Why do we have Christmas trees? *PROMOTED*

Why do we have Christmas trees? *PROMOTED*

Published at 2:32pm 6th December 2016. (Updated at 10:02pm 6th December 2016)

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It is believed that the first Christmas Tree arrived into Britain with Queen Victoria’s husband Albert bringing with him a German Tradition. However, the tradition in the UK was started by Queen Charlotte, the wife of George III who set up the first known tree at Windsor in December 1800.  The aristocracy of the time then copied the Royal Household and so the Christmas Tree in homes around the country spread.

The first origins of the tree would appear to have started in Latvia and Estonia and were hung with apples, nuts, sweet treats and ginger breads, tied with bright ribbons, for the children, gradually garlands, tinsel and baubles were added. Then candles were used to illuminate the trees until electrification when Christmas lights were introduced.

The fullest description of these early English Yuletide trees is to be found in the diary of Charles Greville, the witty, cultured Clerk of the Privy Council, who in 1829 spent his Christmas holidays at Panshanger, Hertfordshire, home to Peter, 5th Earl Cowper, and his wife Lady Emily.

Greville’s fellow house guests were Princess Dorothea von Lieven, wife of the German Ambassador, Lord John Russell, Frederick Lamb, M. de la Rochefoucauld and M. de Montrond, all of whom were brilliant conversationalists. Greville makes no mention of any of the bons mots that he must have heard at every meal, however, or of the indoor games and the riding, skating and shooting that always took place at Panshanger at Christmas. No. The only things that really seem to have impressed him were the exquisite little spruce firs that Princess Lieven set up on Christmas Day to amuse the Cowpers’ youngest children William, Charles and Frances. ‘Three trees in great pots’, he tells us, ‘were put upon a long table covered with pink linen; each tree was illuminated with three circular tiers of coloured wax candles – blue, green, red and white. Before each tree was displayed a quantity of toys, gloves, pocket handkerchiefs, workboxes, books and various other articles – presents made to the owner of the tree. It was very pretty’.

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Previous to the Christmas Tree in Germany it would appear that the tradition was to dress a branch or bough from a Yew (or should it be a Ewe) tree.

I’ve often wondered where the star or angel on the tree came from and it turns out that the angel is there to represent archangel Gabriel and the star is to represent the Star of Bethlehem.

It is believed that the use of evergreen trees, garlands and wreaths date back to Ancient Egyptians, Chinese and Hebrews and was seen as a sign of eternal life and certainly European pagans worshiped trees and in Scandinavia they used evergreens to scare away the devil and put up trees for the birds during Christmas Time.

During the 20th century almost every home in the UK has a Christmas Tree and in 1933 the government banned the importation of Christmas Trees and this resulted in a huge new business boom in growing Christmas Trees. By 2013 the number of trees grown in the Unitied Kingdom specifically for Christmas was estimated to be around 8 million.  It takes 7 to 10 years to grow a Christmas tree and most are now grown on specific Christmas Tree Farms

With Christmas trees in mind, share a picture of your tree with us using the #ewetree2016 and the best tree will WIN a £100 M&S voucher.  Closing date is Friday 30th of December.  Check out the entries so far below and good luck!

 

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