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Like most folk traditions, the origins of the annual ritual of trimming the Christmas tree are vague, and draw from many old stories. Most agree that the cutting of a fir tree and decorating it as a holiday tradition was pretty well established in Northern Europe by the 17th Century.

Tinsel was invented in Germany around 1610. At that time real silver was used, and machines were invented which pulled the silver out into the wafer thin strips for tinsel. Some families (including, they say, Mrtin Luther) attached small candles to the ends of tree branches with wax or pins.

Families would make their own decorations from wood, wicker, or other crafty supplies. The Brits are credited with starting the trend of glass bobbles.

Queen Victoria of Britain used a Christmas Tree as part of the Royal Family's celebration of the holiday in honor of her German-born husband, Prince Albert in 1840. I wonder if the Victorians had as much fun as we do today? History has a way of remembering the Victorians as dull and prudish...but who knows... maybe they had just as much zest in trimming their trees.

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