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The Christmas Tree

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The Christmas tree has long traditions that go back to the Middle Ages. Although a specific date or area cannot be pinpointed, a lot of written evidence remains from Germany in the sixteenth century. Scholars believe the tree originated somewhere in Germanic lands. The tree likely appealed to the medieval people because it remained green even in the middle of winter.

In Britain, the tradition of a Christmas tree began in the early 1800s with the royal family, as they had German roots. In the US, folklore states that a captured German soldier during the Revolutionary War erected the first Christmas tree.

Whatever the origins, the tree has come to symbolize the holiday. Its iconic image is recognized all over the world, even among people without any Christmas tradition whatsoever.


Preview the lesson material:

Warm Up: Brainstorm words and ideas associated with "Christmas trees."

Comprehension Questions: Answer the questions before/after your read the article.

  1. What cannot be said about Christmas trees?
               a. They definitely come from Germany.
               b. The tree is appealing because it's always green.
               c. The British royal family popularized the tree.
               d. Everyone around the world connects the Christmas tree with Christmas.
  2. What is the best title for the article?
               a. "Early History of the Christmas Tree"
               b. "Where Did the Christmas Tree Come From?"
               c. "Background on a Christmas Icon"
               d. none of the above

Discuss: Discuss these questions with a partner. Remember to support your answers.

  1. Are Christmas trees popular in your home country?
  2. How are Christmas trees usually decorated in your home country? Please explain.
  3. Which do you think is better, a real Christmas tree or a plastic one? Why?

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