Christmas trees lighten up the darkness of winter, but where did they all begin?
It is thought that at one time people celebrated Adam and Eve day on December 24th. During these celebrations they decorated a tree that was known as the Paradise Tree, Paradise Trees were decorated with apples and other fruit, then they would act out the story of the Garden of Eden and what caused Adam and Eve to be driven out of it.
Christmas trees also link to St Boniface of Crediton, in legend at least. St Boniface of Crediton travelled from New England to Germany to teach the people there about Jesus Christ. Then one night the monks came across a group of villagers who were about to sacrifice a young boy to their pagan god Odin. The boy was tied to an oak tree, but St Boniface rescued the boy and chopped the tree. He and his followers then put candles in the branches of an evergreen fir and told the villagers about the Christian God.
It has also been suggested that Martin Luther was the first person to bring a Christmas tree inside. It is said he walked through the woods one night and saw the stars sparkling through branches and was inspired to bring that magic into his home.
Christmas Tree Decorations
When Christmas trees were first used they were decorated with edible items such as gingerbread, apples, and angels you could eat.
It is thought German glass-blowers were the first people to create glass baubles. Other changes to the decorations have also occurred over the years.
Originally Christmas trees were decorated with figures of Jesus and lighted candles. Candles had a bad habit of setting the tree alight, and so electric lights are now used. Jesus has also been replaced with an angel or star at the top of the tree.
It is suggested that Ralph Morris was inspired to create electric Christmas tree lights after he saw the lights on a switchboard.
Christmas Trees in Britain
Prince Albert is said to be the man who was responsible for Christmas trees gaining popularity in Britain. He, or course was husband to Queen Victoria.
Prince Albert wrote to his father in 1843;
Today I have two children of my own . . . who . . . are full of happy wonder at the German Christmas tree and its radiant candles.
The Royal tree was said to be amazing to look at. Each branch had a lighted candle, and from the tree hung gingerbread and ribbon
Modern Day Christmas Trees
Modern day trees vary from the traditional real trees which are decorated with tinsels and baubles to artificial trees. which can come ready decorated. There are even novelty trees which are designed to look like Santa or Snowmen.
Most villages, towns and cities in Britain have their own tree, or decorate a existing tree. Often there is small service before the lightening of the tree where carols are sung and prayers are offered.