Christmas trees have become an important focal point during the holiday season. Adorned with ornaments and lights, the Christmas tree can be found everywhere: in our homes, businesses, shopping centers, outdoors on the main street of many towns and cities and in plenty of tourist destinations, and Germans are to thank.
Germans are credited with starting the tradition of Christmas trees in the 16th century. According to the History channel during the 16th century, Christians began bringing trees into their homes. Homes were lined with evergreen branches to brighten homes during the winter solstice. As Christianity swept the masses, this tradition was absorbed. In medieval Germany, Christians began hanging apples from pine trees to represent the Garden of Eden. These trees were named "paradise trees" and were kept up through the holiday season. Edible items were added to the trees as time passed. In 1848, Prince Albert (husband of England's Queen Victoria) decorated a tree with candles, ornaments, decorations, and sweets. It was then that the Christmas tree became en vogue, and the tradition continues to live on.
As you admire Christmas trees in passing and gaze at your own, you can appreciate how Germany has heavily influenced this holiday tradition. This year, the largest Christmas tree in Germany is "for the traditional Christmas market on Römerberg is a red spruce that's 33 meters (108 feet) high, 124 years old and weighs just under nine tons". Now that is a Christmas tree.
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