National Arboretum Canberra

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Why a pine tree for Christmas?

The traditional Christmas tree developed in early modern Germany. Traditionally decorated with edibles such as apples, nuts, or other foods, the apples were replaced by round objects such as shiny red balls and in the 18th century, it began to be illuminated by candles.

The Christmas tree custom spread throughout Europe in the 19th Century. After Queen Victoria's marriage to her German cousin Prince Albert, the custom became even more widespreadas wealthier middle-class families followed the now-royal fashion. By 1841, the Christmas tree was fashionable throughout Britain and its colonies.

The use of candles on the Christmas tree was ultimately replaced by Christmas lights after the advent of electrification. Today, a wide variety of traditional ornaments are still used, such as garland, tinsel, and candy canes. An angel or star might be placed at the top of the tree to represent the archangelGabriel or the Star of Bethlehem from the Nativity.

View more information about Christmas trees.

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