(WHTM) – The history of Christmas trees dates back to the times of ancient Egypt, but the modern tradition was started in 16th century Germany.
Christians in Germany placed wood pyramids inside their homes and adorned them with evergreens and candles. When German settlers made their way to Pennsylvania they brought the tradition with them.
According to History.com, the German settlers began putting up community trees in Pennsylvania in 1747, but the first recorded Christmas tree display was in the 1830s. Still, many Americans didn’t accept the tradition until after the 1840s because they saw the trees as a pagan symbol.
Queen Victoria helped popularize Christmas trees when a drawing of her and her family gathered around a decorated tree was published in the London News in 1846. Those on the East Coast of America followed the British with the latest “fad” of putting up Christmas trees.
Ornaments became popularized in America in the 1890s and Americans started to favor tall Christmas trees that touched the ceilings of their homes and buildings.
In the early 20th century most Americans had begun making their own decorations for their trees. German-Americans like those settled in Pennsylvania stuck to their traditions of using apples, nuts and marzipan cookies, according to History.com.
Later once electricity was invented string lights led to more grand, bright and less fire-prone Christmas tree displays. They were a safer alternative to the traditional method of placing candles on the tree’s branches.
Christmas trees continued to become more popular inside people’s homes. Community displays also reached new heights that the German settlers who put up the first tree display in Pennsylvania couldn’t have imagined.
New York City, the most populated city in the United States, now showcases an iconic, larger-than-life Christmas tree every year at the Rockefeller Center. The symbolic Christmas tradition dates back to 1931.
Many other cities and towns across the country have community Christmas trees coupled with tree-lighting ceremonies to mark the start of the holiday season.
Pennsylvania has kept its connection to Christmas trees. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, Pennsylvania is one of the top states for Christmas tree production.
Pennsylvania ranks second for the state that has supplied the most Official White House Christmas Trees in history with keystone state trees having been used 11 times. The official 2022 White House Christmas Tree was grown by Evergreen Acres Christmas Tree Farm in Auburn, Pennsylvania, which was crowned the 2022 Grand Champion Grower in the National Christmas Tree Association’s annual competition.
Thanks for signing up!
Watch for us in your inbox.
This Week in Pennsylvania
The “Christmas Tree Capital of the World” is also located in the Keystone State in Indiana County.
The Carnegie Museum of National History cites that Indiana County, Pennsylvania earned the title when about 700,000 trees were cut there in 1956.