x
Breaking News
More () »

When did we start decorating trees for Christmas?

A brief history of the Christmas ornament.

NORFOLK, Va. — Whatever you celebrate in December, it probably has some tradition behind it.

One of the most well-known traditions during Christmas is decorating the tree. How did that start? Why do we do it?

The modern Christmas tree tradition is believed to have started in 16th century Germany; small evergreen trees were decorated with things like candles, apples, and berries.

They were called “Paradise trees” in church plays.

The trees eventually made their way into the homes of devout Christians, a tradition that spread across Europe. It’s believed to have first shown up in America around the 18th or 19th century.

As time went on, ornaments became more artful and we started seeing tinsel and silk and hand-blown glass bulbs. It then launched into a commercial industry of its own, shedding most of its religious significance by the mid-20th century.

And today, there’s an ornament for pretty much anything you can think of!

RELATED: VERIFY: Orange peels and cinnamon can keep pets from Christmas trees

RELATED: That 'walnut' on your Christmas tree could harbor praying mantis eggs