The History of Christmas Trees, Lights and Ornaments

By: Realstorm

Christmas Tree: It is said that during the 7th century, an evangelistic monk traveled to Germany to spread God's word. He offered a tree to the first village he came to, explaining that its triangular shape represented God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. This first "Christmas tree" was decorated with small, white candles.

In 1610, people began to add tinsel to the traditional decoration. When the concept of Christmas trees spread to England, they began to decorate it with glass beads and snowflakes. By the 1800's, America was introduced to this festive custom. However, it wasn't until the years after WWII that that real lighted Christmas trees, by then either with candles or electricity, developed into a universal tradition in the United States.

Christmas lights: Even before electricity, Christmas was associated with light and guidance, and thus candles were a popular way to decorate during the holidays. There were holders designed specifically to cling to the branches of a Christmas tree, and for a few precious minutes, the family or town Christmas tree could be lit up with many little flames of hope.

Today's electric lights stem from Edward Johnson's 1882 Christmas tree. He was a colleague of Thomas Edison, and decided to put this wonderful invention to use for festive purposes. After his small rotating tree lit up by red, white, and blue electric bulbs, the idea began to develop into what we have today.

Ornaments: At one point in time, all ornaments had to be crafted with glass, or otherwise made from edible objects. Europeans originally marketed glass ornaments to be hung on a Christmas tree or wreath. Christmas trees were strung with cranberries, popcorn, or gingerbread during the pioneer days of our culture, when material possessions were an encumbrance. With the invention of injection mold plastics in America, more affordable and durable ornaments became available.

Candy Cane: A German choir director used to give straight, mint sticks to his students when they behaved well. Sometime during its development as a Christmas tradition, the candy cane took a curve-and was thereafter shaped like a shepard staff, representing the guidance of Christ over his flock.

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