Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Our Christmas Tree is Up

When I announced that we will be doing our tree during the weekend, my friend Andreea shared that in Romania, their Christmas tree does not get decorated until the eve of December 24 which kickstarts their yuletide celebration. As children, they were made to believe that if the tree does not get ready by midnight, Santa Claus will not have anywhere to put his presents. 

This fascinating piece of information has led me to look at the colourful history of this important Christmas tradition and discovered its pagan roots from early modern Germany which has survived their conversion to Christianity. With the endorsement of European royal families in the 19th Century, this expression of German culture amongst emigrants overseas has been adopted all over the world. 

This tradition is also being practiced in my homeland and the most beautiful Christmas trees I have ever seen remains to be those of my childhood’s, before our family could afford the big plastic evergreens we have adopted later on. We don't have a lot of pine trees in my country but with a wealth of local materials and my mother’s creativity, we have always had a Christmas tree. My favourite amongst them was a large piece of dried twig from the forest at the back of our house. It was placed on a tub held up by giant stones and decorated with soap bubbles amidst all the laughter as we pretended that snowflakes were falling on its branches.

So whilst feeling nostalgic about the Christmases of my youth, John and I embarked on the joyful tradition of putting up our tree during the weekend. It stared off with the most important task of choosing the tree, a Nordman Fir we buy from the Tree Amigos, an independent retailer who grows affordable and sustainably farmed trees. Of course the plastic tree is the greener and cheaper option as they can be put up every year but there is something almost magical about a real tree inside the house and it’s an experience that I look forward to every year.
The choosing of the tree itself requires a lot of careful consideration. It has to be the right height and must have just enough thickness to fit in the home. We were confronted with two difficult choices this year, one that is grand and would reach the ceiling of our lounge and another that is small and cosy. In another year perhaps when we have become a grown family we would have taken home the taller one but we settled for the smaller tree which we decorated rather tastefully if I’m allowed to say so.
So yes our tree is up, ready for us to snuggle under the blankets in front of the warm fire as we brace ourselves for yet another cold December.

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