What drives the Christmas holiday spirit? Believe it or not, several studies have tried to find out. The answer varies with every person – some people make donations, others volunteer, and many are excited by the opportunity to see family that lives far away. But everybody loves a beautifully lit and decorated tree.
Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition as we now know it in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes, according to The History Channel. Long before the advent of Christianity, plants and trees that remained green all year had a special meaning for people in the winter. It was believed that evergreens would keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits, and illnesses.
German Christmas ornaments went viral in the 19th century. It started in the town of Lauscha in the mid-1800s. During Christmas, people hung fruit and nuts on their trees for decoration as a celebration of nature. However, back then money was tight, and it was considered wasteful to hang food that you could be eating. Lauscha was the epicenter of glass making, thanks to its natural environment with an abundance of wood and sand (the two main ingredients for glass-blowing), so Hans Greiner decided to make glass versions of the fruit and nuts and hang those on the tree instead.
Most 19th-century Americans found Christmas trees an oddity. The first record of one being displayed was in the 1830s by the German settlers of Pennsylvania. The beautiful tradition has grown all over the world.