The Christmas tree

My 24 days of Christmas






Tree in Rothenburg o.d. TauberThe Christmas tree is another German tradition that made its way all over the world. People always decorated their homes with evergreen twigs or branches on Christmas because they symbolize health, and it has been customary to decorate whole trees for certain occasions since the middle ages (e.g. Maypole).

It is said that in Freiburg a tree was used in 1419 for the first time to be decorated with sweets, fruit and nuts that the kids could eat from it after New Year’s Day, but this cannot be proven anymore. The first official date where Christmas trees were mentioned is 1521. They stood in the homes of the rich as Christmas decoration. Christmas tree

After a while the Christmas tree became more popular in other countries in middle Europe and in 1832 the first Christmas tree was put up by a German born Harvard professor in Massachusetts. After Queen Victoria married Albert von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha, the tree was introduced in London and also came to other countries like Russia, the Netherlands or Italy. 

When I was a girl we used to put up our Christmas tree only on December 24, but nowadays people put up and decorate their trees earlier and earlier. The tree normally gets taken down again on Epiphany (January 6).

Christmas treeThe most popular tree for a Christmas tree is the fir tree (especially the Caucasian fir), but people also use pine trees or spruce. Artificial trees are not that popular in Germany; nothing beats a real tree and its scent. To use tinsel to decorate the tree is an idea that was born in Nuremberg in 1878. It is supposed to symbolize glittering icicles. A lot of people decorate their trees with glass baubles and lights, but also straw stars, wooden ornaments and bows are very popular. Some people even use real candles even though I wouldn’t recommend it, especially when you have kids. Just like with the advent wreath there is no  limit as to what you can use as decoration. Homemade or bought, inexpensive or very pricey, traditional or funky colour combinations – everything goes.


Tree images from flickr users MightyPirate Threepwood, onnola and hombertho.

What does YOUR Christmas tree look like?

4 Comments Write a comment

  1. I noticed this with a lot of my US friends. The tree gets put up after Thanksgiving and some take it down already after December 25th. Mine will be up, quite traditionally (even though 100% plastic), from December 24th through January 6th. It’s kind of funny how I moan each year that a real one would be so much better, just like the ones when I was a kid, but then I see how expensive they are and stick to the plastic one. Plus Yankee Candle Balsam & Cedar room spray 😉 !
    Birgit’s last post ..Blogoversary Giveaway #2


    • We are going to put our tree up next weekend. The kids are so excited and I must admit I like getting into a Christmas mood a few days earlier, and the tree definitely achieves this.

      I suppose the room spray will make up for the lack of scent from the tree, :).


  2. There are varying ideas about the best time to put up the tree etc, but for the most part it seems to be that the tree should go up near 1 December and get taken down on January 6, or at least that is what I aim for. Having said that, the tree isn’t up at my house yet, and it will be coming down earlier than January 6.
    Marg’s last post ..Christmas in Wattle Street – Kath


    • Marg, I often have enough of the tree before Jan 6 and take it down earlier. Somehow, once the new year is here, the tree must go.


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