The tradition of the Christmas tree dates back several centuries.
For thousands of years, ancient pagans decorated their homes with branches in winter, to remind them of the coming spring. The Romans decorated their temples with fir trees during the festival of Saturnalia, and in medieval Europe Christians continued this tradition with trees brought into the home—most commonly in the Baltic states and Germany.
In Canada, the Christmas tree was introduced toward the end of the 18th century, even before it became a tradition in England. The custom became widespread during the 19th century, when the German husband of Queen Victoria had a Christmas tree set up in Windsor Castle. By the second half of the century the Christmas tree had become a regular feature of the season.
Christmas tree ornaments were initially made at home but later they were produced industrially. Originally, trees were lit with small candles. .
At the beginning of the 20th century, however these were replaced by electric bulbs. Other variations, such as outdoor Christmas trees and artificial trees, appeared at around the same time. (According to Wikipédia.fr)
According to the David Suzuki Foundation, real trees are a better choice than artificial trees:
Speaking of trees, I'm often asked whether an artificial or a real tree is better. A lifecycle study conducted by ellipsos Inc., a sustainable development research firm, shows that real trees are better for the environment than artificial trees.
Artificial trees can't be recycled, reused or composted. The PVCs and lead they contain stay in landfills for several generations. Plus the Christmas tree industry creates thousands of jobs in rural areas in Quebec and the rest of Canada and markets a magnificent product that is part of our heritage.
In addition, trees are the lungs of the earth. Each hectare of Christmas trees produces enough oxygen for 40 to 45 people. They also filter the air we breathe, with a single tree absorbing up to 32 tons of pollutants such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and ethylene during its lifetime. (Ref.: agri réseau) In Canada, over 40,000 hectares are devoted to Christmas tree production ; in the United States, 500,000 hectares. That's enough to produce oxygen and filtered air for over two million people across the continent!