A Christmas tree is a decorated tree, usually an evergreen conifer such as spruce, pine, or fir or an artificial tree of similar appearance, associated with the celebration of Christmas. The modern Christmas tree was developed in early modern Germany (where it is today called Weihnachtsbaum or Christbaum) with predecessors that can be traced "long before the advent of Christianity" with ancient peoples who "hung evergreen boughs over their doors and windows. In many countries it was believed that evergreens would keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits, and illness." The modern version of this tradition dates to the 16th and possibly 15th century, in which devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. It acquired popularity beyond Germany during the second half of the 19th century, at first among the upper classes.
The tree was traditionally decorated with edibles such as apples, nuts, or other foods. In the 18th century, it began to be illuminated by candles which were ultimately replaced by Christmas lights after the advent of electrification. Today, there is a wide variety of traditional 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 archangel Gabriel or the Star of Bethlehem 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. The Christmas tree has also been known as the "Yule-tree", especially in discussions of its folkloric origins.