A Personal History of the Christmas Tree

Dec 17, 2016

A Personal History of the Christmas Tree

As a kid, celebrating Christmas meant decorating the house with sprigs of pine and fir from the woods surrounding my Northern California home. Red berries from nearby Manzanita Trees could be strung together into colorful chains and popcorn garlands hung outside attracted birds to the window sills, for living, singing ornamentation.

The tree for the holiday was always living too, dragged in from its pot in the yard where it lived the rest of the year. A living tree reminded us of spring to come, a light in the darkness of winter. This was to recognize the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year.

Pre-Christian cultures noticed deciduous trees loose their leaves and hibernate for the winter while evergreens flourished. The evergreen trees seemed magic, able to outlast the cruelty of winter, and the tradition of bringing them and the vitality they represented indoors was born. 

A tree lit up with lights and tinsel warmed our home with an assurance that though the days were short and the nights long, spring would come and with it sun, warm weather and wild flowers.

 Sunset MagazineSunset Magazine

Living now in Denver and working at Flower Bombers I appreciate the trees that line my street bright with their own festive Christmas lights at night and all the familiar smells of fresh cut pine included in many of our current arrangements at the shop during the day.  

Like a tree, having bright flowers indoors when the world outside is gray boosts the mood and reminds us of the impermanence of the winter season. With fall harvest over and the cold setting in, it’s a time for a feast, edible and visual. Whether it’s a few branches broken off the conifer your backyard, shook free of snow and arranged on your kitchen table, or one of our floral arrangements (I’m personally a huge fan of the Sugar Plum) let a little of the natural world help see you through 2016. No hippy California upbringing required.