Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Trees: Christmas vs. Holiday

I had an interesting conversation with someone today who thought that holiday trees were not-rooted in religious tradition.  The whole conversation left me 1) thinking about my own not yet present tree and 2) how holiday "symbols" evolve and change.

So I did some reading:
and then got another persepctive challenging my own:
"Long before the advent of Christianity, plants and trees that remained green all year had a special meaning for people in the winter. Just as people today decorate their homes during the festive season with pine, spruce, and fir trees, ancient peoples hung evergreen boughs over their doors and windows. In many countries it was believed that evergreens would keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits, and illness."

Then I did some thinking!

1) While I do celebrate Christmas and for me, the tree is a symbol of the religious holiday, I do not yet have a tree adorning my house.  Perhaps soon a huge artificial tree will make its way from the attic and find someone willing to assemble it, soon. While  I really wish it was a "real" formerly live tree, I did "cave" a few years ago and agreed to this mammoth symbol of Christmas that requires a ladder for assembly!

2) Until them, I will think about the idea that around 1900. "Europeans used small trees about four feet in height, while Americans liked their Christmas trees to reach from floor to ceiling.".....hmmmmm, an these days, they are even bigger!  I will also think about the idea that "early 20th century saw Americans [were]decorating their trees mainly with homemade ornaments, while the German-American sect continued to use apples, nuts, and marzipan cookies."  Ours (when assembled)  will have our family ornaments mixed among some non-LED and some new sparkly LED lights.  It WILL be up before the the 25th AND the shopping WILL BE done, for that I am sure!

3) I'm going to find that person and tell them that perhaps, however, they are more "right" than I thought.  Perhaps,, for some, the idea of a tree or evergreens in the house is more about winter than religion!  While trees, like many other symbols, have roots in the Christmas holiday tradition, the "green" roots are deep and the holiday tree roots are not quite so deep.  Besides, the look and "feel" of trees has already changed!  Perhaps, I should consider leaving the plastic mammoth up all year and decorating it for every holiday?  That might save some December stress?   


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