Red and Green are the two colors most-associated with Christmas, and there are many conflicting meanings behind them, depending on religion and region of the world, as well as the origin of the tree. For Christians, the color green is a natural representation of eternal life... specifically, the evergreen tree and how it survives through the winter season. That’s why, in Christian belief, green represents the eternal life of Jesus Christ. The color red symbolizes Christ’s blood which was shed during his crucifixion. Back in the 14th century, churches put on miracle plays and, traditionally, on December 24th, they put on the Paradise Play... the story of Adam and Eve. And in place of an apple tree in the garden (since they weren’t available in winter), they fastened apples to the branches of a pine tree. Using a pine to represent the Tree of Good and Evil became a common practice among churches and they began incorporating the tree into their Christmas displays each year. But it didn’t stop there...following the church’s example, people began assembling pine trees in their homes and decorating them with red apples. Nowadays, green (money) and red (in the red/going into debt) seems to represent the colors more accurately... or maybe being green with envy that someone got to the sales rack before you got a chance to trample and bludgeon them to a red, bleeding mess on the floor in the Missies Separates department of the local Walmarts... but I digress. Lost is the real meaning of the season... spending quality time with your friends and family in simple tradition and religious observance.
There's been quite a stir lately, and I'm not talking about the creatures that are stirring... not even the mouse. It's with the whole war on Christmas debate... I think Christians are feeling like people are trying to take the Christ out of Christmas... while non-believers either want equal time for all religions (and that to be recognized by Christians (a losing battle, I think)) or for it to be kept out of public places altogether. Even my fellow Atheists got into the picture with their Flying Spaghetti Monster as a symbol of the (non)holiday. Mostly considered a parody religion, The Church of the Pastafarian is a movement against the teaching of creationism in public schools, and displays of the monster are popping up all over the country, right next to the nativity scene in town squares. And although this is a fairly idiotic and funny representation, it does convey the message that no one religion is more superior to another and people can worship what they choose. But this post isn't about that argument... although, personally, I think Christmas should be more about the religious meaning (even if I don't believe in it) than the commercialized adaptation that we currently have.
As a landscaper, if there was a religion out there that worshipped nature and the earth/science, I would be in the front pew bright and early on a Sunday morning wearing a big, fat, say-something hat. I think we take for granted what we do to the earth with our carbon footprint, fracking, pollution and raping the forests... which brings me to the Christmas tree. If there's anything that gets my goat more, it's when someone gets a live tree for two weeks and throws it out on the curb. Some 34 million trees are cut down for the holiday and, while you can argue that it spurs the economy or it can be mulched and reused, it's still not right. Trees recycle carbon dioxide and convert it into oxygen for us to breathe, as well as clean the air. If you take a walk in the woods and get an elated feeling... that's clean air at work. Besides the air, their root system combats sun, water and wind erosion and trees provide shade, altering temperatures and resources needed, and shelter for animals, fruits, nuts, berries and maple syrup, as well as other foods for humans and animals. When the branches and leaves decompose, they provide nourishment to make the soil fertile for regrowth and the wood for building and other needs. Trees are necessary for the circle of life.
While it's probably too late for this year, as you've probably already murdered (red) an unsuspecting pine... perhaps you can take some of this into consideration and choose a different (green) option next year. There are more and more places where you can get a live, rooted tree in a pot that you can decorate and use indoors for the holiday and then replant in your yard when the season is over. In fact, a friend of mine does just this... she has a whole grove of trees in her backyard that she planted over several years. Instead of just having a symbol of Christmas for a few weeks a year and then pitching it on the curb, you can look out and see each year... even decorating them reflecting the memories of that year... and starting a new tradition for your family, as well as benefit the environment.
Whether you celebrate Christmas or some other holiday (that I won't pretend to know how to spell or pronounce), here's wishing everyone the best of luck, health and happiness in the coming year.