THE TREE IN THE LIVING ROOM
There’s a fuss over what to call the evergreen tree most people put up in their living rooms during the holidays. Christians call it a Christmas tree which is fine if that's what they want to call it but civilization was using evergreen trees as ceremonial symbols long before Jesus arrived. In order to promote devotion to Christianity among nonbelievers, Christians wisely adapted the practice of using the tree in their celebrations. Think about it. How many evergreen trees were in the desert where Jesus lay in the manger?
I get a charge out of the farce that's played out annually by uninformed Christians who insist the use of the tree as a symbol of the season is because of Christianity. It's not. Pagan tribes used the fir tree as part of their festival of the winter solstice. Decorating a tree was practiced for centuries before Christianity, from Russia to India. The Yule log has nothing to do with Christianity either. In fact, many Christmas traditions were borrowed from celebrations of Thor, the Nordic God of Thunder
The best thing to do is call the tree in the living room a holiday tree simply because so many different traditions have used it as a way to motivate people to get out of their funk during the dark days of the year. Giving gifts you made to loved ones was also a tradition long before Jesus lay in the manager. For centuries a gift was something you took the time to make to give to someone. Today we go out and buy gifts and take the price tags off. The reason we take the price tags off is because we don't want the person receiving the gift to realize how much the item cost because price isn't supposed to matter when it comes to the holidays. It's also a way to 'pretend' we made the gift and therefore there is no price.
Getting drunk and stoned was a holiday tradition celebrated well before the first Christian lifted a glass of wine. People in the Northern parts of Europe ate psychedelic mushrooms and brewed them in batches of special holiday liquor. We don't hear much about this tradition because it doesn't fit into the wholesome, family oriented spirit of the season that Christianity celebrates now.
Most people are unaware of why we celebrate the season. They think it's all about Christmas and it's not. It's an ancient devotion held during the dark days of winter to bring back the light. Evergreen trees are used because to people living in the Black Forest the trees represented life and rebirth. And sure enough, right after the winter solstice the days started getting brighter. Whatever they did worked and for that they were grateful.