Ancient Winter Solstice
Long before Christmas, people celebrated the winter solstice. Evergreens symbolized enduring life, with Romans adorning homes with laurel and Saturnalia participants gifting greenery.
16th Century Germany
The modern Christmas tree tradition began in 16th century Germany, where devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes, often with simple candles for lighting.
Queen Victoria's Influence
England's Queen Victoria and Prince Albert popularized the Christmas tree in the 1840s. A published image of their decorated tree made the practice fashionable across Britain and America.
First Electric Tree Lights
Edward Johnson, an associate of Thomas Edison, introduced the first string of electric Christmas lights in 1882, dramatically reducing the risk of fire from candles on trees.
Evolution of Ornaments
Originally, fruits and nuts were hung on Christmas trees. By the late 1800s, German glassblowers in Lauscha began producing the first glass ornaments, resembling fruits and nuts.
Tinsel's Sparkling Origin
Tinsel was created in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1610. Made from shredded silver, it was designed to mimic ice and sparkled when it reflected candlelight.
World War II's Effect
During World War II, the U.S. banned German ornament imports, leading to the American glass ornament industry's expansion. Corning used machine-blown glass techniques, producing thousands per minute.