1. THE EARLY CHRISTIAN CHURCH DID NOT LIKE CHRISTMAS TREES.
Evergreen trees used to be seen as pagan symbols that had no place in a religious celebration. As far back as 1647, preacher Johann Conrad Dannhauer of the Strasbourg Cathedral criticized trees as “child’s play” that were getting more attention “than the word of God and the holy rites.” But as the tradition persisted, church leaders decided that if they couldn’t beat the decorated trees, they would adopt them as part of their own Christmas celebrations.
常青樹曾被視為異教徒的象徵，因而不在宗教慶祝活動中使用。 早在1647年，斯特拉斯堡大教堂的傳道士約翰·康拉德·丹豪爾批評聖誕樹是"兒童的遊戲"，得到的關注比"上帝之道和神聖儀式"還要多。 但是聖誕樹傳統一直長盛不衰，最後教會領袖決定，既然他們無法打敗這種裝飾過的樹木，索性將其納入聖誕慶祝活動中。
2. IN SOME HOMES, CHRISTMAS TREES WERE HUNG.
In southwest Germany during the 17th and 18th centuries, it was popular, particularly among the lower classes, to hang smaller trees from the ceiling or rafters. This allowed for a flashy display and kept the goodies in the tree out of the reach of children. Some families even hung the tree upside-down, since “pointing the root toward heaven was supposed to imbue the tree with divine powers,” according to Bernd Brunner, author of Inventing the Christmas Tree.
在17、18世紀的德國西南部，很多家庭，尤其是平民百姓家，喜歡把小聖誕樹掛在天花板上或房樑上。 這樣一來既可以展示漂亮的裝飾，也能讓孩子們夠不到聖誕樹里的糖果點心。 有些家庭甚至會把聖誕樹倒著掛，據《發明聖誕樹》的作者貝恩特·布魯納說，這樣做是因為"樹根朝向天堂會賦予樹神聖的力量"。
3. A PRINCE IS CREDITED WITH POPULARIZING CHRISTMAS TREES IN AMERICA.
Britain’s Prince Albert is credited with helping bring the Christmas tree from his native Germany to the English-speaking world, making it a well-publicized tradition in the royal household of his wife, Queen Victoria. Godey’s Lady’s Book editor Sarah Josepha Hale—one of the main advocates for a national Thanksgiving holiday—played an important role in promoting Christmas trees in the US when her magazine published an illustration of the British royal family with their tree in 1850. She edited out Victoria’s crown jewels, Albert’s mustache and sash, and any reference to the family's identity, transforming the picture from a piece of royal marketing to a paragon of middle-class, American, Christmas celebration.
英國維多利亞女王的丈夫阿爾伯特親王將聖誕樹從他的祖國德國帶到英語國家，並使其成為英國王室家庭里的一項廣為人知的傳統。 《戈迪女士手冊》雜誌主編莎拉·約瑟法·哈勒為聖誕樹在美國流行開來發揮了重要作用，她也是促使感恩節成為全國性節日的主要宣導者之一。 當時哈勒的雜誌上發表了一張描繪1850年英國王室家庭和聖誕樹的插圖。 哈勒把維多利亞女王的王冠、阿爾伯特的鬍子和肩帶，以及任何會暴露王室身份的細節都去掉了，把王室宣傳圖改造成了美國中產階級慶祝耶誕節的完美畫面。
4. THE FIRST CHRISTMAS TREE MARKET LAUNCHED IN 1851.
One thing slowing the adoption of Christmas trees was the burden most families faced of having to find and chop down their own trees. That began to change in 1851, when a logger from New York’s Catskill Mountains loaded dozens of fir and spruce trees from his land and hauled them down to New York City’s Washington Market. The harvested trees, ready to set in a living room and decorate, sold out fast and kicked off the practice of Christmas tree farms, which proliferated throughout the country.
過去聖誕樹在美國的接受度不太高，因為多數家庭不得不自己去尋找和砍伐聖誕樹。 1851年這種情況開始改變了，當時紐約州卡茨基爾山上的一個樵夫從自己的土地上砍了數十棵冷杉和雲杉樹拉到紐約市華盛頓市場上去賣，供人們放在客廳里自行裝飾。 這些樹很快就賣光了，自此聖誕樹林場開始興起，後來遍布美國各地。
5. CHRISTMAS TREES CAN BE EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.
From their earliest days, Christmas trees have been fire hazards. Before electric lights were introduced, many families set open candles on their trees to illuminate them, which meant that each Christmas morning, the newspapers included stories of homes going up in flames when the branches ignited. Even when families abandoned the obvious hazard of open flames on the trees, the conifers could still cause major trouble once they dried out. In Philadelphia in 1878, Christmas trees caused two fires on the same street, first when a gas jet ignited a tree in a brownstone, then later that day when a dressmaker’s in-store tree went up. Today, trees can still pose a hazard if they are allowed to dry out.
打從一開始，聖誕樹就一直是火災隱患。 在引進電燈以前，許多家庭都是把蠟燭放在聖誕樹上點亮，這意味著每個耶誕節早晨，報紙上都會有因聖誕樹枝被點燃而導致家中起火的新聞。 即使人們不在聖誕樹上放點燃的蠟燭，針葉樹在乾枯後仍然會引發大麻煩。 在1878年的費城，聖誕樹曾在同一條街上引發了兩場火災，先是一盞煤氣燈點燃了一幢褐色砂石房屋內的一棵聖誕樹，晚些時候一家裁縫店內的聖誕樹又著火了。 時至今日，如果放任聖誕樹不管讓其幹掉，依然可能引發火災。
6. GIFTS USED TO GO IN THE TREE, NOT UNDER IT.
In its first decades in the US, Christmas trees held gifts in their branches more often than under them. Typical 19th-century reports describe a “monster Christmas tree despoiled of its pendent treasures of candy, dolls, and toys of all descriptions” and a “mammoth Christmas-tree whose branches hung heavy with Christmas toys and presents for the little ones”. Often these gifts included fruit, cakes, and candy that children would just pluck directly from the tree and enjoy.
在聖誕樹剛被引進美國的那幾十年，人們往往是在聖誕樹枝上掛禮物而不是把禮物放在樹下。 19世紀的典型報導中是這樣描述的：「巨大聖誕樹上掛的各色糖果、娃娃、玩具等寶貝被一搶而空」或者「超大聖誕樹的枝頭沉甸甸地掛著給小朋友準備的聖誕玩具和禮物」。 這些禮物通常包括水果、蛋糕和糖果，孩子們可以直接從聖誕樹上摘下來享用。