Legend suggests that, in the late 16th century, Martin Luther (the founder of the Protestant religion) was the first to decorate an indoor tree with candles when he attempted to recreate the stars shining over a forest of evergreens.
The first mention of decorated trees being taken indoors came in 1605 in Germany - a country with a long Christmas tree history! The trees were initially decorated with fruit and sweets together with hand made objects such as quilled snowflakes and stars. German Christmas Markets began to sell shaped gingerbreads and wax ornaments which people bought as souvenirs of the fair and took home to hang on their tree.
Tinsel was also invented in Germany in about 1610. Up until fairly recently real silver was used, which was pulled into wafer thin strips by special machines. This was durable but tarnished quickly and many experiments took place to try and find an alternative - including a mix of lead and tin, which was too heavy and kept breaking. It was only in the mid 20th century that a viable alternative was found.
Artificial trees were invented in the 1880's in a bid to try and stop some of the damage being caused to real trees due to people lopping the tip off large trees, thus preventing the trees from growing any further. It got so bad in Germany that laws had to be brought in to prevent people having more than one tree.
圣诞树一致是庆祝圣诞节不可少的装饰物 ，如果家中没有圣诞树 ，就大大减少了过节气氛 。关于圣诞树的来源有多种不同的传说 。
其中一个是说：大约在十六世纪 ，圣诞树最先出现在德国 ，德国人把长青的松柏枝拿到屋中去摆设 ，将之成为圣诞树 。后来 ，由德国人马丁路德把蜡烛放在树林中的枞树枝上 ，然后点燃蜡烛 ，使它看起来像是引导人们到伯利恒去 。而近今日 ，人们已经改用粉色的小灯泡了 。
另一个传说记载 。据说有一位农民在一个风雪交加的圣诞夜里接待了一个饥寒交迫的小孩 ，让他吃了一顿丰盛的圣诞晚餐 ，这个孩子告别时折了一根杉树枝插在地上并祝福说：“年年此日 ，礼物满枝 ，留此美丽的杉村 ，报答你的好意 。”小孩走后 ，农民发现那树枝竟变成了一棵小树 ，他才明白自己接待的原来是一位上帝的使者 。这个故事就成为圣诞树的来源 。在西方 ，不论是否基督徒 ，过圣诞节时都要准备一棵圣诞树 ，以增加节日的欢乐气氛 。圣诞树一般是用杉柏之类的常绿树做成 ，象征生命长存 。树上装饰着各种灯烛、彩花、玩具、星星 ，挂上各种圣诞礼物 。圣诞之夜 ，人们围着圣诞树唱歌跳舞 ，尽情欢乐 。
圣诞树真正出现在圣诞节时 ，首先见于德国 ，之后又传入欧洲和美国 ，并以其优美的姿态 ，成为圣诞节不可缺少的装饰 。圣诞树的种类繁多 ，有天然松柏圣诞树、也有人造圣诞树及白色圣诞树 。每棵圣诞树上都挂满琳琅满目的装饰品 ，但每棵树的顶端必定有个特大的星星 ，象徵三博士跟随该星而找到耶稣 ，而且也只有该家庭的一家之主可以把这棵希望之星挂上 。