Christmas in Europe is rich with tradition. About 500 years ago Germany was the first place where decorated trees became a part of Christmas celebrations, though the use of trees during a winter festival predates the birth of Christ. In the 1800s, when candles became affordable, the tree of lights arrived along with the tradition of the family gathering around the tree for gift-giving. Rothenburg is a German town infused with the Christmas spirit year-round. It's a great place to learn about history of the holiday and to buy a special ornament to bring home for your own tree. For more information on the Rick Steves' Europe TV series — including episode descriptions, scripts, participating stations, travel information on destinations and more — visit http://www.ricksteves.com.
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