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Before You Take It Down: How Did the Christmas Tree Become a Tradition in the US

Christmas trees seem so commonplace now, but it wasn't always that way.

Every year, millions of us chop down, buy, and put up a Christmas Tree to celebrate the holidays.  Most of us probably don't know why we do it.  It's just tradition.  But, do you know the history of the Christmas tree?

Well, according to the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York, the Christmas tree tradition likely comes from 16th Century Germany. So the tale goes...a preacher walking through the forest saw the shining stars through the evergreen branches. He declared that it reminded him of Jesus, who left the stars of Heaven to come to Earth at Christmas.

But it wasn't until the early 1800's when the Christmas tree tradition migrated to England, and then to the United States. Christmas tree lights were added in 1895, an invention by American Ralph Morris. 

"Thank you, Mr. Morris. Excellent addition."

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And of course, there are Christmas tree farms! The first farm was in Trenton, New Jersey, where 25,000 Norway Spruces were planted and sold seven years later for $1 a piece!  A whopping 27.4 million trees were sold, that comes to more than $2 billion dollars. (WHEN?)

Trees cost a bit more than that today. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, the average cost of a real tree in 2016 was about $74.70.  

Watch this video for more details about the Christmas tree tradition and for a round-up of the most unusual trees!

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