One of the most recognised symbols of Christmas is the magical evergreen conical shaped tree laden with bright twinkly lights, sparkling baubles and tinsel, and underneath the tree, a pile of beautifully wrapped presents waiting to be opened!
But what started this tradition of bringing an evergreen tree into our homes at Christmas?
Evergreens such as firs, pines and spruces stay vibrant and green throughout the year and have decorated homes for hundreds of years during the winter months. In some countries it was believed that they warded off evil spirits and witches by hanging evergreen branches over their doors and windows. However, in the 16th century, it is believed that Germany began the Christmas tree tradition by bringing decorated trees into their homes – some even built pyramids of wood, adorned with evergreen branches and candles. Although, adding candles to the Christmas tree is said to have come from Martin Luther, the religious reformer, who was walking home through the forest one dark winter’s night and saw bright stars twinkling through the branches of the trees – this wonderful sight inspired him to bring a fir tree into his house and decorate it with candles; lit up to remind his children of the stars in heaven and that Christ the Saviour is the light of the world.
In Germany, in the early years of the Christmas Tree, it was decorated with edible items such as gingerbread, wafers and gold covered apples, as well as roses made out of paper. In time, glass makers made special small ornaments and tinsel was originally made out of beaten silver until plastics took over and we have tinsel as we know it today! Baby Jesus was the first figure to be placed on the top of the tree but this soon evolved into an angel or star, representing the Angel Gabriel or the Star of Bethlehem, placed at the top of the tree to inform the shepherds about the forthcoming arrival of Jesus!
The Christmas tree was introduced to Britain in the late 18th century.
George III’s German wife, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, introduced a Christmas tree at a party she gave for children in 1800. Queen Victoria was familiar with the tradition growing up as a child, but it was her husband Prince Albert who brought the tree into the royal household in 1841. By the 1920s, Christmas trees were seen in most homes across Britain. Now, it is reported that about 7 million Christmas Trees are sold in the UK each year with a value of around £280m in sales! And did you know it takes around 7 to 12 years to grow a 6ft Christmas tree, depending on variety!
One of the most famous Christmas trees in the UK is the one that stands more than 60ft tall in Trafalgar Square and is lit with 500 white lights on the first Thursday in December. The tree is a gift from Oslo, Norway and has been donated every year since 1947 to thank the British people for their support during World War II.
Artificial trees were first created in Germany in the 19th century! The trees were made out of wood and goose feathers that had been dyed green! Obviously artificial trees have come a long way since then and are looking more real than ever!
So whether you like the nostalgic smell of pine and the excitement of choosing your own ‘real’ Christmas Tree or the ease of putting up a pre-lit rtificial one, so you just have to plug it in – enjoy your Christmas Tree, as it truly is the very essence of bringing festivity into our homes.
If you’re looking to decorate your office with a beautiful Christmas Tree, Edgar’s Elves will take the hassle out of supplying your Christmas tree! From installation, to decoration, with a colour scheme of your choice – reds, blues or silver , our Elves will leave your office looking magically festive and will even leave a few wrapped presents under the tree (purely for decorative purposes!!) In early January, Edgar’s will also come and remove your tree, meaning there is no getting tangled in lights and time spent packing the tree and decorations away!