Even before Christianity, trees and plants that remained green year-round held a special meaning for people in the winter. Back then, people would hang evergreen boughs over their doors and windows, as some countries believed that the evergreens would keep away ghosts, witches, illness, and evil spirits.
Germany was the first country to start the Christmas tree tradition, and many believe Martin Luther had something to do with adding the very first lighted candle to a tree. Rumor has it, he was walking home one winter night when he was awed by the sight of stars twinkling amidst a forest of evergreens. To recapture the feeling, Luther placed a tree in the main room of his house and decorated its branches with lighted candles (we wouldn’t recommend trying this at home!).
The very first time a Christmas tree appeared in someone’s home in the U.S. was in the 1830s by the German settlers of Pennsylvania. It took years for the concept to “stick,” but once it did, there was no looking back. In 1931, Rockefeller Center in New York City debuted its first small, frail tree — nothing compared to what we’re used to seeing nowadays — and the tradition has lived on ever since.
From lit candles to garland, we’ve seen the Christmas tree decorated almost every way imaginable — which is why these next trees took us by surprise. Turns out, you don’t need a big, traditional green spruce or fir tree in your living room, adorned with colorful lights and ornaments. (After all, they’re hard to care for and a bit messy when it’s time to clean up!). These out-of-the-box ideas for nontraditional Christmas trees are stunning and unique, and they still add plenty of gorgeous holiday spirt to your home — just the way Luther would have wanted it, right?
Watch the video below to see 15 out-of-the-box Christmas tree ideas.