Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree

This evening my husband and I decided to have a pizza and tree trimming party. It was an impromptu occasion, so the guest list was small (just us). We still had a lot of fun, and a beautiful tree to show for our work. Here's a picture of it. What do you think?

Christmas trees are one of my favorite traditions of Christmas. Of course, many people believe that Christmas trees are not originally part of Christian traditions at all. In 16th century Germany, people decorated trees as part of their Yule celebrations. People have argued that they have no place in a true Christmas. Given that Christmas trees are a part of celebrations every where from Rockafeller Center to the White House, it appears the anti-tree proponents are not winning their argument. I personally don't care what started the tradition. I just dig putting a big decorated plant in my living room :)

Christmas trees come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. I'm partial to real trees at home. This year we got a Balsam Fir. I have a shiny silver fiber optic tree in my office though (you can see it in this post). Artificial trees tend to look more perfectly Christmas tree shaped. Live trees on the other hand have their own beauty. I don't worry about getting the perfect live tree, I look for one with character. Some years we've gotten smallish "Charlie Brown" trees. Some years we have majestic trees. This years is slender with squirrelly branches. If you do get a live tree, here are a few of my favorite tree tips:

1. Pull gently on the needles. If they fall off, the tree is dried out and won't live long in the house.
2. Look at the trunk at the base of the tree. Trees with crooked or misshapen trunks are harder to get into the stand.
3. Immediately before putting the tree in the stand, cut an inch off of the bottom of the trunk. This will help the tree drink water and make it last longer.

My husband and I got our tree at a local big box home store, but someday I would love to make a trip to a Christmas tree farm. Christmas tree farming got big during the 1950s. Christmas trees must be cared for like any plants. In addition they get pruned yearly to coax them into a desirable shape. I'd be curious to try to grow my own trees, if I lived in place that was suitable for it. (We're renters at the moment.) Maybe it would turn out great. Maybe not so well. But I think it would be an awesome way to use some yard space :)


Dennis G. Jerz said...

It's doubtful that Mary and Joseph picked up a fir tree, so I'd support the notion that the Christmas tree is a recent addition to the Christmas traditions.

Anastasia said...

Dennis, I was about to say "What about a ceder?", but I'm really not sure if a ceder is a type of fir tree or not.

When I was little, we had ceder trees instead of pines. Mom would let me pick out any tree I wanted, as long as it was one of the cheap ones. And ceders were always cheaper than pines. I can remember being your daughter's age and looking through all the trees. As you can imagine, they were not the most round or the most conical. I had a blast though :)