French people will tell you that the custom of having a tree, originated in Alsace near the German border, in the early years of the 16thcentury, but why and how, they cannot say. British people should know from their ‘Ladybird book of Christmas Customs’ that the inspiration came from St. Boniface, missionary to pagan Germany. One day, he was travelling through a dark forest when he came across a group of druids preparing to sacrifice a child under a sacred oak. Boniface interrupted the ceremony just in time, and told them the gospel – that it is faith in Jesus Christ that saves us. The pagans believed the message, so he called for an axe with which to cut down the tree. As it fell, it revealed a small pine tree that had been growing amongst the roots. He told the gathering to take the pine tree as their new symbol. Its evergreen leaves would remind them of the eternal life they had gained. The branches pointed upwards to the true God in heaven. The custom of having Christmas trees started in Germany and spread though France via the protestants in the Alsace region. Prince Albert, being German, introduced the Christmas tree to his wife, Queen Victoria, and soon every British family had a conifer in their homes in late December. I would say that the tradition of Christmas trees was not French  but crossed the border from Germany.

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