What's tall, green, and has a star on top? It's a German word you might already know.
The German Tannenbaum, or Christmas tree, is an indispensible part of the holiday season.
Typically, everything about the Tannenbaum is authentic - from the fresh fir branches to the burning candles on them. Regardless of the fire hazard, real candles are reminiscent of the trees' origins.
The first German Christmas trees were set up sometime during the 16th century, well before the invention of electricity. But it wasn't until the second half of the 19th century that the Tannenbaum caught on abroad.
According to tradition, Germans buy or fell their Tannenbaum on December 23 and decorate it on Christmas Eve. But since Advent wreaths are also common in German households, there is plenty of fresh pine scent in the air in the run-up to Christmas. The trees are kept until the first week of January.
Next time you chime in to "O Tannenbaum," why not try carol in German? "O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum, wie treu sind deine Blätter" (Literally, "O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree, how faithful are your leaves"). But if you choose to implement the German tradition of real candles on your tree, be sure to keep a fire extinguisher handy.