Decorating a Christmas tree is a foreign tradition that was first introduced in Greece by the Bavarians back in 1833. The first Christmas tree was decorated in the Palace of Othonas, by the Bavarian prince who became the King of Greece from 1832 to 1862.
Decorating Christmas Boats, on the other hand, has been a tradition in Greece for many years that, for a time, was growing less popular since they were replaced by Christmas trees.
The traditional Greek boat symbolizes sailing towards the new life that follows the birth of Jesus Christ. Of course, Greece has also always been a marine country highly associated with the sea. Decorating a boat during Christmas serves as a token of gratitude to the marines and sailors who have devoted their lives to the sea for the greater good of their country and families. The actual boats that were decorated were often crafted by the children themselves and they were carried with them when they were singing the Christmas carols.
Around the 1970s, it became a matter of intense discussion to abolish the decorating of Christmas trees and establish that of the boat instead. However, boats were highly connected to farewells, danger at sea, shipwrecks, and immigration – boats were the main means of transportation during the immigrating period, so the “happy” Christmas trees was seen as a natural replacement.
Nowadays, for most Greeks, Christmas decorations include a tree even though it is also common to decorate a boat, especially in the islands.