Trees, Animism, and Yuletide

Christmas tree discarded on public land in southern Colorado. (Photo: Royal Gorge Field Office, Bureau of Land Management)

Christmas tree discarded on public land in southern Colorado. (Photo: Royal Gorge Field Office, Bureau of Land Management)

I wanted to use the photo of the dumped Christmas tree with two different posts. Then I decided to combine them, so keep reading.

1. “Trees” is the theme of this month’s Animist Blog Carnival, hosted by Australian blogger Jay at naturebum. Tree totems, forest fires, Indo-European cosmology, and more!

2. Is there anything grosser than building up to the orgy of gift-unwrapping on December 25 and then declaring the whole holiday season over?A couple of days after that, and the local newspapers are telling you where you can “recycle” your Christmas tree.

But a book review in the British weekly The Spectator notes that at one time, decorations were left up until Candlemas.

‘The season of Christmastide has, in other words,’ [author Nick Grooms] observes, ‘shifted forward, as if it now expresses an impatient and premature desire for gratification. The result is that there are two cold months of winter following Christmas.’

At the very least, tonight is not quite Twelfth Night, unless like one Wiccan friend of mine, you count your twelve days from the winter solstice. So the colored lights will stay on a bit longer.

4 Comments

  1. Medeina Ragana says:

    If I remember correctly, you were supposed to take the decorations down by January 2nd (or was it the 6th?) but leave the unadorned tree up until Feb. 2nd for good luck. Leaving it up after Feb. 2nd was a no-no. Around here in TN, people put up trees (and lights!) right after Thanksgiving and immediately take them down on Dec 26th. Obviously they are following the commercial holiday and haven’t got a clue as to what the season is all about. (and it ain’t about Jebus).

  2. Chas Clifton says:

    Yeah, what’s with that? There is no afterglow. Taking decorations down on or about January 6th would fit with the traditional (Christian) Twelfth Night. Around that time is when I start to think that the colored lights should come down. :)

  3. Fritz Muntean says:

    Here in BC, they talk about ‘winter lights’.
    Seasonal decorations go up around Hallowe’en and stay lit well into February.
    Several locales host ‘Winter Festivals’ in early February.
    All very cheerful. Merry & bright.