Family gathered around Christmas tree

The winter season has so many magical elements that contribute to the overall beauty of the holidays. From falling snowflakes and cozy sweaters to warm cups of hot chocolate. However, none shine brighter than the Christmas tree! From ancient celebrations of the winter solstice to its popularity in the British Royal court, the luscious green icon traveled far and wide to become the holiday staple it is today. 

Old illustration depicting Christmas tree with family

So when exactly did we start the tradition of bringing trees inside and decorating them? Where did this come from and what does it mean?

The modern Christmas tree originated in Germany, where families would bring in evergreen trees in observance of Christmas or Yule. 

I’m sure you’ve heard the holiday classic ‘O Tannenbaum’ by Nat King Cole. Its lyrics may be in German but the message of love for this beautiful tradition can be understood no matter where you are in the world.

“O Christmas Tree O Christmas Tree!

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum!

I like you very much!

Du kannst mir sehr gefallen!”

According to the National Christmas Association the history goes as followed:

1700s – In parts of Austria and Germany, evergreen tips were brought into the home and hung top down from the ceiling. They were often decorated with apples, gilded nuts and red paper strips. The first accounts of using lighted candles as decorations on trees come from France in the 18th century.

1800s – The Christmas Tree was introduced in the United States by German settlers. It rapidly grew from tabletop size to floor-to-ceiling. 

illustration of Christmas tree

Today . . .

Christmas tree farm

In the United States we grow and sell approximately 25-30 million real Christmas Trees. Almost all of these come from farms and plantations.

The tradition has spanned over hundreds of years and in today’s world the Christmas tree is bigger and better than ever. Entire farms dedicated to growing these luscious firs, a 69-100 foot Norway Spruce sat right in the heart of New York City every December and made memorable media icons over the years.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
Various Christmas trees in media
In movies and television

Caring for your tree . . .

Couple carrying Christmas tree

Whether you and your loved ones went out and cut it down yourself or purchased from a farm, your tree will require some TLC inside your home. Here are just a couple tips on keeping your Tannenbaum looking emerald green and dazzling this holiday.

  • Cut at least an inch from the bottom stump, the tree will seal the initial cut with sap, so in order for your tree to drink water it’ll need a fresh cut. 
  • Stick it in water immediately and never let the water run dry. 
  • If possible keep your tree in the garage for the first day or so to ease the temperature adjustment from outside to indoors.

However you and your family celebrate this season, we hope it’s warm, cozy and filled with joy!