I have never had a Christmas tree at Christmas. Not once in my entire life. Our family didn't put up Christmas trees. My parents held the belief that trees and all the other Christmas "paraphernalia" were pagan and as Christians, we should not be involved in those things. My parents also strongly believed that the purpose of Christmas was not the gifts but to celebrate the birth of Christ. So even if we would have had a tree, there would have been very few gifts under it.
Now, my parents and I don't hold similar world views. In fact, our world views are vastly different except that we kind of agreed on the Christmas tree thing and the gift giving thing. But I'd be lying if I said that as a child I didn't long for a beautifully decorated Christmas tree with lots of gifts under the tree. I wanted that so deeply every Christmas but as I got older and learned a lot more on my own, I became genuinely uncomfortable with all the Christmas "stuff" and when I left Christianity, I took a huge step back from the whole holiday.
But the other day Z1 asked if we were going to have a tree. He said he wanted to decorate it. The hubby tried to explain that we don't do trees but I felt torn (even though I went along with the hubby). What's really the harm in having a tree and decorating it? It may have had pagan origins but now that I know paganism is not devil worship, so what? Who can deny that they are beautiful and fun to decorate? My opinion on gift giving hasn't really changed all that much. I wouldn't want to go out and spend a whole lot of money buying things for Christmas. I think that misses the point, the spirit of Christmas. But I could see making homemade gifts for each other and close family members as the kids get older because I definitely recognize the value in gift giving and generosity. And as a knitter and crocheter, I especially see the value in sharing the fruit of one's labor, the product of one's creativity with loved ones.
The frugal me would, of course, purchase an artificial one that we could pull out year after year. It would be small enough to fit on the kitchen table.
I could actually have written a similar post at Halloween because the same issues came up. I didn't dress up or trick-or-treat as a child and I often felt left out. I often felt like I was missing out on a whole lot of fun. And these days, holidays are such a mainstream thing--moreso than when I was a child--that it's hard to keep your children insulated from the influence. I honestly felt bad when Z1 went to his little Kindermusik class and all the other kids had costumes but he didn't. I asked myself then, What's the harm, really?
So, what say you? Do you do Christmas trees in your households? Why or why not?
Picture courtesy of http://thumbs.dreamstime.com/thumb_198/1193071743IQjNUY.jpg