We all know that adding green plants into the home in general can help to promote a calming, and natural aura that can help to de-stress and relax as well. In the old days, evergreens were believed to keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits, and illness. We don’t see this custom anymore as pagan or heathen, the “Christmas” tree or “Holiday” tree, has become a luxury commodity, the promise of festivities, fun, family time, cosy moments.
We’re not worried nowadays that the tree-spirits have left the trees and they will not grow leaves again, but we all, knowingly or not, still celebrate the winter festivals with the Yule- tree. This evergreen conifer, saw its origin in Germany as “Weinachtsbaum”, brought into rich people’s houses and decorated with edibles such as apples, oranges, dates, gingerbread, cakes, pretzels and nuts. I must admit I like the idea and want to use it one year… although I think it wouldn’t survive long with my dogs around.
The candles, representing the stars in the sky, have turned into the less dangerous electric lights, ornaments have found their way too. I love the electric lights as they give off heat and will warm up the tree, releasing the scent into the room.
To crown the tree one needs an angel (bringing good tidings) or a star, believers or not. Mine got the star this year, representing my hope for a better, brighter tomorrow.
For those of you with cats, orange juice, cider vinegar or tea tree oil sprayed on the Christmas tree will act as a cat repellent… although little bells hung on the bottom branches often alert you the best!
I don’t know anybody who hangs them upside down from the ceiling rafters or “chandeliers”, hung on chains, but that’s how they originally appeared in history. “Paradise” trees, as they were once called, representing the Garden of Eden, used to be paraded around the town before the village Miracle Plays. One sang, one danced and then lit the tree…
It takes about six to ten years to harvest Christmas trees (biggest danger are droughts), so I do realize artificial trees nowadays are bought to save the earth… But I so much love the “real” thing, a dense-branched tree, all snowy whites, natural pine and berried holly and ivy, preferably with roots, whether it is a towering one (the one in the main picture is from my friend Lizzy), from floor to ceiling, the real gargantuan or only a few inches high, like my friend Inneke’s tree.
The falling needles create the best backdrop for gifts to be placed around. Ah, the labor-intensive art of getting it right, quite a conundrum! The tree is my canvas!
The potted members of the pine family can go outside for the rest of the year. And they are after all biodegradable, providing mulch for the garden. Some scientists calculated that one, farmed tree absorbs more than one ton of carbon dioxide during its life and each acre of trees, produces enough oxygen to supply the daily needs of 18 people. For every Christmas tree harvested, 1-3 seedlings are planted the following spring!
I’ve always been told that you have to cut the butt end of your tree 1 inch above the original cut, split the trunk before placing it in the planter and put it in a bucket of water as soon as you arrive home. Keeping it in water, is key to its care, whereas here in France they sell them with just a wooden log to put in.
This is my friend Myriam’s tree:
I quite like the Norwegian tradition called “ circling the Christmas tree”, where people join hands to form a ring around the tree and then walk around it, singing carols, before distributing the gifts. And what about another version of the piñata: in Catalonia (Spain) they fill a tree trunk with nuts, almonds, toffee and treats for the children to try to knock out. The Japanese see decorating a tree merely for the children, so toys, dolls, the origami swan, lanterns and wind chimes are its decoration. The children exchange their “birds of peace” (the origami swan) with the obvious wish for peace.
New styles of trees pop up every year, what about a floating ornament tree, a music paper tree, a string lights tree on the wall, a tree shape made out of wood
or just a decoration and no tree (many people live in appartments and don’t have enough space) as the one above with the reindeer from my friend Lizzy or the one above and below at my daughter’s place?
Call me a hopeless romantic but I love the wood fire, the decorated Christmas tree surrounded by presents and the old fashioned Christmas songs in a house scented by sliced oranges and cloves put in water in a kettle, gently simmering on the stove and lemons or clementines studded with cloves. As my decorating mood does dare to oscillate from year to year, I went for different white lights this year, as you could see in the previous blogs. And instead of the very classic red and green tree, always a trip down memory lane, valuing my past and family history whilst showcasing my carefully gathered ornaments over the years, I went for a white and natural, wooden look.
My favourite You tube clip, every year again and again, has to be the following one:
Wishing you a very merry traditional Christmas with cheerful Christmas charm, and winter splendor in the form of an endless horizon of white snow, to dash through.
May you be surrounded by scented cinnamon, mercury candle votives, beaded strings, eclectic decorations with matte and shiny ornamental even teardrop baubles, glass icicles… a tree festooned with twinkling fairy lights and have a house full of Christmas roses, deep red or white peonies or potted white amaryllis and sweet fir scent, heavenly scented with tangerines and oranges, giving you that magical feeling!
Ready for the arrival of the sleigh, silently thinking I could have more than one tree to spread the holiday cheer throughout the entire home…
Off now to celebrate in family style with some beautiful classic music from Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker:
Have yourself a very merry Christmas, an unforgettable holiday!
A big “mwah” from