Christmas has been, is, and will always be about the joy of gathering with family to put up a Christmas tree
"...freshly cut Christmas trees smelling of stars and snow and pine resin - inhale deeply and fill your soul with wintry night..." goes the words of John Geddes in his book A Familiar Rain.
In light of the Christmas season, people embrace the rush of getting a freshly cut pine or spruce tree or an artificial one to decorate them in their homes or out on the lawn. Christmas has been, is, and will always be about the joy of gathering with family to put up a Christmas tree, decorating it with ribbons, wreaths, stockings, tinsels, and balls, and sitting under its ethereal glow every evening. But the question is, why a Christmas tree?
Christmas trees seen in Vendome Palace in Paris in 2019
Christmas trees signify eternal life. Beating the spine chilling wrath of winter, these pine, fir, spruce and cypress trees stand evergreen and full of life, hinting at the arrival of Spring. It is known that the Germans began the tradition of setting up Christmas trees inside their homes. A Christmas tree promotes the idea of togetherness where families gather presents at its foot, and their kids open them up on Christmas eve or on the day of Christmas.
People associate Christmas trees with emotions and many abstract ideas. While to some it represents stars as they gaze at the fairy lights glowing the branches of a Christmas tree, to others, it represents hope. It radiates positivity and a sense of togetherness among families. Christmas trees are widely a simile for hope. As they are lit in the darkness and the cold wilderness of winter, a Christmas tree resonates with the hope of a better life ahead- a light at the end of the tunnel. It brings home the message that life does not end here but is yet to move on.
As the legend goes, a man named Martin Luther from Germany began the tradition of setting up a Christmas tree inside the house. He fathered six children, whom he loved dearly. He decorated a Christmas tree and put presents under it for his children.
People got into the habit of decorating trees or wooden pyramids with apples and gingerbread, and carried them down the streets. They would decorate to their content and gather neighbors around, all with the pure intention to appreciate each other and to go to church together. With time, people chose to decorate Christmas trees as their own in the comfort of their home.
Decorating Christmas trees, or Christmas pyramids with apples, gingerbread, and candles came from the tradition to chronicle the nativity of Christ. Ornaments hung on the branches took the shape of angels, stars and holly, all of it to celebrate the moment of the birth of Christ. Lights are donned on the tree to resemble stars and planets, to indicate light in the time of darkness.
Every ritual, ornament, and tradition revolved around Christmas trees brims with symbolism; each interpreted differently to align with peace of mind. A Christmas tree represents every good hope and positivity that one seeks in the time of need. While the outer picture may be jolly, many among us may face struggles this Christmas season, and to them, a Christmas tree is anything that they want it to be.