Christmas Trees: Real vs. Fake
We’ve always had real Christmas trees in our family. I’m a traditional sort of person, and I prefer to have the sense that Christmas is more than plastic and commercialism. I know deep down it really is mostly plastic and fake – the trees too. But, having a real tree helps me see the season as something more real and substantive. Other people don’t take trees as seriously; that’s just a preference. They see a Christmas tree as a mere formality of the season and don’t ascribe any special relevance to it other than a place under which to place presents. That’s how I feel about Santa Clause, wrapping paper and the yule log. I’ve chosen the tree as the object in which I chose to place meaning. Here’s why.
Trees are tangible reminders of the earth. They symbolize life, death, strength, determination and family. We have family trees where we are said to lay our roots. Every religion in the world uses trees as mythology. There is the tree of life and knowledge, the burning bush, the World Tree of Norse mythology, the Mughal garden in Islamic traditions; the Romans even decorated their houses with trees in reverence to the god of agriculture, Saturnus. Everybody, Christian, pagan or whatever respects the meaning of trees. The Germans were the originators of the Christmas tree as they used to hang apples from them, symbolizing the promise of imminent spring. It is also a convenient Christian symbol because of the many trees mentioned throughout the Bible. Martin Luther is said to have decorated a tree in the dead of winter around the year 1500 (proof is elusive). The bottom line is that of all the trappings of Christmas, the tree holds the most meaning for me. For that reason I prefer to have a real one in the house.
Pros of Real Trees: The Smell, the tradition, cutting it down rather than unpacking it.
Pros of Fake Trees: Clean, Convenient, reusable, pick your color.
It’s all about what you want. Do you want convenience and simplicity? Then a fake tree is for you. Do you see trees like I do, and are you willing to put up with inconvenience for the sake of the smell and the tradition? Clearly a real tree is for you. I’m biased, but I understand that a person’s choice of trees is nothing more than a manifestation of where they chose to place their energy at Christmas. It would not be Christmas for me without the smell and symbolic reminders of an evergreen. We had a plastic tree when I lived in Mexico (as evergreens are hard to come by in the city) and it didn’t feel right. I’m clearly a little weird about trees. Other people are weird about Santa or presents or food. I won’t conspicuously neglect Jesus either; some folks have completely dropped the pagan traditions of Christmas altogether in favor of a purely Christian holiday. That’s fine too. Enjoy the holiday, and celebrate it for the meaning it carries for you.