14 December 2008

Dead Tree Walking


I hate Christmas Trees.

Never mind that I am of heavy German ancestry, or that as a tenth generation Marylander my state song is also “O Tannenbaum,” or that a pioneer in my faith community was among the first to introduce domestic Christmas trees to America.

I hate Christmas Trees.

I hate the drag home, strapped to the car or, when we lived in NYC, carried through the streets like a dead deer.

I hate the needles falling and the prickly sensation while holding it upright, or the downright struggle to get it in the stand. I hate untangling the strings of lights and trying to arrange them on the branches.

And I really hate hanging decorations. It takes a long time and they slip off sometimes and there are so many of them. And tinsel, thank God we don’t do tinsel at my house any more. although there is scarcely anything more redolent of Christmas that tinsel.

It’s not some anti-pagan thing. Believe me, I am plenty pagan and happily so. And yes, it is better to sacrifice a tree than a child if the choice must be made.

But let’s face it – the whole tree thing is rather new. You can’t find one before 1800, even in Germany. Yule logs, sure, but decorated dead trees, no.

And what could be more sad than to look out on December 26th and see castoff trees lying like war dead in the street, filaments of merriment still clinging to the needles?

Hang your garland, light your candles, mull your wine and gobble your sweet meats. These I can love. But do we really need to kill whole forests to feel merry?

Oh, the horror.

6 comments:

Elisa Winter said...

BRAVO!!!! BRAVO!!!!

Love, Scroogella

Anonymous said...

You are wired differently than most, Fred. Can you smell the tree, that delicious scent that fills the room at Christmas? Watch it twinkle with lights? And the decorating is... transformational. A great pleasure. Well, it takes all kinds. But I did like how you linked this story in your sermon today...to love.

Revwilly said...

We've used an artificial tree for the past 20 years.

meggeo said...

Well, I hate to tell you, but you were involved with the buying of a Frazier Fir this year, in-spirit... Okay, before you get weirded-out, here's the story:

Vern's Tree Farm sells Christmas trees in SW Milwaukee underneath the awnings of the A&W Drive-In (which closes down during winter). Vern himself and his farm hands drive over 200 miles from northern WI down to Milwaukee. Every year I beg my hubby for a real tree since that’s what I always had growing up. We’ve been married 10 years and this is only the second time I've convinced him to get the real deal. Well, while George was wrangling the tree onto the Subaru, I chatted with Vern. The whole time I was talking to him, I kept thinking that he looked like someone I knew. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized he looked like YOU! He was probably in his 70’s (which I know is way older than you), but he could have been your Dad or uncle, easy... So, even with all of your hating and bah-humbuggery, somehow you still managed to be a part of one family’s Christmas tree happiness!

WFW said...

yeah, weirded out is right. ho ho ho and all that crap

Elisa Winter said...

Gosh, Rev., are you allowed to be this cranky in public about a major "religious" holiday? Are you hankering for the stockade or something? I think your congregation (if you don't already do so) needs to host a "Buy Nothing Day" event just after Thanksgiving. It helped my "holiday" mood tremendously 'cause people were so happy to come and take away my relatively good quality unloved items. Cleared space in my house and my mind. Made folks happy. Recycled and reused with abandon. I bet yooz guys are already doing this...