Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Tree Magic


Have you put up your Christmas tree yet? This tradition dates back to 14th century Eastern Europe and comes to the US from Germany and England.

Though Christmas trees have been controversial--are they pagan or Christian? Are they environmentally friendly? Should they be real or artificial?--they never fail to delight.

Our entire state celebrates by decorating trees at the Capitol. My colleagues and I got a chance for a quick tour this month. Each tree is decorated by a town or organization, with ornaments depicting a certain theme.

Some towns celebrating special anniversary years have town families' pictures on their ornaments, such as the tree from Bristol. The Operation Military Kids tree has ornaments made from military dog tags. Even the tree toppers go far beyond the typical angel or star. The tree from the town of Claremont, in the northeastern part of the state, has cattails on top, representing the slough country surrounding the town.

The spectacular South Dakota tree was decorated by the SD State Historical Society and commemorates the Capitol's 100th anniversary. My colleagues and I appreciated the creativity of our fellow state citizens and were impressed by the splendor of rows and rows of trees. See more here.

Why the wonderment? Maybe it's the oddity of seeing a tree indoors in the dead of winter. Maybe it's the beauty of the ornaments. Or maybe it's the glow of the lights.

When my brother & I were kids, a family friend always invited us to her home when she had decorated her tree. She'd turn off all the house lights, and we'd ooh and aah at the lights on the tree, especially transfixed by the bubble lights.

Outdoor Christmas tree lights are just as awe-inspiring. Our city creates Winter Wonderland at Falls Park each December, decorating over 200 trees! In this cold, dark land, those lights are a warm, welcome sight. See it here.

Whether your tree is up yet or not, whether it's more "Charlie Brown" than "House & Garden," grab a cup of tea or hot chocolate, and enjoy this tribute to Christmas trees. Merry Christmas!

What is your favorite Christmas tree decoration?

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