The Christmas tree, also known as the Yule tree is a fixture in everyone’s home during the Christmas season. It can be a real evergreen tree, a tree made out of plastic, or it can be made from other indigenous materials. It is usually placed in a corner of the living room, where family and friends come together during the holidays and exchange Christmas gifts.
Many believe that the Christmas tradition of having and decorating a Christmas tree has its root in Livonia in Germany, other accounts says that the tradition of putting up a Christmas tree started with St. Bonifice. During his life time (672- 754) St Bonifice brought down the tree of Thor and replaced it with a fir tree. It was the first Christmas tree also known as Tannenbaum or fir tree in Germany.
Early Christmas trees are decorated with candles and flower garlands. As years past, other ornaments are added like Christmas lights, candy canes and colorful Christmas balls. An Angel or a Star is usually placed at the apex of the tree to symbolize the Star of Bethlehem from the Story of the Nativity in the Bible.
In modern times, natural trees are still in big demand to be used as Christmas trees, especially in the countries of Europe and North America. Popular species of conifers used are the silver fir in Europe and the Douglas fir in North America.
Artificial Christmas trees are also popular among those who are on a tight budget for they are cheap and can be stored in small boxes and can definitely be used again the following year. Popular colors of plastic Christmas trees are green and those in white, as if it is covered by snow. In recent years other colors are added to the mix like blue and red and even black colored Christmas tree are becoming popular.
In a tropical country like the Philippines, conifers are replaced by local trees and other materials to look like small trees. Farmers would go out to the forest and cut saplings or branches of trees, then paint it in green or white. In most public schools, students will cover their Christmas trees with either colored Manila paper or used aluminum foil from discarded cigarette packs.
Some will even wrap cotton balls around the twigs to imitate snow covered trees. Even the handy walis ting-ting, a local version of the broom made of out stalks from dried coconut leaves, is transformed into beautiful mini Christmas trees during the Christmas Season by spray painting them with silver and gold, and adding glitters to add more sparkle and shine.
No matter if you have the real evergreens and conifers or artificial trees, the more important thing is you are celebrating Christmas and sharing your joy and the season’s good cheer with other people.
The tree may be different but the spirit of Christmas is the same. Merry Christmas!