Couple with a christmas tree

Why do we have Christmas trees at Christmas?

Ever wondered why we bring the outside, inside at Christmas? Well, look no further as we are going to give you all the answers to your burning Christmas related questions, including why we have Christmas trees at Christmas.

The first decorated Christmas tree was in Riga, Latvia in 1510.

Why do we have Christmas trees?

The tradition of having a Christmas tree likely stems back to pagan times and specifically to the Vikings and Saxons who worshipped trees among other things. This was then passed on to the Germanic peoples and for the most part over a number of centuries forgotten by the outside world.

As Germany adopted Christianity it seems that some areas still kept their Germanic roots and incorporated the act of putting up a tree during the Christmas period. This emerged as a notable curiosity in the sixteenth century and gained prominence in other western cultures when German traditions were passed on.

real christmas tree close up

Nuts, berries, apples and candles were used to decorate small Christmas Trees in the 16th century.

Notably, during the American civil war when German mercenaries known as Hessian soldiers bought the custom to America and when Queen Victoria was gifted a Christmas tree by her relatives and thereby introducing the custom to the UK.

Should you put a star, angel or fairy on top of your tree?

Well, that depends. The star and the angel are both religious symbols and many Christian households will adopt either a star or an angel. The star is a symbol of the guiding star that the three wise men followed during the nativity story.

The angel symbolises the angels that also attended the birth of Jesus in the nativity story. It is likely the fairy was introduced as a secular alternative to the angel and is purely a pretty replacement that has similarities. 

Whichever you choose to top your tree with is entirely up to you and there is no right or wrong way (except outside of these three options) to top a tree.

Are Christmas trees religious?

The answer is yes and no and certainly this could be the answer for the modern Christmas season as a whole. Both the tree and Christmas have their roots firmly in Christianity but both are equally accessible and celebrated by non-religious people and even people who hold other faiths. In this respect, outside of religion, Christmas and the Christmas tree have a universal appeal that can unite people across all faiths and backgrounds.

Nowadays the nativity and Christmas tree are used together and often irreligiously.

Incidentally, the Christmas tree itself was often used during the middle ages as an anti-Catholic protest and installed in Protestant houses in place of a traditional nativity scene. 

Where is the world’s largest Christmas tree?

Currently, the largest Christmas tree in the world sits in a lagoon in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It towers in at monumental 278 feet which is almost 100ft taller than the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Are Christmas trees good for the environment?

It depends on which type of Christmas tree you’re talking about. An artificial Christmas tree is almost always terrible for the environment even if it has been constructed in an environmentally friendly way i.e. from recycled plastic. This is because although recycled plastics go into making artificial trees they are not made exclusively of one type of recycled plastic – which means they can’t be recycled in the future.

Another issue with recycling plastic, in general, is that it is not an environmentally friendly process and not any kinder than making new plastic. The only difference is that new plastic increases the amount of plastic in circulation which causes ongoing environmental issues.

Chirstmas tree Farm in sunny day

Most artificial Christmas trees end up on landfill sites.

Real Christmas trees, on the other hand, are much better for the environment and each year as demand increases, tree farmers are planting more and more Christmas trees which are having a positive effect on our atmosphere and giving us all more oxygen and cleaner air to breath.

Almost all real Christmas trees in the UK are recycled with an estimated 93% of real Christmas trees worldwide being recycled by consumers either in community green recycling programs or in their back-garden compost bin.

What is the most expensive Christmas tree decoration?

The most expensive Christmas tree decoration that is functional is a diamond-studded star that costs a staggering $950,000. Crafted using gold, silver and 281 diamonds including a flawless rare large diamond in the middle it was created by the UK jeweller 77 Diamonds to showcase their jewellery expertise.

It just so happened to be worth an awful lot in the process and we aren’t so sure anyone would actually want to put it atop a tree.

The solid sterling silver creation stands at 20cm high and 13cm wide and weighs 130 grams. 

What is the most famous Christmas tree?

Possibly the most famous Christmas tree in the world and certainly the most famous in the United Kingdom is the Christmas tree at Trafalgar Square. Each year this Christmas tree is a gift from Oslo, Norway to London and the tradition has been upheld since 1947.

The reason for this time-honoured tradition is a gift of gratitude for the service and support the British provided Norway during World War Two and is a way of uniting the two nations. During World War Two, Britain also provided sanctuary to the exiled King of Norway after the German invasion in 1940. Each year the tree has a lighting ceremony led by the Lord Mayor of Westminster and many London folk use this as the beginning signal of the countdown to Christmas.

What is the most expensive Christmas tree in the world? 

A Japanese jeweller has created a solid gold Christmas tree that is on display and worth an estimated $1.6 million or around 200 million yen. The tree has similarity to a traditional Christmas tree but its shape is more modern with gold wires joining the tiers of the tree.

Like the British diamond-encrusted star, the tree is a showcase of jeweller skill and isn’t for sale. 

1 comment

This was fun to read, need to visit Trafalgar Square one year!


Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.