I finally got my little woodland Christmas tree up and decorated with the able assistance of my 5 year-old great-grandson who told me he liked it because it was little like him (a very astute observation from one so young). I especially like this one because although it is artificial, it has white flocking on it to imitate snow on its branches. It looks exactly like some little tree one might come across on a hike in the winter woods.
We started out with real trees when I was just about my great-grandson's age but switched to artificial trees a few years later when my mother, tired of cleaning up pine needles all over the floor and crawling under the tree to put water in the tree stand, decided that it was more cost-effective and less labor intensive to have a fake one. Little did she know that the fake ones required hours of trying to color coordinate the correct branches in the correct order. Lucky for her she had excited little helpers to delegate that job to!
The tradition of putting up Christmas trees indoors originated in Europe around the 16th century. They were often decorated with berries, fruits and other natural ornaments. It probably followed on the heels of some pagan tradition prior to Christianity. It would certainly have been a symbol of how not everything dies in winter. The green needles would have been a colorful way of keeping spirits up during those cold winter nights. After Christmas, it would continue to give back by turning into firewood!
I do not have to bring a live tree into my home to receive the benefits of looking at a symbol of life continuing through the winter. I have only to look out of my window at a magnificent representative next door. It must stand at least 60 feet or more, which scares the life out of me when it waves back and forth in a really bad storm, but which fills me with hope on those days when it feels as if Spring will never return. I think this is one of Mother Nature's best creations yet!
Here's hoping your winter is filled with love, warmth, color and the promise of our inevitable return to Spring.
And so it is.