Advent Calendar 2021 – Dec 4 – Oh Christmas Tree!

Have you put up your Christmas tree yet? I usually get it up the first week of December but there have been years where we left it ’til very late. When you have children in the house the tree usually is decorated early but as empty nesters I remember a few years where we finally got to it just in time for the big day either on December 23rd or the 24th. 

I have many fond memories of Christmas which involved the tree. For years, we volunteered with a local community group that sold evergreens as a fundraiser and the group of people associated with the annual event made it a lot of fun. 

Putting up the tree can be burdensome, especially if you favour a real tree. Growing up, my daughter was always in collusion with her father when picking out the tree and their philosophy was the bigger the better! Of course bigger meant more ornaments, and more time to decorate. Once we downsized, we made the switch to an artificial tree and a very slim one at that and I am quite satisfied that it takes no more than 30 minutes to put up now.

The traditional Christmas tree, an evergreen trimmed with decorations, only dates back a few centuries. The widespread use of the Christmas tree would have started in 1832 when the future Queen Victoria wrote about her delight at having a Christmas tree, decorated with lights, ornaments and presents placed round it. After her marriage to her Prince Albert by 1841, the custom became more widespread throughout Britain and an image of the British royal family with their Christmas tree at Windsor Castle created a sensation when it was published in newspapers. 

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Illustration of a young Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and family stood by a Christmas tree, titled 'Christmas Tree at Windsor Castle', from the Christmas Supplement to the Illustrated London News
Queen Victoria and family around the Christmas tree as published in the Illustrated London News in 1848

While Queen Victoria may have started the whole tree thing in Britain, it is likely that that the tradition of the Christmas tree was brought to America by early German settlers in the United States between 1820-1870 and it caught on from there. German Lutherans had been lighting a Christmas tree since the 1600s and when 7.5 million immigrants arrived from Germany during those years, they brought the custom with them.   

Placing a star or angel atop the tree connects the tradition to the Nativity of Jesus, in reference to the Star of Bethlehem shining above and an Angel having appeared to the wise men and shepherds about the birth of Christ.

Sitting comfortably with a warm beverage in hand while staring at a lighted tree brings me much comfort, especially if its quiet. I enjoy the peaceful setting, and reflecting on my day. Often, I think the moment would be just as precious if I was admiring the evergreen in its natural setting in the forest, under moonlight. It would just be colder, and less comfortable and that is probably why we brought the tradition indoors. 

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum
How steadfast are your branches!
Your boughs are green in summer’s clime
And through the snows of wintertime.
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
How steadfast are your branches!

Published by Sylvie Rancourt

I am an intuitive and experienced leader and come naturally to coaching. I have spent the last 20 years helping individuals get unstuck, to achieve their goals and objectives. I enjoy interacting with new people and helping them to disengage from the minutiae of situations to see the bigger picture. These conversations inevitably lead to inspiration and it is quite a feeling to finally know what you want to achieve and see the path to get you there. Many individuals I have helped just needed a plan to stop wasting their energies and have more focus, while others needed a bit more time and we customized sessions suited to their needs. In all cases, we achieved positive change in either their professional or personal lives.

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