History of the Christmas Tree

Christmas trees are a central part of Christmas celebrations around the world. Families gather around them to exchange gifts, cities put them up in squares and town halls, you'll find them in nearly every hotel and shopping mall...

But where did the "Christmas tree" come from? Why do we decorate them? Who made the first artificial Christmas tree? Although you probably have your own Christmas tree each year, you may not know the very interesting history behind them.

Christmas Trees

Pagan Origins

Although there's some debate as to whether the Christmas tree as it's used today has pagan origins, it's clear that several non-Christian cultures brought evergreen plants indoors at the time of the winter solstice.

Christian Beginnings

The first use of Christmas trees as they're known today dates back to the 1500's. Some claim the tree originated in Germany in the mid 1500's, others claim it was Latvia in the early 1500's, and a few even believe in a legend that St. Boniface created the Christmas tree in the 7th century.

Today's Christmas Trees

Today Christmas trees come in many forms...natural and artificial, undecorated, decorated with candles, lights, ornaments, and treats...colored, fiber optic, and even upside down Christmas trees!


The Christmas tree is not without controversy. It has been condemned as a pagan symbol, renamed a "holiday tree" and removed from public spaces due to political correctness, and blasted by environmentalists!

More on Christmas Trees & Facts

Artificial trees have come a very long way! Check out these massive giant artificial Christmas trees and matching large Christmas tree ornaments! Learn all about Christmas trees from farms and traditions to selection and care at the University of Illinois site Christmas Trees & More, and test you knowledge of history with this fun Christmas tree quiz.

Christmas songs are another big part of the season for most people, as much if not more than Christmas trees, and their history is at least as interesting. Take a look at this site, where they have interesting info on the history of Christmas songs, not only in English but also French, German, Italian, and Spanish songs. The playlists are also a great help in coming up with perfect music for any party.