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It’s hard to believe, but the holidays in St. Louis didn’t always involve putting up elaborate decorations and rushing around to find one last gift. In fact, the idea of a Christmas tree didn’t exist in Missouri until the 1830’s, when German immigrants brought small decorated tabletop trees into their Franklin County homes. Instead of the string lights we now wrap around our trees, they put candles on branches for a shimmering touch – similar to the Jewish Festival of Lights. They also introduced simple German traditions like hanging stockings for St. Nick to fill with small toys and fruit, gathering with family to sing carols together, and baking Plätzchen (Christmas cookies) to share with friends.