a single evergreen sapling

“Helga Ancher Sitting by the Christmas Tree”
by Anna Ancher

Even though the use of evergreens dates back to the Greeks and Romans, the use of the holiday tree is said to have originated in the eighth century Germany. Legend has it that the Christian St. Boniface was trying to convert a group of Druids. Try as he might, though, he couldn’t convince them that the oak tree was neither sacred nor invincible. In desperation, he finally cut one down. When the tree fell, it crushed everything in its path but a single evergreen sapling. Boniface declared it a miracle, then proclaimed that the fir tree belonged to the Christ-child. After that, trees were brought into homes as holiday decorations. It wasn’t until the sixteenth century, however, that the Germans thought to decorate the branches. Some historians say that the first ornaments — fruit, nuts, and cookies — were used as offerings to thank the spirit of the tree.
~ Dorothy Morrison
(Yule: A Celebration of Light & Warmth)

16 thoughts on “a single evergreen sapling”

  1. Good to know! We often do things as a tradition and without knowing the origin of the concept. How are you dear Barbara? Nice to read from you. Seems like everyone in the blogging world has slowed down. I am in Germany. The Christmas spirit has set in. It feels like a wonderland. 😀

    1. I am doing well, my friend! I have heard about the enchanting Christmas markets in Germany and other European countries – wish we had something like them here! It’s interesting learning where our traditions originated – festivals of light seem to be worldwide. Perhaps the blogging world slows down when folks are so busy getting ready for the holidays. 🙂

    1. I suppose if folks could eat the tree decorations there would be no need to find a place to store them until the next year. 🙂

        1. Where did you get the adorable little ant emoticon? Pesky ants – I wonder if that’s why we never strung popcorn when I was a child…

  2. I am inspired to begin decorating for Christmas today. I am putting a row of nutcrackers on a shelf in our living room. We will have a big tree, put up very near to Christmas and a few wreaths. Thanks for the words on the origin of the tradition!

    1. We usually put up our tree the day after Thanksgiving but this year we will be away early in December so we won’t put it up until we get back. It feels strange not having it in the room with me now. I’ve been collecting snow men and Santas and group them on a shelf, too. Last year I found a white owl tree topper – can’t wait to put it up again! 🙂

  3. I’m with Sonali. We do seem to slowing down in the blogging world.
    Isn’t it interesting we think it’s OK to make things up to bring people to “the truth”?

    Love the image and learned something from the telling …

    1. We humans tend to be a credulous bunch, aren’t we? Perhaps the blogging world is slowing down under the weight of the tangerine nightmare assembling his administration – I know the reality of it is dragging me down…

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