Christmas trees were first used in the 1500s in Germany. The tradition of using evergreen trees as decorations for the Christmas holidays continued to gain in popularity through the 17th and 18th centuries in the Christian countries of the world.
Before evergreen trees were used as a symbol of Christmas, they were used by Egyptians and Romans to celebrate the winter solstice. They believed that winter came because the Gods got sick, and that the winter solstice represented the Gods getting well again as the days began to get longer. Evergreen trees reminded them of the green plants that would grow when summer came again.
Evergreen trees were first used to celebrate Christmas by Christians in Germany. Martin Luther, the Protestant reformer, is credited with the idea of adding candles to the trees.
In England, Christmas trees gained in popularity quickly in the 1800s when the royal family was depicted around a Christmas tree. This depiction led to their rise in popularity in the United States as well. These trees were mainly decorated with homemade ornaments, strings of popcorn and, once electricity became widely available, Christmas lights.
Traditions for Christmas trees vary throughout the world, but most European countries and many Latin American ones use Christmas trees to celebrate the Christmas holidays.