by HANNAH DURBIN '19
In late December, when Christmas is just about all wrapped up for the year, many people take their Christmas trees down before the actual season is even over. The actual season of Christmas begins on December 25 and ends on the Baptism of Jesus, January 6. A lot of people take their trees down the day after Christmas. I wanted to see when people put their trees away for the year, since it's not done until January 6 based on tradition.
The tradition of putting up a tree for Christmas actually began in Germany. The German people decorated them with apples as a symbol of the Garden of Eden. An evergreen tree was chosen because it represented God's eternal love. The tradition began in the 16th century but it wasn't until the 1890s that Christmas trees were widely accepted in America, due to the Puritan feeling that they made fun of the sacred holiday. Today Christmas trees are grown in all 50 states and are a trademark of the holiday.
Artificial Christmas trees seem to consistently be on the rise in popularity. People are attracted to their simplicity. All that’s necessary is to bring them out of storage and they are ready to go. The fake trees are also preferable for those that have allergies. They lack the pine aroma that so many people positively associate with the season, but that smell can be a nightmare for a person with allergies. Manufacturers make the trees with a fire retardant material that can be another plus. An unfortunate part of them though is that once you do throw them away, they sit in a landfill forever. Artificial trees are non-biodegradable and can't be recycled.
Real Christmas trees on the other hand are biodegradable and many of them are recycled. Almost all of the live Christmas trees purchased are grown here on American soil. They are grown on farms that contain soil not suitable for other plants. After the tree is cut, sometimes up to three more are planted in its place to keep the cycle going. Some people may not want a real tree due to the fact that they do burn quite easily and need to be kept away from the warm fireplace. They also drop needles and sap and are notorious for making quite a mess. The upkeep that they require is a turnoff for some people because if they are not properly watered, they will be dead before the big day even arrives.
I asked several people when they took their trees down and was a little surprised with the results. Ms. Garcia took her tree down January 18, Madison Booseveld '19 took hers down December 30, and Lizzie Jira '19 took hers down January 14. Maura Mittermeyer '17 took hers down January 10 and my family took ours down January 20. Many people kept their tree up well into January, saying that the amount of time it requires to take the tree down pushes the day when they take it down back.
All in all, Christmas trees evoke a cheerfulness that seems to be missing during the rest of the year. If you go back to the very beginning, they were put up as a way to celebrate Christ's birth. It's rooted in tradition to leave them up until January 6. Let's remember that for the coming year.