The first American Christmas tree

If you’re getting ready to put up your Christmas tree, just thank Williamsburg.

Back in 1842, a German immigrant brought the Christmas tree tradition to the colony.

And that short, tabletop tree with candles, gilded walnuts and a few paper decorations may be the earliest recorded use of a Christmas tree in the United States. [Christmas in America: A History]

Now, PBS stations across the country will see Williamsburg’s role in the development of the Christmas tradition.

A production crew spent four years creating the show and found no documented claim better than the Williamsburg one to the first American Christmas tree.

There are competing claims from Rhode Island, North Carolina and Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

The story of the Williamsburg tree wasn’t known until an interview with a 95-year-old woman who recalled the tree in a Richmond newspaper in 1928.

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