The tradition of the Christmas tree originated in Germany in the 16th century, when trees were brought into homes to be decorated. The first person to decorate the Christmas tree with lighted candles is believed to be Martin Luther. Evergreens had been a symbol of life in several ancient religions, such as the Druids.
The first recorded public Christmas tree in the United States was displayed in the 1830s, although German settlers had been displaying trees since the 1700s. However, many colonial Americans viewed the Christmas tree as a pagan symbol. The Puritans outlawed any observance of Christmas other than a mass, and having decorations could be punishable by death. This began to change in the 19th century with the arrival of larger groups of German immigrants. A sketch of Queen Victoria's family around a Christmas tree also had some influence in increasing its popularity.