How did the Christmas tree develop? Here is a brief rundown of its history:

We can thank Germany for giving us the Christmas tree.
According to one legend St. Boniface encountered pagans preparing a sacrifice at an oak tree dedicated to the god Donar/Thor. He took an ax to the tree, and, when not struck down by their god, he proclaimed to the awed pagans that a nearby evergreen was their holy tree. Another version of this story claims that a fir tree grew on the site of the fallen oak.

Whether this tale holds truth, evergreen trees became part of Christian rites in Germany, and the Middle Ages, paradise trees became a thing. Paradise trees, were meant to represent the Garden of Eden. These evergreen trees were hung with apples and displayed in homes on December 24, the religious feast day of Adam and Eve. Over time other decorations were included, and eventually apples were no longer a fashion, nor the term paradise tree. During the 16th century is when paradise trees became known as Christmas trees. There was a time prior to becoming the Christmas tree that the tree was called the Christmas Pyramid. Decorations remained fabricated from natural materials, but as time forged forward, they became more ornate.

In the 16th century, Martin Luther; reportedly first hung lighted candles on a tree. By the 19th century, Christmas trees were a firmly established tradition in Germany. As Germans migrated, they took Christmas trees to other countries, notably England. The German-born prince Albert, and his wife, Britain’s Queen Victoria, popularized the tradition among the British. The couple made Christmas trees a prominent part of the holiday’s festivities, and in 1848 an illustration of the royal family around a decorated tree appeared in a London newspaper. Christmas trees soon became common in English homes.

German settlers also introduced Christmas trees in the United States, though the custom; was not initially embraced. Puritans opposed the holiday because of the influence of Pagan traditions, and officials of the Massachusetts Bay Colony outlawed celebrating Christmas. Their dislike of the holiday was such that they closed their churches on December 25. It wasn’t until the 1820s that Christmas began gaining popularity in America, and the country’s first Christmas tree reportedly was displayed in the 1830s.

Christmas trees spread almost worldwide, but the tradition began to have a detrimental impact on forests, especially in Germany. As a result, during the 1800s, Germans began fabricating artificial goose-feathered trees. These trees found their way into different countries, but in time goose feathers were replaced by other materials. In the 1930s when a manufacturer of toilet bowl brushes allegedly used surplus product to create an artificial tree. These bristle trees gained popularity, but were later supplanted by aluminum and then plastic versions that are popular enough today.

By Kindra Ravenmoon

Published by Kindra Ravenmoon

Kindra Ravenmoon writes on witchcraft and related occult topics. She is the author of Gems of the Adversary, Faces of Lucifer, Natural Satanic Witchcraft, Gaia's Little Book of Crystals for Healing & Magic, Lucifer a Devotional, and A Witch & Warlock’s Guide to Working with Crystals and Other Treasures of The Earth (Gems of the Adversary revised). The devil, witchcraft, and folklore are the elements she brings into her contemporary writing and personal practice. An author best known for her books on the darker nature of witchcraft, her interviews and articles have appeared in scholarly journals and numerous publications such as Wyntergreene, 8 Sabbats, Montreal's Magical Circle, Spider's Web, Bizarre, Brutalism, Elle Magazine Quebec, Alt. Fashion UK, Bizarre Girls UK, Embracing the Darkness, Metal Queens Black Metal Edition, Vamperotika, Noir Fatale, Dark Romance Gothic, Devolution UK, Old Nick, Queens of Scream The New Blood, Dark Spy, Cemetery Gates, Ninth Gate,, just to name a few. Kindra likes to inspire others with what she shares through her books, blog, and select social media outlets. She also offers consultancy through tarot and the crystal ball, helping people develop their spiritual path for a more enlightened and prosperous living. Residing in Canada she finds joy in having an independent practice of witchcraft, experiencing the witches' devil and the spirits of nature within this country's four vivid seasons. To know more, visit her website at kindraravemoon.com and find her on Twitter and Instagram.

9 thoughts on “History of the Christmas Tree

  1. Very enjoyable read! I think the Pagan roots of Christmas are very obvious although there seems to be a bit of a backlash against this knowledge these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t like the term “rooted,” but prefer the term “connected.” In Christianity, Christmas is obviously rooted in the birth of Christ. The Church just chose to celebrate it on December 25. Historically it’s also celebrated on January 7. As a side note, there is a reference to decorated trees in the Old Testament book of Jeremiah 10. Pagans would put trees in their homes and decorate them. This is the oldest account of decorated trees that I know of, but I am no expert.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Albert, doesn’t it also state in Jeremiah something along the lines of; Never decorate a tree nor bring it indoors, so as not to be like the pagans? I remember reading something like this in the Old Testament a while back.

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      2. Yeah, I believe so. This passage in Jeremiah is why some Christians don’t use Christmas trees or celebrate Christmas. I think they’re fanatics though.

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    2. Hi Leonora, thanks for reading, glad you enjoyed it (:
      I agree. The big thing many are unaware of is that many of the traditions and practices we conduct today are rooted in Christianity and Catholicism. Much of what we tend to consider coming from the Norse/Germanic traditions actually spawn after those ancient pagans had converted to Christianity. It’s safe to say that much became intermingled and also still today even more added with all the commercialism lol!
      Holiday Blessings!

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  2. Interesting read kindra I didnt know about this either. Its crazy how the real history of this isnt mentioned much at all. The history of the tree. Thank you so much for this blog kindra and putting your time into it too🖤

    Liked by 1 person

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