Did you know the Christmas tree tradition dates back to Western Germany in the 16th century? They were called “paradise trees” and were used to celebrate the annual feast of Adam and Eve on December 24.
As early as the 7th century, legend has it that a monk from Germany used the triangular shape of the fir tree as a way to describe the Holy Trinity. The German people began to revere the fir tree and it became a symbol of Christianity. They were actually hung upside-down from the ceiling as a sign of Christianity. (See the ‘side note’ below for an interesting follow-up)
Fir trees were first brought to America by German immigrants about 1700 becoming generally popular around the 1850’s. President Franklin Pierce is credited as having the first White House Christmas tree in 1856 for a group of Washington Sunday school children. Calvin Coolidge started the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in 1923. The first Christmas tree lot was established in New York in 1851. Today, Americans purchase approximately 30 million Christmas trees annually.
The ancient custom of ‘hanging upside-down Christmas trees resurfaced as the fad for the Christmas season of 2005. Several large retailers including Target, carried ‘upside down’ Christmas trees, priced around $400. Sales were brisk and many retailers sold out. Thankfully this fad was short-lived and the traditional tree, (right-side-up) was king. However, a new fad made ripples one season. The ‘all black’ tree was the rage in some trendy homes and businesses around the country. What will it be next?
Jan (Thanks for today.) says
I enjoyed this Joe. Great info that most of us never learned! Happy holidays/Merry Christmas to you and yours:-)
Thanks Jan. Glad you liked and same to you and yours this holiday.
Loved reading this today. I always wondered about the tradition but never enough to go research it. I always tend to enjoy finding out neat tidbits of our heritage.
Thanks Scott. History and the story behind the making of a tradition always facinate me too. Thanks for taking the time to comment.