The holiday season is littered with traditions. From shopping and gift-giving to decorating, the Holidays are filled with the spirit of family and togetherness. Since traditions are the name of the game, let’s explore a little bit of the reasoning behind a holiday staple–the Christmas tree–and uncover some of the traditions that the Kraemer family recognizes each season:
A Little History Behind the Tree
Different civilizations around the world have used evergreen trees to celebrate Winter festivals or the winter solstice for thousands of years. It is hard to pinpoint exactly when the tree first became popular, but according to whychristmas.com, this tradition started to show up in Northern Europe close to 1000 years ago. In the Christian tradition, the tree was used to represent everlasting life, since early calendars celebrated December 24th as “Adam and Eve Day”. The trees were then known as “Paradise Trees” and were used to tell Bible stories to those who could not read. Sometimes they weren’t even real trees! Often, pyramid-shaped boxes were decorated with pictures of the nativity, the story of Adam and Eve, or other Biblical stories.
Out of the first Christmas trees came the many different traditions that we know and love today. Germans would often add a figure of baby Jesus on top of the tree, but figures of Angels and stars are more popular today. The star or angel on top of the tree was used to represent the star that the wise men followed or the angel that appeared to Mary. Presents being placed under the tree are meant to represent the gifts that were presented to Jesus at his birth.
Some traditions have changed over time due to technology (or sheer common sense). For example, before Christmas lights, people used to burn candles on their trees. Thankfully, we now use flashy garland, tinsel, and Christmas lights to give light and sparkle to our trees while keeping our houses from burning down.
The Kraemer family has celebrated Christmas in Minnesota since the early 20th century. There have been many great moments in the Kraemer Christmas tradition. Somewhere around 1968, Grandma and Grandpa Kraemer left the boys at home to attend a Christmas party. The boys were left in charge of setting up the tree and decided it would be funny to hang it from the ceiling!
Thankfully, this tradition did not catch on in the Kraemer house. Each year, the family does make a tradition of visiting Jan’s Tree Farm to cut the annual Christmas tree on the weekend of Thanksgiving.
No matter what your holiday tradition is, we hope that you and your family have a happy holiday season!