The tradition of the Christmas tree dates back several centuries, and different sources relate its origins.
In Canada, it was introduced toward the end of the 18th century, even before it became a tradition in England. Christmas tree ornaments were initially made at home and later produced industrially. Originally, trees were lit with small candles. .
At the beginning of the 20sth century, these were replaced by electric light 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. Besides, 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.
Trees are the lungs of the earth. Each hectare of Christmas trees produces enough oxygen to meet the needs of 40 to 45 people. The air we breathe is filtered by these trees, which during their lifetime can absorb up to 32 tons of pollutants such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and ethylene. (Ref.: agri réseau) In Canada, over 40,000 hectares are devoted to Christmas tree production.
In the United States, some 500,000 hectares are devoted to it. Christmas tree plantations produce oxygen and filter air for 2 million people.