There are many different opinions about the origin of the Christmas tree. One of the most common seems to be a story from the year 1510 in the town of Riga, Latvia. According to the National Christmas Tree Association:
Men of the local merchants’ guild decorated a tree with artificial roses, danced around it in the marketplace and then set fire to it. The rose was used for many years and is considered to be a symbol for the Virgin Mary.
By 1530 it seems a German territory in present day France started selling trees in the town market to be brought home and set up inside undecorated. The use of such trees grew until in the 1800s when German immigrants introduced the Christmas Tree to the United States.
Two hundred years later Christmas Trees in America have become a big business.
- Americans bought 33.02 million real trees last year
- They spent an average of $35.30 per tree
- 14.7 million Americans bought fake trees last year
- They spent an average of $81.30 per tree
- Combined, Americans spent $2.35 billion on Christmas Trees last year
- The White House will display 26 different trees this year and a gingerbread house weighing over 300 pounds!
- The world's largest "tree" is in Gubbio, Italy. It's made out of 1,000 lights and five miles of cable laid out on the side of Mount Ingino. It measures 2,460 feet high by 1,476 feet wide. Pope Francis lit the tree this year, using a tablet to flip the switch.
For more information on the Christmas Tree check out the National Christmas Tree Association.