Christmas tree

Theory of Christmas Tree Tradition

Dan Forestry, This Land of Ours

Christmas tree

How did the tradition of the Christmas tree get started? Gary Crawford has one of several possible theories coming up on This Land of Ours.

No one knows for sure exactly how the tradition of decorating an Evergreen tree for the holidays got started, but one story is called “The Blessing of the Fir Tree.”

Agriculture Department history researcher Anne Effland says this goes back to the early seven hundred years in Germany where Pagan druid tribes, who believed trees had spirits, would decorate oak trees.


“And when St. Boniface was converting those tribes, he felled an oak tree to prove that it didn’t have a spirit in it. And in the process, it knocked over all of the trees in its path, except for a small fir tree which survived,” she said. “The legend is that he blessed that fir tree as a special symbol of God’s blessing because it survived the fall of the oak, and from then on this Christmas tree has been associated with Christian spirituality.”

And also has flourished into a major farm business. This year, Americans are expected to spend over a billion dollars to buy 20 million real Christmas trees.

Gary Crawford for the US Department of Agriculture.

Theory of Christmas Tree Tradition

Sabrina Halvorson
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.

Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.