Meaning of the Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree is a pine tree decorated with ornaments and lights, which symbolizes the eternal love of God and the birth of Jesus Christ, considered the “tree of life”.

The meaning of the Christmas tree was attributed by Saint Boniface around the 8th century, who chose the pine tree for its evergreen leaves (because they live both in winter and in summer).

Christmas tree

Since then, It is a decorative element of great symbolism for the celebration of Easternext to the manger, crib or birth.

The Christmas tree also remembers the paradise tree from which Adam and Eve ate, introducing original sin. On the other, it announces the Messiah, true tree of life that erases sin and brings reconciliation. Thus, this Christian symbol links the Old Testament with the New Testament.

Meaning of the elements of the Christmas tree

Christmas tree

From left to right, top: star, angel, balls, lights. Below: Christmas tree with tinsel, pinecones, various decorations, gifts at the foot of the tree.

The decorative elements of the Christmas tree are usually: a star or angel; colored balls and lights. Other elements are foam, garlands and bows, and various decorations. Christmas gifts are usually left at the foot of the tree. Each of these elements has its own meaning.

  • Star: it symbolizes the star of Bethlehem, the guiding star of the three wise men until Jesus Christ; stands at the top of the tree.
  • Angel: sometimes the star of Bethlehem is replaced by a richly dressed angel. This represents the angel Gabriel announcing the birth of the Messiah.
  • Lights: they are the representation of the light that Jesus Christ brought to the world with his coming. In other words, they refer to the mystery of Christmas Eve, when Jesus Christ arrives in the world bringing the light of a new hope.
  • Color balls: they represent the gifts that God gave to men; It is said that initially it had been decorated with apples, as a symbol of the temptations that Christ came to redeem us.
  • Bows and tinsel: symbols of family togetherness and joy.
  • Pineapples: They are the fruits of the Christmas tree.
  • Assorted decorations: They serve a decorative function. However, as they are freely chosen, people can attribute a particular meaning to them. Bells, glass tears, flowers, soldiers, toys, stuffed animals, candy canes, family photos, etc. can be used.
  • Christmas presents: the gifts at the foot of the tree have a deep Christian meaning. Remember that all the goods that human beings receive come from Jesus Christ, the tree of life.
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The green color of the tree is a symbol of life and hope, while the tip of the tree points to heavenly heights.

At present, the Christmas tree can be natural (a pine or a fir), or artificial. Artificial pines are usually made of plastic or synthetic materials that emulate a real tree.

history of the christmas tree

The origin of the Christmas tree dates back to the Middle Ages. Indeed, it is considered that it results from an adaptation of the tree of life or tree of the universe, called Yggdrasil, typical of Norse mythology. The Yggdrasil was represented by an ash tree.

This symbol was used to celebrate the birth of the god of the Sun and fertility, known as Frey, on dates close to our current Christmas.

During the evangelization of Germany, in the eighth century, Saint Boniface thought of a way to direct the faith of the pagans towards the Christian God. Instead of banishing the practices, he chose to modify and redefine the Yggdrasil symbol.

So Saint Boniface cut down an ash tree and planted an evergreen pine in its place as a symbol of God’s everlasting love. Then he decorated it with apples, representing original sin, and candles, a symbol of the light of Christ.

However, the tradition took a long time to spread. For example, in Germany it was only made an established custom since the 17th century. While in countries like England and Spain it only arrived in the 19th century.

Over time, the apples and candles would transform into balls and lights, just like our Christmas tree today.

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