Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Why do I have a Holiday Tree?

Though I have no religious beliefs, I put up a decorated tree every year basically because first and foremost I think it's pretty. The tree and all its lights and shiny baubles can mean different things to different people according to their religious or secular worldviews.

The tradition of decorating trees, originated in European pre-Christian pagan cultures which gained an extensive history in numerous cultures, and seems only fitting that it should be used in celebration of the Winter Solstice and secular celebration of the winter season. The ancient pagan idea was that the evergreen tree represents a celebration of the renewal of life. Xians just came and stole it and try to claim it as their own.

So, actually, the “holiday tree” is for everyone no matter what one’s beliefs are.

As for the house and yard decorations, some people really set up a menagerie of visual contradiction, don’t they? It cracks me up to see a house like one next door to me with the lighted 4-ft. cross on the roof and Santa and flying reindeer right next to it. Then on the ground is the lighted nativity scene with baby Jeebus next to Frosty the Snowman and an oversized-inflatable Winnie the Pooh in a Santa hat. The whirring inflatable snowglobe and inflatable Winnie the Pooh require motors that sound like someone is constantly running a couple of lawn mowers. (I really hate these new fad monstrosities...they are huge and ugly.) Candy canes line the driveway and little lighted elves are here and there. It’s really, really quite bizarre. Then of course, the tree in the window and those blinking icicle lights around the gutters and encircling the windows.

Do people even put any thought into it when they set this stuff up?


Anonymous said...

I was reading a blog the other day where an xtian left a comment about how she hates atheists who put up christmas trees, because she believes that to be an act of hypocrisy. Her comment made me angry because she obviously didn't understand that the origin of the christmas tree had nothing to do whith jebus at all.

I am an athiest and I have a tree up in my house, because like the xtians, I have adapted it to mean what ever I want it to mean. For me the holiday is about a celebration of family and love for humanity and nature.

The holiday season is NOT just for xtians or people who believe in god. And I am totally not surprised that "good, christian people" would assert that it is just for them.

Stardust said...

For me the holiday is about a celebration of family and love for humanity and nature.

Exactly! Basically, whoever we are, that is what the holiday season is all about.

Hey, Danica! Glad you stopped by! :-D

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm half atheist, half agnostic and half pagan (which technically makes me one and a half people...but hey ho...I never wanted to be a mathmatician) and I love Xmas. I put a tree up and wear tinsel and all sorts. To me it is just a sort of winter interval - a time where you can eat and drink yourself silly and see people you probably won't see at any other time of year and just celebrate being alive. Xmas has never been religious to me even though I think I was christened 'Church of England'.
My life philosophy is 'Live now, because you don't know if you're going to get another chance.'

Stardust said...

My life philosophy is 'Live now, because you don't know if you're going to get another chance.'

ghostrose - thanks for commenting! Living for today and making the most of today is how I live. I like comedian Groucho Marx's philosophy:

I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it.

Anonymous said...

Good for you. Trees are pretty, and they smell nice. There is no reason why you can't enjoy the many secular aspects of the holiday. I don't decorate or celebrate Christmas at all, but I certainly have no problem with those who do. Enjoy the holidays!