As Christmas passed and my neighbors will litter our streets with trees cut down to be used for a couple weeks in a clearly repurposed pagan holiday, we can reflect on traditions and changing them with the times.
Traditions don’t last forever. They start not as traditions. No one celebrated Jesus’s birth with fir trees and north pole imagery before Christianity reached northern Europe. No one has to keep celebrating it in that style. I would think returning to something more middle eastern would get closer to his actual birth.
Why not adjust to a time when trees help sustain life more still growing, not chopped down, when extracting resources like fossil fuels or cobalt to drive them around and mulch them poisons life and lowers Earth’s ability to sustain it?
My post from last month Before buying a Christmas tree: A reader shares how his family celebrates Christmas without chopping down trees caught on with some readers. I’ve been updating that post, but I’m creating a new post with the updates to help people reflect as they see people trash trees they paid to be cut down. Yes, you grew up with a northern European tradition, though you probably don’t live in northern Europe, and you can evolve your tradition while honoring its spirit and everyone before you while also contributing to people suffering from pollution, climate change, etc.
UPDATE: He sent a picture of his 2022 Christmas tree branch with the note “A bit of fallen Sycamore from the wood. Beech has a better form and is easier to decorate. Happy Christmas”:
UPDATE: He wrote that his nephew started the practice, writing “Our twig is now a year round feature and becomes festive with the addition of baubles!” and sharing this picture
A couple readers wrote about the post. One wrote:
My wife doesn’t really care about being environmentally friendly but she LOVES the look of the Christmas branch more than a Christmas tree… So next year I may be joining the “Christmas branch” club! Haha thanks for sharing this! What an awesome idea.
Another is more sarcastic and wrote:
Christmas trees – what a great perspective that is likely to have your behavior called out as unAmerican and belief that you must certainly be an atheist. And that reader of yours in England, the story about the family’s practice seems just a little too unconventional. It made me wonder, what other traditions associated with the purportedly magic of Christmas are you likely to attack? You grinch, you.
To clarify, it was friendly.
UPDATE: Another picture from his family, with the description: “I got this picture from my eldest brother of his “not a tree”. As the saying goes in my family, ‘there is no accounting for taste.’ I mean if we all liked the same thing life would be boring and I would have to queue longer where I go!”
To readers still following the harmful tradition
Would you consider a less destructive practice than paying to cut down trees.
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