There is much history regarding trees that are associated with Christmas.
Some of the old traditions are linked to pre-Christian times. Holly, ivy and mistletoe were used during the Winter Solstice festivals to ward off evil spirits. After Christianity arrived in Europe, however, having greenery on show became significant and started being associated with Christmas.
Holly, with its prickly leaves, represents the crown of thorns worn by Jesus, and the red berries, the shedding of His blood as a result of the thorns. Ivy has to cling to something as it grows, which translates into a need to cling to God throughout our lives, for spiritual sustenance.
Fir, being an evergreen, signifies that we should have an everlasting relationship with the Creator.
Rosemary, in ancient times, was used to ward off evil spirits, and was known as the remembrance herb, traditionally used over the Christmas period as a reminder of the birth of Jesus.
In comparison to the above, the wreath probably has the greatest significance; it was, and still is used today during the festive season. The wreath traditionally has a circle of evergreens. The circle has no beginning and no ending, and so represents an element of endurance. Roman emperors wore laurel wreaths, and these were also given to the winners during the original Olympic games in Greece.
Evergreen conifers, like pine trees, are readily available in Northern climes, where they thrive. In warmer climates like ours, the artificial “copy cat” tree is invariably made of a green dyed synthetic material. The shape of the pine cone, which mimics that of the tree, is a well known ornament, left natural or painted silver or gold.
The concept of decorating trees originated in Germany, and before the advent of store decorations, branches were hung with berries, oranges, nuts, apples and pears. Some folk today, having an affiliation with nature, select outdoor decorations like garlands of popcorn, cranberries, halved oranges and seed-cakes for birds.
The star placed at the apex of the tree typically represents the Angel Gabriel, or the Star so significant with the nativity.
Many are curious as to when would be the correct time to remove Christmas decorations. Traditionally, this should be after the 12th night of Christmas, around the 5th of January. In ancient times, however, decorations were left intact until a religious celebration know as Candlemas was held, to honour Jesus being brought to the Jewish Temple as a baby.
As for your own tree, why not let some of the MatsiMela products stimulate your imagination. Bath crystals made up in organizer bags, fizz balls tied with festive ribbons, and small bars of soap in pretty wrappings, would look gorgeous hanging on the branches. An added advantage is that the glorious perfume wafting from these gifts, will fill your home with fragrances to delight your family and friends.