By now you have probably put up a Christmas tree somewhere in your house or apartment.
Is it a live tree or an artificial one?
Prior to 2020 the sale of artificial trees was rising about 4% a year. It was a $2 billion industry.
But one of the side effects of Covid in 2020 was that more Americans switched from artificial trees and bought live trees. Are you one of them?
In November and December of 2020 people enjoyed getting outside to tromp around Christmas tree farms to pick out something living and fresh.
It was a great Covid antidote and a much-needed boost to the live Christmas tree industry. Christmas tree lots were selling more trees than in previous years too!
Who knew that living with a deadly virus would make us re-embrace a symbol of living by reversing a trend in artificial Christmas trees?
When I was a kid our Christmas trees were pretty much like Charlie Brown’s. We didn’t look for them as a family. My Dad would just bring the tree home one day.
Dad never splurged on anything with full lush branches. There was never a fragrant Douglas Fir, Fraser Fir or Blue Spruce in our house. Nope. My Dad was certainly not a Scrooge; but he sure was frugal.
His tree of choice was always a scrawny looking white pine with a few long spindly needles clustered along the branches. Yet every Christmas Eve my brother and I were posed in front of our scrawny tree for a holiday picture as if that tree was a thing of beauty.
Now I look back at those pictures with our scantily trimmed tree behind us and laugh about it. What else can you do? It’s funny! But in its own scrawny way that tree actually was a thing of beauty to me as a kid, with it’s few shiny ornaments and strings of glass beads.
The bringing of a live tree into one’s home in the dead of winter is a custom that dates back to 16th Century Germany. Over the years the meanings associated with the tree and the types of decorations used on it have been adapted and changed by many cultures.
Ancient Egyptians, Chinese and Hebrews used evergreen trees, wreaths and garlands to symbolize eternal life. Tree worship was common in northern Europe and Scandinavia where evergreens were set up as a shelter and food source for birds, decorated with nuts and apples during the Christmas season, and were thought to scare away evils in the New Year.
Queen Victoria popularized the massive acceptance of Christmas trees and the customs of towns and cities to deck their streets and squares at the holiday.
In the 19th century the Christmas tree traditions we observe today became common throughout the world. At the beginning of the 20th century Christmas trees started to be put up inside churches and due to the availability of electricity, the trees were adorned with lights.
What is best about the holiday season, however, isn’t the tree, it is the message. It’s a message that often gets lost in the hubbub of planning big family get-togethers, buying and wrapping of presents, attending holiday festivities and celebrating with parties and merry-making (to use an old phrase!)
In 2018 the fresh-cut tree industry launched a social media campaign to entice millennials to buy fresh trees. The campaign was called “It’s Christmas, Keep it Real!” In 2020 that campaign got a big boost because of the pandemic. Nothing is more real than surviving a pandemic!
The message of the holiday season is what should be the most real thing about the season.
Taken from the Bible’s new testament, Book of Luke, chapter 2, verse 14, it’s a wish for peace on earth. It’s that we all practice good will toward others. The phrase was popularized in a poem by Longfellow and used in the song “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.”
Its the hope that the spirit of joy and happiness promoted during these last few weeks of the year will stay with us year ‘round.
I wish I was putting up a real tree this Christmas. I miss having a real tree. But for me traveling the 1,200 miles from Florida to Pennsylvania each December to be where my family is at Christmas, makes the convenience of an artificial tree too practical to resist.
In whatever way you celebrate, or whatever your holiday season is, may peace, good will, joy, and happiness be the “real” you feel every day.
“Nothing ever seems too bad, too hard, or too sad when you’ve got a Christmas tree in the living room.”Nora Roberts
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