The holiday season is in full swing all around us, it’s December after all. And I know that Christmas and all its commercialism can really get to people, causing many to not want to participate in the season at all. But for me, Christmas is so much more than spending money on gifts and more stuff, it’s time spent with family and friends, eating delicious traditional food and one of the best parts of Christmas, all the decorations. I am the type of person to have many plants, cut flowers and arrangements from the garden, inside the house, any chance I get. So, to have a tradition of bringing a whole tree into the house? Count me in!
As you may already know the tradition of bringing in a cut tree is credited to German culture starting around the 16th century. But traditions of adorning the house with evergreens, holly, ivies, mistletoe etc. was also extremely popular with Celtic and Scandinavian families for centuries before. The winter solstice can be a very auspicious and superstitious time of year in many cultures. Whatever the reason an excuse to bring a little of the outdoors in, always brightens my day.
Nowadays, there are a variety of ways to get your Christmas tree. A you-cut Christmas tree farm, the local grocery store, the scouts or here in Squamish maybe even a trip to the backyard aka the woods (but yes, this is illegal). Or of course the easily assembled pre-lit kind that come out of a box! It doesn’t really matter where you get it or what kind you have, it’s how the tree is decorated! The decorations can tell you so much about an individual or family.
Most of the ornaments on my family tree growing up and even now on my own tree as an adult are hand-made, not necessarily by me but by some local crafty genius. For others they have themed trees, like only animal ornaments or only paper ornaments. Some choose to go with a colour-coded tree, for example my sister has only red and gold ornaments. I also know a woman who has a white tree with pink lights and only silver ornaments, this look is super jazzy!
But the best part is that every year when you pull-out a carefully stored box of ornaments a walk down memory lane is sure to ensue. When you see a particular ornament an array of thoughts can arise. Who was with you when you bought that one? How long did it take you to make this one? How old was your child when they made this? Where we you living when you added this one to the collection? Maybe it was a gift, you’ll be sure to think of that person every year you hang it on your tree. Usually these thoughts are followed by warm, fuzzy feelings and what’s not to like about that??
The Squamish Chamber’s Christmas Tree event makes the whole building shine a little brighter in this our darkest month of the year and for this we are very fortunate. Caffe Garibaldi is situated in the Squamish Adventure Centre too (just like the Chamber) and right now we have our halls decked by a multitude of Christmas trees that have been decorated by local businesses. We also have our own tree this year, it definitely has a coffee shop theme. Trimmed with coffee bags, beans, recycled receipts and more, we hope you’ll stop by to check it out. While you’re there swing by and share your traditions with us. Have you put up your tree yet? How will you be decorating it this year?