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How Did The Christmas Tree Come To Be?

A pine tree that set the way for a popular Christmas tradition


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The Christmas tree is recognized as an iconic symbol during the Christmas season around the world. People set it up in their homes and town squares as part of the Christmas tradition with some trees becoming famous tourist attractions such as the iconic Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center. But how did this much-loved tradition come to pass?


According to tradition, in the 1600s, the Protestant reformer Martin Luther was walking through the woods in winter composing a sermon in his head. As he walked, he was entranced by the beauty of the stars shining through the pine trees. He went home and set up a tree in his house, tying candles to the branches to replicate the effect he had seen. And thus the first Christmas tree came to be. It remained a mostly Germanic tradition for years until 1846, when Queen Victoria had one set up in her palace. Everyone wanted to echo what the Queen had done, and Christmas trees were popularized to become a Christmas tradition everywhere.


Across the Atlantic and almost a century later in 1933, construction workers at the Rockefeller Center set up a Christmas tree so they could celebrate with their families while working. When the building was completed, this tradition stayed on and it later became a national tradition in the United States. Some of the tallest Christmas trees set that were set up there have reached a towering 100 feet in height. Today, Christmas trees have become a flourishing industry, employing about 100,000 people in America alone, and the iconic tree is a cherished tradition during the season of Christmas worldwide.