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What is the significance of the Christmas tree?

Written by: phs Greenleaf

Have you ever wondered why we put up Christmas trees? Or what they represent? Wonder no more, because we have all the answers you’re looking for.  

When and where did the tradition start?

The Christmas tree is said to have originated in northern Europe in the 16th century, gaining particular popularity amongst protestants in Germany.  They were traditionally decorated with homemade paper decorations, fruit, and candles. But after electrification, the candles were replaced with much safer string lights.

Although no one is 100% certain, it’s thought that the tradition may have been inspired by the Romans, who decorated their temples with Fir Trees for the festival of Saturnalia (which was held in December). We also know that Fir Trees have been used to celebrate winter Pagan and Christian festivals for thousands of years.

The Christmas tree first arrived in the UK when Prince Albert (Queen Victoria’s German born husband), had one set up in Windsor Castle in 1841. Historians mark this event as the one that started the popular tradition in the UK.

What does the Christmas tree represent?

The modern Christmas tree has formed its own meaning. While originating as a Christian holiday many secular people have found their own meaning in Christmas and the Christmas Tree. And it’s safe to say that Winter would be much less exciting if we didn’t celebrate Christmas with family and friends.

However, for many Christians the Christmas tree and its decoration still have a very clear religious meaning.  Placing an angel or star on top represents the story of the birth of Christ, while lights are said to represent the light of his spirit.

For many families, the decoration of the tree has become a tradition in itself, with people choosing decorations that represent family history and treasured moments.

Unusual Christmas traditions around the world
The Christmas tree is probably the most popular Christmas custom, but there is also an abundance of strange and wonderful festive traditions around the world

Mari Lwyd in Wales – A tradition that started in 1800 and has declined in popularity but is still being kept alive by small dedicated groups. It involves a horse skull on a pole and a group of men dancing their way around local homes asking for entry, food, and drink.

KFC in Japan – A genius marketing campaign in 1974 has led to an estimated 3.6 million families in Japan treating themselves to an annual KFC on Christmas day. The increased demand means that you have to order in advance to guarantee your Christmas party bucket.

Gävle Goat in Sweden – A giant goat made of straw is annually put on display in Gävle for the first two days of advent. However, it’s become a popular target for arson and destruction despite laws against this. It’s the world’s largest straw goat, with an impressive 42.6ft high and a weight of 3.6 tonnes.

Fun Christmas Tree Facts

  • The Guinness World Record Holder for World’s Largest Artificial Tree was set in December 2016 by a 72.1 metre tree in Sri Lanka.
  • The famous Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree has been donated from Oslo, Norway to the UK every year since 1942.
  • The process of growing a real Christmas tree takes an average of 10 years.
  • Approximately 8 million Christmas trees are annually sold in the UK.
  • There are almost 15,000 Christmas tree farms in the USA.
  • The three most popular types of Christmas trees are evergreen firs, spruces, and pines. 

Do something special this Christmas

Christmas is approaching, and it’s the perfect time to create a special atmosphere for your employees, customers, and visitors. At phs Greenleaf we annually design and install Christmas trees and displays for hundreds of business across the UK.

We have a team of fully-trained technicians that offer nationwide coverage. These dedicated technicians will fully install your new Christmas display at a time that suits your business. Once Christmas is over, they will collect the tree and any accessories from your premises, providing you with a stress-free Christmas decoration solution.

View our full range of Christmas trees or speak to an expert on 0800 090 2325

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