Tis the season to be jolly and forget all about our worries because that time of the year has come when we celebrate a season full of love and giving. Yes, it’s Christmas, one of the most anticipated events of the year for people young and old. We know that Christmas is just around the corner when the wind that blows becomes chilly, when Christmas songs start playing on the radio, when you hear children outside your front door singing good old Christmas carols, and, lastly, you know that Christmas is really near when you look outside your window and see the beautiful Christmas lights and decors that people put up in and out of their houses. People put up lots of decors for the sake of feeling the spirit of Christmas. These decors differ from house to house—some are plain and simple, while some are dazzling and extravagant. But what’s common among all these is that each home has a wonderful Christmas tree to put gifts under. It has certainly become one of the Christmas traditions that couldn’t possibly be ignored by people rich or poor.
So, how did Christmas trees start to become a vital part in celebrating the yuletide season? There are different versions of the origin of the Christmas Tree, but despite that, many believe that it evolved from a Pagan tradition, even before Christ was born. In the Northern hemisphere, the shortest day and longest night of the year falls on the winter solstice. Many ancient people believed that the sun was a god and that winter came every year because the sun god had become weak. Marking the They celebrated the solstice because it meant that the sun god would begin to get well. Evergreen boughs reminded them of all the green plants that would grow again when the sun god was strong and summer would return. Not having evergreen trees, the ancient Egyptians considered the palm tree to symbolize resurrection. When the winter solstice arrived, they brought green date palm leaves into their homes.  Early Romans marked the solstice with a feast called the Saturnalia in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture.
The Romans knew that the solstice meant that soon farms and orchards would be green and fruitful. To mark the occasion, they decorated their homes and temples with evergreen boughs.  Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition as we now know it in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Some built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles if wood was scarce. It is a widely held belief that Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. Walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles. Though we cannot be certain, it seems highly likely that the first Christmas trees that appeared in Germany in the early sixteenth century were descendants of both of these customs: the Paradise tree and the Christmas pyramids and lights.
The Paradise tree became our Christmas tree. Decorations that had been placed on the pyramids were transferred to the Christmas tree. For many Christians the Christmas tree still retains the symbolism of the Paradise tree. The tree reminds us of the tree in Eden by which Adam and Eve were overcome and which thrust them into sin.  No matter where this custom originated from, I’m certain most people are really glad that it came to be since it seems to help strengthen the bond between family members every time they welcome the holidays. It serves as the product of hard work done by the whole family which reminds them of the time they spent together from buying the tree itself, to putting a star on top of it while singing “Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, how lovely are your branches….”
1 http://www.history.com/topics/history-of-christmas-trees/page2 2 http://suwannee.ifas.ufl.edu/documents/SENH2-ChristmasTreeHistory.pdf 3 http://www.orlutheran.com/html/chrtree.html