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Top 10 Traditional Holiday Decor Items (and Where they Came From)

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Christmas Trees

Who can resist a Christmas tree? This beautiful bit of nature has become one of the most popular Christmas decorations.
Who can resist a Christmas tree? This beautiful bit of nature has become one of the most popular Christmas decorations.
Siri Stafford/Photodisc/Thinkstock

From Rockefeller Center in New York City to the White House Lawn, one of the most prominent décor items of the holiday season is the Christmas tree. The tree can be decorated in many ways, and the roots of this tradition are interesting.

Academics and religious historians suggest that decorated, candle-lit evergreen trees originated in Norse celebrations of the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. The décor was meant to hasten the end of winter, and candlelit trees brought hope to the long nights. The tree tradition was assimilated over time, first by Roman occupiers and then by early Christians, who adapted it to today's tradition of adding lights and decorations.

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