The bringing in of the Christmas tree
For me Christmas is more a whole season rather than just a day, and the main event for me is the tree. There have only been a couple of years when we have had an artificial one. Since living in our current house, the choosing of a fresh tree is left to MrH – under instructions from me as to the exact height and style. He always comes back with the most perfect tree!
The tradition of tree decorating was brought to England by Queen Victorias husband, Prince Albert. It was a German Yuletide tradition, originally Pagan, where the spirit of the sun god was worshiped and held within an evergreen tree. Trees like this carry the spirit of new life throughout winter waiting for the onset of spring. It has always been a tradition to ‘bring the outside in’ at Christmas time and show respect for the tree spirits that live within.
It’s not just a tree.
Many people just think of a Christmas tree being just that, a tree to put presents under at Christmas. For me, it’s much more than that. Adorning a tree with decorations is quite a ceremonial process that I have developed and understood much more as I have got older. Yule is the point of the longest night – the shortest day of the 21st December- It’s a time of transformation and renewal as we welcome the sun again. I like to have my tree up close to that time. Many people seem to be getting earlier and earlier with their tree decorating by wanting them up for the whole of December. I like mine closer to Christmas partly for practicality and partly because I don’t see the point of being too early. A week before is perfect for me.
I like to prepare.
Decorating the tree is no rush job in our house. I plan the time into the diary and my lovely husband will bring the tree in to set it up, and then he backs away!
I have always had a little OCD with my trees and no one gets in the way! It’s a process of adorning and feeling where I want to place things, as well as the colour and where the lights shine. I set out all the decorations first having decided on my colour theme. I then light some candles, and get in the mood. If I am alone I may burn some frankincense oil or sound my crystal singing bowl. Music is always played!
The choice of decoration is important.
There are many traditional tree decorations that have different meanings – baubles signify balance, where a bell will depict a fresh cycle in life bringing in new energy. Coins hung from the boughs help to manifest wealth and prosperity. I like to pack my tree full of baubles, and add faeries, fir cones, hearts and stars. Tree faeries for me signify the tree spirits that have been brought in to look after the tree.
There are obviously reasons you may not be able to take your time and get in the flow with your decorating ritual. Children seem to have a habit of having their own way of adding decorations! If you like yours to be involved, then you can always move a few things round one they have finished. Or even give them their own tree!
There are alternatives.
I realise for some, a fresh tree may be quite expensive, and others may be concerned over the cutting of trees, so an artificial one will do just as well. Just understand the significance, and the essence behind it. In the old days people would bring boughs into the house to ‘deck the halls’, but trees have became more traditional. Maybe you could gather some winter foliage like holly, ivy, rosemary and bay? Make an arrangement somewhere in your home that signifies Yuletide.
Look after your tree.
If it’s a fresh one, please water it! You are honouring the elements from nature and waiting for the spring. Show respect and look after it. I know there will be comments about cats climbing them and possibly small children too! That’s life though.