The fairy at the top of the Christmas tree was originally a little figure of the baby Jesus. In late seventeenth century Germany this became a shining angel. Windsor Castle’s Christmas trees were topped by a large angel.
In Victorian Britain, little girls would take the angel down after Christmas and dress him in dolls’ clothes. Eventually the angel turned into a thoroughly female fairy, complete with wand.
The transformation was boosted by the pantomimes that became popular in the Victorian era – and, naturally, included a good fairy in the cast.