A Christmas tree is a decorated tree, usually an evergreen conifer, such as a spruce, pine or fir, or an artificial tree of similar appearance. The custom was developed in medieval Livonia (present-day Estonia and Latvia), and in early modern Germany where Protestant Germans brought decorated trees into their homes. The Catholic Church resisted this Protestant custom and the Christmas Tree stood for the first time in the Vatican in 1982.
The tree was traditionally decorated with roses made of colored paper, apples, wafers, tinsel, and sweetmeats. In the 18th century, it began to be illuminated by candles, which were ultimately replaced by Christmas lights after the advent of electricity. Today, there is a wide variety of traditional and modern ornaments, such as garlands, baubles, tinsel, and candy canes. An angel or star might be placed at the top of the tree to represent the Angel Gabriel or the Star of Bethlehem, respectively, from the Nativity. Edible items such as gingerbread, chocolate and other sweets are also popular and are tied to or hung from the tree's branches with ribbons.
In the Western Christian tradition, Christmas trees are variously erected on days such as the first day of Advent or even as late as Christmas Eve (the night before Christmas Day - December 25) depending on the country.
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