To Tree or Not To Tree, That is the Question

Every year, the week after Thanksgiving, I start the same routine. Although there’s no need, it’s marked it on my calendar.

This year was different. You know, life happens. Destruction, mayhem, chaos. Call it whatever you wish, the result was the same; I didn’t put up the Christmas tree.

A week crept by and still no glorious, festive, glowing fake tree in the corner. No angel forever frozen in mid “Gloria” peering down on our bright faces.  I decided it might not be worth the trouble this year.

Until the next morning.

I awoke to find my son had moved all the furniture in our living room. It takes rearranging to create my joyful holiday concept each year. His attempt to persuade almost moved me.

A few days later, I awoke again. (Yay!) On this day, I rose to find our tree, and all needed Christmas adornment had appeared upstairs, placed in front of the fireplace. They sat waiting for me to get to work. It was a mystery! (Not really)

He was determined.

It got me thinking, “Just who started this Christmas tree thing, anyway?” So, I researched and learned a few things:

  1. The origin of the Christmas tree began in Germany in the 16th century. Christians from Northern Germany performed mystery plays that featured an evergreen tree called a “paradise tree” decorated with apples. They plucked one apple, depicting Adam and Eve.
  2. Puritans celebrated Christmas with mass, but having decorations could be punishable by death. (That’s a game changer!)
  3. Many American colonists saw the Christmas tree as a pagan symbol.
  4. If you B-R-O-A-D-E-N your thinking, you could say a Christmas tree helped George Washington and the Continental Army defeat the German Hessians (who fought for the British) in 1776. Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware River into Trenton, NJ on December 24-25. While the Hessians celebrated Christmas with eating and drinking, singing and decorating trees, they made themselves an easy target for Washington’s surprise attack.
  5. It wouldn’t be until the 1830s that Americans first displayed Christmas trees in the United States although German settlers had displayed Christmas trees since the 1700s.
  6. Protestant reformer, Martin Luther, gets credit for being the first to put candles on Christmas trees.

Having a Christmas tree is more modern than earlier pagan use of evergreen. Don’t confuse the use of Christmas trees with the pagan use of evergreens for decorations, or the Egyptians and Romans use in Winter Solstice celebrations. 

Christmas trees have come a long way from their origin in mystery plays to the prominence they enjoy today. Still, I don’t know… to tree, or not to tree?

So did I, or didn’t I?

I’m a mom…of course I did!







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