Traditions of the Christmas Tree

Christmas Trees as they came to be now started around the late 1400s into the 1500s. In what’s now Germany (was the Holy Roman Empire then ), the Paradise Tree had more decorations on it (sometimes communion wafers, cherries and later pastry decorations of stars, bells, angels, etc. were added ) and it even got a new nickname the ‘Christbaum’ or ‘Christ Tree’.

The trees became very popular throughout the country from the mid 1840s, when reports of ‘the Royal tree’ were printed in newspapers. In 1848, a drawing of “The Queen’s Christmas tree at Windsor Castle” was published in the Illustrated London News. It showed Queen Victoria, her German Husband Prince Albert and their young children around a tree which was set-up on a table. The drawing was republished in Godey’s Lady’s Book, Philadelphia in December 1850 (but they removed the Queen’s crown and Prince Albert’s moustache to make it look ‘American’! ).

The publication of the drawing helped Christmas Trees become popular in the UK and USA. The custom of Christmas Trees had been taken to the USA by settlers from Germany and other European countries. However, they were seen as a rather strange decoration until the publication of the drawing of the British Royal family’s Christmas Tree!

In Victorian times, the tree would have been decorated with candles to represent stars. In many parts of Europe, candles are still used to decorate Christmas trees.


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