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?