We have to look back to a time when agricultural based societies were popping up all over the globe. Their beliefs were much different from modern times and they used evergreen in their homes to keep evil spirits and illness away. It just so happen that people would bring the evergreen branches into their homes on the shortest day of the year (winter solstice) which is right around Christmas time.
As things became more civilized and people began having fireplaces in their homes they placed evergreen boughs around the mantel and fireplace to stop spirits from entering their homes through the chimney. Going back to Egyptian times, they had a similar ritual of bringing palm fronds into their homes to keep them safe from Ra the Sun God.
The Romans got into the act as well decorating their homes with evergreen boughs to celebrate Saturnalia which was a celebration to honor Saturn the god of agriculture. It wasn’t until the 12th century when whole evergreen trees were brought indoors, but it was not like today, they hung the trees upside down from the ceiling with little decoration. Since Christianity was not as prevalent as it is today it is said that hanging upside down was said to satisfy the beliefs of both pagans and Christians.
Fast forward to the 16th century and the Germans started to decorate wooden pyramids in their homes with evergreen boughs and candles, and for some crazy reason, pickles. That must be where the hanging of food on the tree started. The pyramid shaped object was believed to be a way to depict the Holy Trinity with the three points of the triangle.
It wasn’t until the mid 1800s before the right side up Christmas started to become popular and Christmas trees were rarely seen in America until around 1840. As more and more German and Irish immigrants came to America, Christmas trees became much more popular. It also helped that Queen Victoria decided to have a Christmas tree displayed during her reign over the United Kingdom.
As we all know this practice continues today. Different cultures have different ways of decorating their Christmas trees. The Europeans tend to be a bit more reserved in their decorations versus the more over the top Americans.
However you like to decorate your tree doesn’t matter as long as you as you buy a real tree from “Minnesota” Bob Smith.