From “Christmas Trees” in Christmas: A Short History from Solstice to Santa by Andy Thomas:
“A good candidate for the first proper Christmas tree can be found in a German legend from the 1500s. A popular tale credits the reformer Martin Luther with the inspiration. Walking through frosty woods on Christmas Eve, he was so struck with the starlight glittering on icicle-hung tree branches that he brought one home to his family. He is also said to have been the first to light up a tree; inspired by the bright stars in the sky, he attached candles to the branches to remind them all of the heavens from where Jesus came. Even now, many trees are topped with a star or an angel (or a fairy for the more secular), making a clear link to the Nativity story….
“By the 1920s, trees were installed in most homes of many countries, candles turned to electric lights, and today Christmas just would not seem right without a tree somewhere. Glistening with enchanting colors, there is something truly transcendent about a well-dressed Christmas tree, pulling us into a different state of mind — out of darkness and into light.”
From “Christmas Day and Everyday” by George MacDonald in The Ultimate Christmas Collection:
‘Twixt the two
Wise men go;
Find the baby,
Grasp the star
Heirs of all things
Near and far!
From “Christmas Day” in Old Christmas by Washington Irving:
“The window of my chamber looked out upon what in summer would have been a beautiful landscape. There was a sloping lawn, a fine stream winding at the foot of it, and a tract of park beyond, with noble clumps of trees, and herds of deer. At a distance was a neat hamlet, with the smoke from the cottage chimneys hanging over it; and a church with its dark spire in strong relief against the clear cold sky….
“The house was surrounded with evergreens, according to the English custom, which would have given almost an appearance of summer; but the morning was extremely frosty; the light vapour of the preceding evening had been precipitated by the cold, and covered all the trees and every blade of grass with its fine crystallisations. The rays of a bright morning sun had a dazzling effect among the glittering foliage.”
Below I’ve accumulated all my photo galleries from this year’s “Days to Christmas” series. Click the links above each gallery if you would like to see the original posts and the quotations I selected to go with them.
Thanks for reading, and taking a look … and:
Ten Days to Christmas: Peace! and Birds! and Beasts!
Nine Days to Christmas: Silver and Gold
Eight Days to Christmas: Red and Green
Seven Days to Christmas: When Nature Does the Decorating
Six Days to Christmas: Angels and Nutcrackers and Wintry Blues
Five Days to Christmas: Yule Frogs!
Four Days to Christmas: Winter Solstice/Candle Night
Three Days to Christmas: Toys and Games
Two Days to Christmas: Santa Claus Rhapsody
One Day to Christmas: Happy Christmas Eve!