- Adding colours 5. Technical progress
- A craftsman’s present 6. Popular Christmas dishes
- The main tree of the country 7. An order to celebrate
- The legend of the Christmas tree 8. Decorating from top to bottom
A. There are several stories which tell us why people decorate Christmas trees at home. One of them is about Martin Luther, the founder of the protestant faith. While he was walking through a forest on a Christmas Eve, he looked up and was impressed by the beauty of stars that were shining through the tree branches. He cut down a small tree and took it home. There, he decorated the tree with candles as a present for his family.
B. The tradition of decorating a Christmas tree comes from Germany. Until the 17th century, people followed strict rules when they decorated their Christmas tree. Firstly, a star was fixed on the top. Then people hung apples on lower branches of the tree. Finally, they placed biscuits, gingerbread and sweets underneath. The Christmas tree in the fairy tale Nutcracker was decorated in exactly this way.
C. Later, the order of decorations lost its importance. The first decorations were all hand-made and good to eat but rather dull. To make the tree look brighter people wrapped nuts and gingerbread in metal foil and also made painted wooden toys. To illuminate the tree small candles were stuck to the branches. To protect the tree from fire, the candles were placed inside glass stands.
D. The Christmas tree tradition came to Russia with Peter the Great in the 18th century. He enjoyed the celebration tradition in Germany and issued a law according to which all the families had to decorate their houses with pine tree branches. It was also announced that people should have fun on that day. Peter the Great also decided to move the New Year date from 1st September to 1st January.
E. The most popular Christmas decoration was invented by a German glass-blower who made a ball and decorated it with angel figures and snowflakes. He gave it as a gift to his daughter. The girl decided to put the ball on the Christmas tree. It was so beautiful that the glass-blower made many more decorated balls. It is believed that this man started the tradition of decorating the tree with coloured glass balls.
F. In the 18th century, people started decorating Christmas trees with candles. Later, with the discovery of electricity, electric lights were put on Christmas trees. It was Edward Johnson, an assistant of Thomas Edison, who first used electric lights for Christmas tree decoration. People liked his idea. However, it took several years before the electric lights became available to the general public.
G. Nowadays Christmas trees are found everywhere – in houses, on the streets and squares. Most of them are artificial trees. However, in the centre of Moscow, in the Kremlin, you can always see a natural Christmas tree. The tree is carefully chosen in the forest – it should be tall and beautiful. Professional designers decorate it to create an unforgettable fairytale tree for thousands of children and their parents.