The history of the Christmas tree

Abby Hornacek details where the beloved Christmas tradition came from

No Christmas is complete without a Christmas tree, perched in the living room and adorned with twinkling lights and ornaments. In Fox Nation’s "The History of the Christmas Tree," Abby Hornacek explores the history and tradition of choosing and decorating this beloved holiday decoration. 

"Christmas is a time of joy, family, festivities, fun — not to mention traditions," Hornacek said in the special. "One of those traditions serves as a staple in many of our homes, illuminated with a string of lights, sporting a collection of ornaments." 

While the tradition might feel uniquely American, it began in the 16th century in Germany when Christians started bringing evergreens into their houses, Hornacek said. 

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Hornacek relayed a story of Martin Luther, who allegedly was awed by the beauty of the stars above the evergreens one evening, and tried to recreate the vision for his family at home. 

In America, the first record of a Christmas tree was German settlers in Pennsylvania in 1830, but there were community Christmas trees as early as 1747.

Many Americans were slow to accept the tradition, as Christmas trees were seen as a pagan symbol. 

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What really spurred the tradition, Hornacek said, was in 1846 when Queen Elizabeth was illustrated next to a Christmas tree with her family. 

"By the 1890s, Christmas trees saw a growing popularity in the U.S.," she said. 

Natalie Riessen, the owner of Covered Bridge Ranch in Colorado, joined the special to discuss the history of Christmas trees and how to choose the perfect one for any home. 

"We sell the Christmas experience," Riessen said of her family-owned Christmas tree farm, noting that selecting a Christmas tree is a personal experience, and each family might be looking for something different. 

To watch the full special "The History of the Christmas Tree" and hear Riessen’s tips for finding the perfect tree for any home, sign up to Fox Nation

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