Friday, December 9, 2011

Do you think Christmas is too commercial??

I like to visit the site now and again.  Today I was wondering about the history of Christmas trees.  I had long been aware that there were numerous connections with pre-Christian cultural practices, but I wanted a refresher on some of those practices and the purpose behind them.

Well, lo and behold!  I learned something that was entirely new to me.  Christmas as we know it today was banned in Boston, as they say.  I guess it makes sense although for some reason I had never heard this before.  It seems that the Puritans so prevalent in New England felt quite strongly that heathen acts such as singing carols, decorating trees, or basically any kind of "joyful expression" of the season served only to make a mockery of a sacred event.  Church attendance was the only acceptable way to mark the day.  Anything else was subject to a fine.  I read about it here.

We are not putting up a tree this year.  It's not a statement about the sacredness or religious meaning of the day.  We did put up other decorations.  I am thinking it is a good thing we decided against the tree, though,  because Mother Nature is messing with our usual tradition.  There is very little snow.

There are no shortage of Christmas tree farms in our neighborhood.  We have always liked to go to a nearby farm and cut our own tree.  We are careful about picking the day--and no matter what the forecast may have been, the actual weather will be freshly falling snow that has deepened to knee level over night accompanied by frigid, howling winds.  Temperatures below the zero mark seem mandatory.  I am sure that day will come, but it has not arrived yet this year.  So Mike is spared lying under a tree with his shirt and jacket slipping up and his pants slipping down enough to freeze a section of backside as he struggles with a hacksaw and I, in an effort to hold the tree shower him with more falling snow in icy clumps.  But it is tradition!

I do wonder how the Puritans might have reacted to someting like Black Friday.


  1. And how many sweet words of endearment were shared? I can just picture it!!! Enjoy the memories.

  2. Well you are right .there are many customs but we have decided to opt for the tree even though it's fake and we've had it for 4 years now. It symbolizes life everlasting and so we enjoy the tradition.
    Commercial is not the case for us. We just want to have family fun together.

  3. I think everyone should celebrate and/or worship as they choose and leave everyone else OUT OF IT! I am so tired of this persecution complex that those who are far holier than I, seem to be feeling. There ... said it...hope your holiday is filled with the traditions that you cherish!

  4. Yes, I think it is way too commercialized, but I enjoy the traditions. I have my tree up early this year. That is rare for me. And, for the first time ever, I bought a second tree. It is a small live tree that will be decorated in memory of my daughter. We will only put her ornaments on the tree.

  5. Those pagans had all the fun. I'm glad we brought back many of the old traditions. And sure, it's to commercialized, but then we do live in a consumer society. Spending money is what keeps the economy going.

  6. We bought a three-foot live tree in a pot. In January we will plant it.

    I love the look of farmed, shaped trees, but I'm getting more sensitive to preserving life. So, at least for this year, the asymmetrical tree in its pot is good enough!

  7. We have relatives in Pa., and I was surprised to hear that the Amish and Mennonites don't make much of Christmas, either.

    We used to drive 1 1/4 hrs. to northern Ct. to cut our own tree. This year we bought one locally, hopefully doing our little part to save the environment. We don't have quite so many lights this year either.

  8. The Christmas tree will be the last of our traditions to go, as it is a favorite. But I am sure that there will come a day when putting one up will be unimportant to us and to the kids and grandkids. In the meantime, we go to Home Depot and wrestle with the already cut trees, trying to find just the perfect one. And, year after year, we do.

  9. I understand we have the Dutch to blame for our holiday excess. They were the ones who eventually taught the puritans to mellow out, at least in the New York area.


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