PoinsettiaPoinsettias are native to Mexico. They were named after America’sfirst ambassador to Mexico, Joel Poinsett. He brought the plants toAmerica in 1828. The Mexicans in the eighteenth century thought theplants were symbolic of the Star of Bethlehem. Thus the Poinsettiabecame associated with the Christmas season. The actual flower ofthe poinsettia is small and yellow. But surrounding the flower arelarge, bright red leaves, often mistaken for petals.The Christmas TreeThe Christmas Tree originated in Germany in the 16
century. It wascommon for the Germanic people to decorate fir trees, both inside andout, with roses, apples, and colored paper. It is believed that MartinLuther, the Protestant reformer, was the first to light a Christmastree with candles. While coming home one dark winter’s night nearChristmas, he was struck with the beauty of the starlight shiningthrough the branches of a small fir tree outside his home. Heduplicated the starlight by using candles attached to the branches ofhis indoor Christmas tree. The Christmas tree was not widely used inBritain until the 19
century. It was brought to America by thePennsylvania Germans in the 1820’s.Christmas trees are very popular in England. Instead of cutting downtheir trees, however, the people often dig them up along with somesoil, and keep them in a large tub. After the Christmas season is over,the trees will be replanted again. Yule logs are also widely used. Alarge log is brought into the home to be burned in the fireplace.Before it is lighted, family members sit on it and wish for good luck inthe coming year.