The Christmas Tree Decorations

Christmas trees indeed looks so lovely when adorned with ornaments and lit with multicolored lights.
Such is the competition for decorating Christmas trees these days that making Christmas tree ornaments has become a big business with millions of dollars of turnover.

There are many stories about how the practice of setting up a decorated tree during the Christmas season originated and evolved.

The earliest of Christmas trees are believed to have made their appearance in the beginning of the 16th century. The credit for introducing the first decorated tree goes to the European country of Latvia. Some records suggest that it was at the place Riga in Latvia that the first tree was set up, but there are also suggestions that it was at the place called Tallinn. There are many legends and fables on how the practice started.

One story connects the Christmas tree to St. Boniface, the patron saint of Germany. The story is that a local man was planning to sacrifice a child under an oak tree, and that the saint cut off the tree to forestall the act. When the tree was felled, he saw a fir tree underneath it. The saint declared it a holy tree and initiated the practice of connecting it with Christmas.

According to another version, Prince Albert gets the credit for introducing the custom, especially in England. The practice was already in existence in Germany, and since Prince Albert was a German prince who came to England after marrying Queen Victoria, he is believed to have started decorating a fir tree during Christmas. The English people apparently liked it and soon incorporated the practice into their Christmas celebrations. This was in the 19th century, much later than the practice apparently started in Germany.

There are also many who think that it was Martin Luther who decorated a Christmas tree for the first time. The story goes that on the Christmas Eve of 1500, he was watching the surrounding woods covered by snow, when a few fir trees caught his attention. The trees looked pretty with light reflecting on the lumps of fallen snow on it. Martin Luther then brought one inside to beautify his house interior as well. He decorated it with candles, and started a new tradition.

Only evergreens are used for making a Christmas tree. Since Christmas falls at the height of winter in many countries, deciduous trees will be completely leafless and unusable for any decorative purposes. Further, the conical shape of the evergreens makes it a good choice for decorating. Since evergreens do not lose leaves in winter, they are considered to represent continuing life, as different from the destruction and rejuvenation that leaf-shedding trees personify.

Christmas trees are also believed to be a symbol of good luck. Since a decorated Christmas tree is full of bright lights, it is the embodiment of the brightness that can expel the gloom that the surrounding dark winter personifies.

The Romans are believed to have started the practice of decorating the Christmas tree with bits of metals. The bits were, for them, a symbol of their reverence for the Sun God. As time passed, people started decorating Christmas trees with various things like beads, candies, candles, glass balls, jewels, popcorn strings, and greeting cards. Every passing year more and more innovative methods are used for Christmas tree decoration.

Chocolate, metal and glass ornaments, stringed beads, paper lanterns, and toys made of wood and metal are among the many things used nowadays to decorate a Christmas tree. Some of these ornaments can be used for generations as family heirlooms.

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