On December 8, we celebrate the Christmas tree. We think of the decorated tree as the symbol of Christmas, but the use of evergreens around the time of the winter solstice goes back as far as the history of humankind. In very earliest times, when most peoples worshipped the sun, the solstice marked both the time of the sun’s weakness and the time when it began to grow strong again. People brought living greens into their homes to celebrate the strengthening of the sun, and the promise of spring and planting time to come. Evergreens have long been considered special because they are green when other things are dead.
According to WhyChristmas.com, “Nobody is really sure when Fir trees were first used as Christmas trees. It probably began about 1000 years ago in Northern Europe. Many early Christmas Trees seem to have been hung upside down from the ceiling using chains (hung from chandeliers/lighting hooks).”
Some say the first to light a candle atop a Christmas tree was Martin Luther. Legend has it, late one evening around Christmas time, Luther was walking home through the woods when he was struck by the innocent beauty of starlight shining through fir trees. Wanting to share this experience with his family, Martin Luther cut down a fir tree and took it home. He placed a small candle on the branches to symbolize the Christmas sky.
In the middle ages, many clergy condemned the Christmas tree as distracting from the birth of Jesus, the true reason for celebrating the season. Puritans, in particular, disliked this tradition (among many others). However, by the time of Queen Victoria, it had become an accepted custom, and it is a rare home today, especially one with children, which doesn’t have its decorated tree with presents beneath.
Quotes about Christmas trees
The best Christmas trees come very close to exceeding nature. If some of our great decorated trees had been grown in a remote forest area with lights that came on every evening as it grew dark, the whole world would come to look at them and marvel at the mystery of their great beauty.–Andy Rooney
The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.–Burton Hillis
The Christmas spirit that goes out with the dried-up Christmas tree is just as worthless.—Unknown
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know.
Where the treetops glisten,
And children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow.
Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall.–Larry Wilde
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Of all the trees most lovely!
Each year you bring renewed delight,
A-gleaming in the Christmas night.–German Carol
The perfect Christmas tree? All Christmas trees are perfect!–Charles N. Barnard
Stop, sit, light a quiet flame. Stare into the glittering green of the tree for a while. Bundle up, breathe, and be together. Let it all come to rest. And just remember how it ought to be.–Mike Connelly
For it isn’t the holly, it isn’t the snow.
It isn’t the tree not the firelight’s glow.
It’s the warmth that comes to the hearts of men
When the Christmas spirit returns again.
Everyone wants a Christmas tree. If you had a Christmas tree Santa would bring you stuff! Like hair curlers and slut shoes.–Janet Evanovich
The Christmas tree is a symbol of love, not money. There’s a kind of glory to them when they’re all lit up that exceeds anything all the money in the world could buy.–Andy Rooney
…freshly cut Christmas trees smelling of stars and snow and pine resin – inhale deeply and fill your soul with wintry night…–John Gedde
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