The history of the Christmas tree

27th November 2023

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Have you ever wondered why we bring trees into our homes and decorate them at this time of year?

It all started in the pine forest covered areas of Northern Europe. The earliest records of evergreen trees being brought inside and decorated around the winter solstice come from Medieval Livonia (modern day Estonia and Latvia). This was a pagan ritual to show the triumph of light over darkness and the promise of spring in the coming months ahead.

Where the Christmas tree all started, Riga, Latvia.

This pagan tradition spread across Eastern Europe and eventually into Germany where many centuries later, Queen Victoria who had married her German cousin Prince Albert, fell in love with the German Christmas traditions and introduced the Christmas tree as we know it to Great Britain.

After the first World War, all things German fell out of favour, including the Christmas tree, but this didn’t last long and in turn created a new desire for British Grown trees creating the thriving industry we have today.

When should you decorate your tree? Tradition dictates that Christmas trees should be put up at the beginning of Advent, which begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. However, in most parts of Austria, Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Germany, Switzerland and the Nordic countries, it is traditional to decorate the tree and exchange presents on the evening of 24th December.

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