The subject of the film is the invention of the Christmas tree in the Alsace region, its spread throughout Europe and its broad acceptance around the globe. The story is told in a series of documentary anecdotes.
Documentary side plots are added to the story like ornaments on the tree. Such adornment includes: the origins, tradition and creation of decorations for the tree; the origin of the custom of exchanging gifts under it and the birth of the Christmas legend and its world-renowned hymn "Silent Night". The documentary style is augmented now and again by stories about or including the Christmas tree as "pictorial documents" (such as Christmas celebrations in the fox holes during World War I).
A dramatic framework serves as a structure for the film. Though it is fictitious, quotes are incorporated into it from commonly known Yuletide stories such as H.C. Andersen's "The Christmas Tree." The central story is told like a fairy tale. It plays in the mid 19th century, and the main characters are a poor little girl and a boy from a rich, bourgeois family - and of course a Christmas tree.