News and Blog Articles
News and Blog Articles
December is here, which means Christmas is right around the corner! It’s about time to start setting up those Christmas trees (although, if you’re anything like us, you’ve had yours up for an amount of time you probably aren’t willing to admit to!). But besides being a decorative addition to the holiday season, and providing some delightful cover for those painstakingly-wrapped gifts, why exactly do we hack up an evergreen and put it in our home to garnish and light up?
In 1521, a painting was made in Germany of a tree being paraded through the streets by a man on horseback, dressed as a bishop. Some believe the man to be a representation of St. Nick, though little is actually known about the origin of the painting. But, thanks to some writings from later in the 1500s, we do know that the painting depicts a celebration in which an evergreen tree, decorated with nuts, apples, pretzels, and paper flowers, would be paraded through the town before ending up in the market square, where people would dance and sing around it. Sounds pretty Christmas-y, right? Except for the part where they’d burn the tree at the end of the party, that is!
In fact, it’s likely that this painting is actually showing a “Tree of Paradise,” which was a medieval tradition that celebrated Adam and Eve on December 24th. So, not quite Christmas, but definitely on the right track. How this “Tree of Paradise” evolved from a celebration of the first humans to a celebration of the birth of Christ, it’s not known.
The Germans have their own legend:
“Once on a cold Christmas Eve night, a forester and his family were in their cottage gathered round the fire to keep warm. Suddenly there was a knock on the door. When the forester opened the door, he found a poor little boy standing on the door step, lost and alone. The forester welcomed him into his house and the family fed and washed him and put him to bed in the youngest son’s own bed (he had to share with his brother that night!). The next morning, Christmas Morning, the family were woken up by a choir of angels, and the poor little boy had turned into Jesus, the Christ Child. The Christ Child went into the front garden of the cottage and broke a branch off a Fir tree and gave it to the family as a present to say thank you for looking after him. So ever since them, people have remembered that night by bringing a Christmas Tree into their homes!”
So while we might not know when bringing trees into the home first happened, but we do know that, sometime before 1546 (when Martin Luther died), most Germans homes wouldn’t see a Christmas without one.
The next 100 years would see the incorporation of things like tinsel, popcorn, and electric lights into tree decoration, leading us all the way up to the 21t century, where Christmas trees are just as likely to be synthetic as they are real, ornaments are sold by most stores and are a popular souvenir, and Christmas lights are all but a given.
Most Christmas trees are topped with an angel, meant to represent the angel announcing Christ’s birth to the shepherds, or a star, meant to represent the star that shone above the stable as a guide to Jesus.
No matter how you choose to decorate your Christmas tree (or even if you don’t have a tree at all!), we hope this Christmas season brings you joy, happiness, family, friends, blessings, and peace as we remember the reason for the season: our Savior, the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
Emily Casuccio is sister and sister-in-law to Rebekah and Scott Rushing, and has over half a decade of experience in copywriting, copyediting, proofreading, and developmental storyboarding. She's worked with both published and undiscovered authors on both fiction and nonfiction, and takes pride in supporting local businesses. Her passion lies in the written word and helping authors of all capacities realize their dreams and achieve their fullest potential. To learn more about her, read samples of her work, or contact her, visit her online portfolio.
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