One of my favorite things in the entire world is Christmas trees. When I was little, I used to sleep under my family’s Christmas tree on Christmas Eve because I loved the safety and warmth that gigantic tree brought. My family would spend hours at a special Christmas tree lot on a pier in San Francisco. There always seemed to hundreds and hundreds of rows of Christmas trees waiting for a home just for a few weeks. My brother and my sister and I would spend hours agonizing over which tree was “ours.” The same determination that was used in finding a pet was put into finding this tree. We would always choose a perfect, 12 ft tall coniferous fir that was so wide it would require my two older brothers and my father shoving it through the door to get it inside. After it was inside, the twinkling lights would go on, and then the ornaments. Each ornament had a memory, a feeling, an emotion, and every single one was special.
Now, I have very little time for decorating Christmas trees, with finals in 10 days and projects and essays due this week. So instead, I have resorted to analyzing the idea of a Christmas tree for one of my blog posts. It seems odd to me, after studying nature for this past semester, that humans would knowingly invite a tree into their home. I mean honestly, it’s a little weird. They shed, they are dead in a month, and they are overall pretty useless. Sure they can look pretty at times, but people tend to dump so much stuff on their trees that it kind of has the adverse effect. It seems odd to me that something natural and beautiful when in nature looks so perverse when put inside. Once inside, a tree needs to be decorated so that it resembles the rest of the house, not the forest from which it came. And then there is the huge debate that occurs in some households over the holiday season- Real or Fake? Why would anyone choose a fake tree over a beautiful, majestic, yummy-smelling real tree?
As a Christmas tree expert, there is nothing as sad as the end of the holiday season, when the tree is stripped of its decorations, and stands cold and naked in the living room, ready to be taken to the dump. When I was five, I was inconsolable the days following Christmas because I knew my beautiful Christmas tree would be left out in the cold. To this day, I get a little sad the day I go back to school after break and I see old Christmas trees unceremoniously dumped on the side of the road.
A Christmas tree brings so much happiness during the holiday season, but we see coniferous firs everyday. So what is it that makes Christmas trees so perfectly amazing? Is it the decorations? It is a blank slate on which the memories that ornaments and presents can bring. It is not so much the specific tree that makes a Christmas tree great; it is the memories of having a tree can bring.
So, amidst the stress and pressure of colleges and finals, I will find some time next weekend to pick out a tree, attempt to stuff it through my front door, wrap it in lights, and pile it with ornaments, though truthfully I think that a bare fir tree in nature is more beautiful than any artificially decorated, overpriced Christmas tree.