A Christmas tree is one of the most recognisable symbols of the end-of-the-year holiday seasons. The evergreen confiner – usually a spruce, fir tree or pine – has been the centrepiece of Christmas festivities for over 500 years.
There are several interpretations of the origins of the modern Christmas tree. However, customs of erecting decorated trees in wintertime can be traced to Baltic countries and Germany as early as 1400s and 1500s. From there the tradition spread to England, the Nordic countries and other parts of the world. In Finland, the first records of a Christmas tree date back to 1829.
For many, choosing, bringing in and decorating the tree marks the start of the holidays. It’s often a family tradition and key part of the Christmas preparations. Coniferous trees have their distinct scent that fills the house shortly after you erect the tree inside. One could call it the scent of Christmas.
Originally the tree was embellished with paper decorations, fruit, tinsel and round ornaments. An angel or star was placed at the top of the tree. In the 1800s candles became common in illuminating the tree, but they were eventually replaced by electric lights. Today, in addition to traditional ornaments, popular decorations include garlands, ribbons, baubles, figurines and edible ornaments such as gingerbread.