The tradition of a tree goes back to the pre-Christian times. Back then, decorated evergreen trees were viewed as a symbol of life and fertility, and were worshiped around midwinter. In Roman times, a New Years tradition included keeping branches and deciduous trees indoors in order to make them blossom. These traditions developed throughout the years, and the blossoms were replaced with candles similar to todays Christmas trees. Christmas trees for many became, and are, a symbol of giving and of the light....
In Alsace, France (then a German territory), evergreens were first sold in a marketplace, representing Christmas decorations.
The first report of a Christmas tree dates back to 1465. In the German town of Freiburg, the local bakers’ guild donated a tree decorated with presents which then was shaken by the master baker on New Years Day to shower the poor and needy.
Germany is considered the birthplace of the Christmas tree tradition, as faithful Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. It is generally thought that Martin Luther, a Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. On a walk home one evening, he was captivated by the magnifience of the stars twinkling amongst the evergreens so in an effort to capture that same brillance for his family, he decided to add candles to the branches.
The Christmas tree spread from Germany to the rest of the world. Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (territory located in Germany) introduced the custom to the English royal court. Henriette of Nassau-Weilburg (areas now part of Germany), a protestant princess, brought the tradition to the Vienna’s Hofburg Palace in 1817. Prince Otto of Bavaria then introduced the Christmas tree to Greece. In the 1800, thanks to German immigrants, the Christmas Tree was introduced in the United States.
In the United States, the 14th President, Franklin Pierce is recognized for bringing in the first Christmas Tree to the White House. To this day, the tradition of the Christmas tree is extremely popular and each year, approximately 25-30 million real trees are sold in the United States.