Back in the 7th century a monk from Crediton, Devonshire, traveled to Germany to spread the Word of God. Much of his time was spent in a place called Thuringia, which was to go on to become one of the most important centers of the Christmas decoration industry.
In order to describe God's Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost to the German people, he used the triangular shaped Fir tree. Soon the German people linked the Fir tree to God and started worshipping it as “ God's Tree” Over the next couple of centuries the tree came to be indelibly linked with Christianity and when hung upside down became its most binding symbol.
In the town square of the city of Riga, Latvia there's a plaque that proudly proclaims in eight different languages "The First New Years Tree in Riga in 1510". The city's claim to fame is that it's considered the home of the first Christmas tree. In the 17 th century, Johann Konrad Dannerhauer, a priest from Strasbourg said that the custom distracted people from God's true teachings. The custom had become very popular in upper Rhineland by the 18 th century.
Christmas Trees in England
Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the German queen who was married to King George III is credited for having introduced the Christmas tree to Britain, but its reach as limited to the Royal Family. Queen Victoria, was however privy to the custom as a young girl, and thus recorded in her journal in 1832-:"After dinner...we then went into the drawing-room near the dining-room...There were two large round tables on which were placed two trees hung with lights and sugar ornaments. All the presents being placed round the trees...".
The custom became more prominent after Queen Victoria's wedding to Prince Albert. Prince Albert wrote in 1847; "I must now seek in the children an echo of what Ernest [his brother] and I were in the old time, of what we felt and thought; and their delight in the Christmas-trees is not less than ours used to be".
Prince Albert was known for his generosity and in keeping with that was known to have donated Christmas trees to schools, hospitals and army barracks during Christmas. The English magazines illustrated portraits of the Royal Family at Osborne House with their Christmas tree
Christmas Tree in America
In the United States, there's much debate about who introduced the first Christmas tree to America. Windsor Locks in Connecticut proclaims that in 1777 a Hessian soldier imprisoned in the Noden-Reed House put up a Christmas tree there. They thus claim to be the home of the first Christmas tree in New England. Easton in Pennsylvania claim that German settlers in 1816 set up ‘The First Christmas Tree in America' there. Each year in Washington D.C., south of the White House, The United States' National Christmas Tree is lit. At the White House, the lighting of the National Christmas Tree has gone on to become a major holiday event. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter, in honor of the Americans being held hostage in Iran, lit only the star crowning the top of the Christmas tree. In 1980, the National Christmas tree was only fully lit for 417 seconds, one second for each day the hostages had been in captivity.