The Christmas tree is another example of the Christianization of pagan or secular traditions that celebrate the Winter Solstice. Christmas trees are evergreen, remaining green all year round. Evergreens have always been important during winter solstice because they reminded people that things were not all dead, and that Spring would come again.
Many cultures in many different lands used evergreens to decorate during the wintertime. Some of those were Egyptians, Romans, Druids, and Vikings. Our modern tradition can be traced back to 1570 Germany, when a small fir was decorated with apples, nuts, dates, pretzels and paper flowers. Children would collect the treats on Christmas day.
I've never had a real Christmas tree at home. I look forward to the day when we can go out and find one on our land and bring it home. But for now, we're happy with our cheap, Wal*Mart pre-lit tree. To me, it's still just as pretty and more friendly to the environment. I can't help but think about all those poor trees that are destroyed for a couple of weeks of enjoyment.