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The history of the Christmas tree

Why do people decorate trees at Christmas? Learn about the history of the Christmas tree.

As it is Christmas, here in Cambridge we have been reading about some of the Christmas traditions that some of the students have noticed while staying with their host families. In many homes people have Christmas trees that they decorate, but why do they do this?

Read the article below and complete the sentences using no more than one word:

The evergreen fir tree has traditionally been used to celebrate winter festivals for thousands of years but nobody is sure when fir trees were first used as Christmas trees. It probably began about 1000 years ago, in Northern Europe, when trees were put into pots and brought inside, hoping they would flower in time for Christmas. In Germany, Christmas trees were originally covered with edible things such as gingerbread biscuits and decorated apples. Then, glass makers began making small ornaments, very similar to some of the decorations that we use today. The first Christmas trees came to the UK sometime in the 1830s. They became very popular in 1841, when Prince Albert (Queen Victoria's German husband) had a Christmas tree put up in Windsor Castle. It was decorated with candles and this then became very fashionable in many homes. Because of the danger of fire caused the use of candles, Ralph Morris invented the first electric Christmas tree lights. Artificial, rather than real, Christmas trees really started becoming popular in the early 20th century. Christmas trees made from colored ostrich feathers were popular at fashionable parties and there was even a fashion for white Christmas trees. Over the years artificial trees have been made from feathers, papier mâché, metal, glass, and plastic.

  1. No one is ________ when fir trees were originally used.
  2. People ________ that trees brought inside would flower.
  3. Edible things ________ biscuits and apples were put on trees.
  4. The popularity of trees in the UK was ________ to Prince Albert.
  5. The ________ of the first electric light helped prevent candle fires.
  6. Artificial trees have been made from many ________ materials.
The history of the Christmas tree

Answers

  1. No one is SURE when fir trees were originally used.
  2. People HOPED that trees brought inside would flower.
  3. Edible things LIKE biscuits and apples were put on trees.
  4. The popularity of trees in the UK was DUE to Prince Albert.
  5. The INVENTION of the first electric light helped prevent candle fires.
  6. Artificial trees have been made from many DIFFERENT materials.

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