winter meeting 2020

The First Trees

05Christmas Trees haven't always been a Christmas Tradition. No one really knows who put up the first Christmas tree, but some historians believe that even the Egyptians and Romans used some form of an evergreen to decorate their homes in late December.

It is generally agreed that the first use of a tree as part of the Christian Christmas celebration was started over 500 years ago by the Germans.

The Christmas tree was brought to America by the Hessian mercenaries that were paid to fight for the British during the Revolutionary War. In 1804, soldiers stationed at a fort near Chicago hauled trees to their barracks during Christmas.

In 1842, a German named Charles Minnegerode introduced the custom of decorated Christmas trees in Williamsburg, Virginia homes. His tree was described as being "splendidly decorated" with strings of popcorn, nuts, and lighted candles.

By 1900, one in five American families decorated trees during Christmas and by 1930, the tree had become a nearly universal part of the American Christmas.

 

Christmas Miracle in Riga

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