Is it a Holiday Tree or a Christmas Tree?

Katherine - posted on 12/07/2011 ( 61 moms have responded )

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What's the difference? One blogger get's pretty upset. Does it matter what you call it? I personally have always called it a Christmas tree. I guess if someone were to call it a "Holiday" tree it might irk me. After all you put it up at Christmas time not at any other holiday.
So here's the blog: http://blogs.babble.com/strollerderby/20...

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Jenni - posted on 12/07/2011

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Actually, the first decorating of an Evergreen tree began with early Pagan Greeks. This occured after broughs were used to decorate even earlier Pagan homes. But the first resembles of a modern "Christmas Tree" would have been the ancient Greeks. It was in tribute to their god, Adonia during their Winter Solactice.



The Pagan Romans also decorated an evergreen tree with bits of metal replications of Bacchus (their fertility god) and 12 candles to represent their Sun god. Their mid-winter celebration was Satarnalia.



So yes, decorating an Evergreen tree during winter holidays most definitely has Pagan roots that well predate Christianity and when the Christians adopted the practice around the 19th century. In fact early Christians as well as Jews were strictly against such practices as it had Pagan roots. It wasn't until *after* the Puritans when the tradition caught on with Christians... at least more acceptably. Prior, Christians who practiced these traditions were criticized for adopting Pagan customs.



The prophet Jeremiah of the Old Testament even condemned such practices:



"Jeremiah 10:2-4: "Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not." (King James Version)."



As we all know the Old Testament predates Christ. And people were obviously practicing cutting down trees before then for Jeremiah to condemn it in the OT. So yeah... CHRISTmas Trees... have nothing to do with CHRIST. They just started calling them that because... hey decorating a tree during the winter is pretty fun. They couldn't do it because it was a Pagan (Heathen) tradition so they stuck CHRIST(mas) to them and voila! Now it's not a Heathen practice.

Jenni - posted on 12/07/2011

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Of all the things people get their panties in twists about... this has to be one of the dumbest, imo of course. ;)



I'm an Atheist and I call it a Christmas tree... why? Because that's what I grew up calling it. I'm not about to change the name now.



I am well aware it has Pagan roots. And calling it a Holiday Tree would be no different for me than calling it a Christmas tree. Holiday derived from the Anglo-Saxon "Holy Day" is about as different as me (an Atheist) calling a shoe a sneaker. I'm not celebrating any Holy Days as I am not religious.



So personally, I don't care what it's called as long as other people understand what I'm referring to.



So I also don't care.... if for politically correct terms they call it a Holiday Tree. It doesn't take away from anyone's Christmas... it just recognizes that not everyone who puts up a tree during the holidays is celebrating Christmas. That doesn't mean *you* (general) can't call it a Christmas tree. It just means businesses use the term to be politically correct as their consumers are not all Christians celebrating Christmas... some are celebrating *other* holidays during the winter (Yule, for example) but still decorate with a tree. After all it was their tree before it was a Christmas tree (well after the Puritans who didn't even celebrate Christmas).



Honestly, who cares what corporations choose to call it for marketing purposes? Everyone can still call it whatever they damn well please. In fact, I think I'll start calling mine "Fire Hazard". As in "Oh, me and the kiddies are going to bake some warm cookies tonight and decorate the 'Fire Hazard'."

Johnny - posted on 12/07/2011

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People should call it whatever the heck they want. I'm going to go with John Stewart's suggestion and call it the "End of the 4th Fiscal Quarter Tree".

I also wanted to point out that there are many types of Pagans, and for some, the cutting of the tree is indeed part of their tradition. It may be not your kind of Pagan, but it is the way things are done in some tradtitions. It isn't as if all Pagans adhere to one set of rules about how things are done. Sort of like Christians.

I have to say, I'm starting to get really fucking irratible about this whole debate. Let people call their tree whatever they heck they want, it is SO unimportant. If your holiday is a Christmas about Christ, then celebrate it how you want. If your holiday is a Yule celebration, with a live tree, then celebrate that. We need to stop telling everyone else that they need to do things exactly the way we do. It's obnoxious and rude.

Firebird - posted on 12/08/2011

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I call it a Bethmas Tree. Because my sister Bethany was born Dec.25. I'm a pagan, so I don't really care much for this war on christmas thing, since nearly all of their holiday ' traditions' were stolen from the pagans, the christians can't 'honestly' lay claim to what a damn tree is called.

Jennifer - posted on 12/07/2011

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This is kinda getting old! lol, but as many others have said, it did not start as a Chistmas tree! When Catholism started to spread they combined Easter and Passover, which is why a solmen Jewish holiday is now celebrated with bunnies, colored eggs, and eating ham!(it combined pagans spring/fertility celebrations, passover, and Christ death/resurriction) Christmas(Christ's birth) was combined with the winter soltist, giving us trees, moving Christ birthday, and some say that is when the gift giving started, bringing in Saint Nick. (some say that came later as Jews were not well liked at that point) The holidays are a mixed up mess! Add to that the bible states we are not to even celebrate 'special days and feast' and I wonder why any Christians celebrate Christmas! I rarely hear about 'them' changing Christmas from anyone but Christians, though. So funny!

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~♥Little Miss - posted on 07/15/2013

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Stifler's - posted on 12/08/2011

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my kids are soo mischief. I can even see renae having a go at the tree.

Jenni - posted on 12/08/2011

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Our living room is so incredibly small... ours is in the kitchen next to the kitchen table... That's the only place it fits, pfft!

[deleted account]

Haha! Jaime, that's funny. We recently moved and our ceiling is lower, so we are having the very same conversation right now! :) I'm giving serious thought to buying one of those cute little potted evergreen tree/bush things at the greenhouse and just decorating it.

Jaime - posted on 12/08/2011

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I call it a 'where the fuck am I going to put this thing' tree....I think that's pretty festive :)

Rosie - posted on 12/08/2011

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i call it a christmas tree and i'm an atheist. however, i do understand the postition of the governor. there is a separation of church and state, and by calling it "christmas" tree it would be using federal funds for religious purposes.

Jenni - posted on 12/08/2011

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Ah ok, gotcha. I got wrapped up in the whole Christmas celebration and completely missed your point. Yeah, that is kind of undermining the whole original point of revering the evergreen tree during the winter.



I thought you were trying to say that Christians invented the "Christmas" tree because they were the first to bring it inside. I got lost somewhere along the way. :P

Jenni - posted on 12/08/2011

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I wasn't sure!



I wouldn't call it "bastardizing" the holiday celebrations during the winter months, they have just evolved and each culture contributed or added its own traditions to it.



It's a good thing, is it not? That means you don't have to be a Christian or a Druid to justify celebrating it? :)



It's not the Christians who bastardized it, if that were the case then every culture after the Egyptians bastardized it.



If anything, it's commercialism that bastardized it. :P



I have a fake one too. But it's not all perfect and full looking... it has flaws to make it look real... I love it!

Jenni - posted on 12/08/2011

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"The evergreen tree was an ancient symbol of life in the midst of winter. Romans decorated their houses with evergreen branches during the New Year, and ancient inhabitants of northern Europe cut evergreen trees and planted them in boxes inside their houses in wintertime."



According to: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/thep...



But let's say for argument's sake that the Christians did modernize the "hacking down" of the tree and bringing it into their house. Using that as an argument that Christians hold sole claim to the modern Christmas tree is like saying that Bell Telephone has sole claim to all phones because they created the first prototypes to the touch-tone phone.



Many ancient cultures have contributed to what we now call the modern Christmas tree. From Babylonians, to Egyptians (the moros code inventors), to Greeks, to Romans, to Druids. All contributed to our modern day Christmas tree. They were the first to bring the tree inside their homes, added light and decor to it. All in celebration of their winter solactice and paved the way to the modern tradition. Christianity, like with many other Pagan doctrine and tradition, adopted it... much, much, later in history.



There is plenty enough evidence that until the mid 19th century that these traditions were actually frowned upon by Christians and described by *their own* as being Heathen.



Decorating an evergreen tree in your house-- Pagan



Cutting it down and letting it die-- Christian



The modern Christmas tree, decorating it with ornaments, adding lights to it, bringing it in your house during the winter months--- all pagan roots.



Are we agreeing or disagreeing on this? :)



imo it's the Pagans who contributed the most to the traditions we practice during *our* modern Christmas. From the colours, to decor, to caroling, to our yule logs, to our "evergreen trees". All started with Pagan winter traditions. But don't worry, I am not jumping on the Holiday tree bandwagon. It just feels weird calling it that.

[deleted account]

Johnny, because that is all I have ever known it as... a Christmas tree. It's only in the last few years I have been aware of the debates about it being anything else.



Also because we only put it up at Christmas. Not on any other given holiday.

Elizabeth - posted on 12/07/2011

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At our house, it's a Yule tree, or Winter tree. Because even though we celebrate Christmas as a cultural holiday, it's not our *big* holiday. In your own home, or in a community were everyone has the same opinion, I see absolutely nothing wrong with calling it a Christmas tree. That is how it's been used for a few hundred years by the majority of Christians after all. But in mixed environments, ie: school, calling it a Holiday Tree is an effort to acknowledge the American cultural signifigance of it, without making the assumption that everyone is Christian or celebrates Christmas.

[deleted account]

I'm an atheist and I call it a christmas tree because that is what it's called.

I don't get why people get so weird about it.

Becky - posted on 12/07/2011

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Okay, so I do think calling it a holiday tree is a little lame, only because, as far as I know, most religions who celebrate something other than Christmas during the winter months, do not celebrate with a tree. So the Christmas tree is specifically a symbol of the holiday we call Christmas. Or of Yule. But not of every winter holiday. I agree that it would be more inclusive to display symbols of every holiday celebrated in December than to just rename a Christmas tree.

Kellie - posted on 12/07/2011

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It's a Christmas Tree.

I think people think too much, maybe a hobby is in order?

Becky - posted on 12/07/2011

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It's the What's in a Name? I started it after watching the news a few days ago.

Jodi - posted on 12/07/2011

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Not really Katherine, I think it was a side discussion the War on Christmas or something.

Becky - posted on 12/07/2011

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Yep, we just did a discussion on this! I was pissed that politicians were wasting time & money debating this very topic! Anyone else wants to debate, fine . . . but seriously if this is my taxes hard at work, I want to right to fire the jerks for being stupid!



Anyway, I think the conclusion was to call the tree Hal, or Barry . . .Maybe Bruce the Spruce. There were a few other names tossed in the hat too, but I don't recall at the moment!

Johnny - posted on 12/07/2011

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wow, you're very insistent about it being called a "christmas" tree Sharon, why is that?

Johnny - posted on 12/07/2011

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I would too Emma. We call it a Christmas tree just because that's what we've always called it. Actually, normally I just refer to it as "the tree". We usually do a live tree though, unless we are going away, and then only a fake tree. Our family has always done live trees, and they go to a specific spot for replanting every year.

Isobel - posted on 12/07/2011

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I think we all just say tree around here...puttin the tree up this weekend, do they have trees over at the grocery store?, how big is your tree? how do you keep a cat away from the tree?

yup, come to think of it, everybody I know just calls it THE tree.

Jodi - posted on 12/07/2011

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Didn't we have this discussion already, and I'm pretty sure there is someone calling their tree Barry..... :P

Stifler's - posted on 12/07/2011

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I don't even have one up. LOL. I would just laugh if someone called it a holiday tree.

Becky - posted on 12/07/2011

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In my house, it's a Christmas tree. That's what we're celebrating. If someone else wants to call it a holiday tree or Yule tree or just a plain old pine tree in their home, I couldn't care less. If someone told me my holiday tree looked lovely, I wouldn't be bothered, but I might say, "Oh, you mean my Christmas tree? thanks!" :) Mostly just to be ornery, lol!

Jessica - posted on 12/07/2011

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it only bothers me because would we call a menorah anything else but a menorah? no way. trees are for Christmas the way menorahs are for Hanukkah.. period. lets not change it.

Jenni - posted on 12/07/2011

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To be honest... I have yet to see or hear anyone calling them Holiday trees other than discussions on here and those stupid re-posts on FB. Something tells me, like "freedom fries" this won't catch on.

[deleted account]

I've never heard FREEDOM FRIES!!! Haha! They probably wouldn't serve those to prisoners though... that would be a mean joke...

Johnny - posted on 12/07/2011

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Oh, and the food snobs I know call them frites which is French for fries. Hmmm....

Elfrieda - posted on 12/07/2011

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Wasn't there a phase where you guys were calling them "freedom fries"? ;)

[deleted account]

I'm so tired of seeing this on Facebook. Personally I really don't care, I call it a Christmas tree because that's what I have always called it.
It does however stand through TWO holidays so I do see why some call it a holiday tree. Doesn't affect what I'll be calling it though. :)

Johnny - posted on 12/07/2011

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We just call them fries. Others call them chips. It rather depends where you live and your cultural background doesn't it? Sort of like holidays....

[deleted account]

Well, here is what I think...

It's crap that we call them French Fries, I love those tasty little fried potatoes and I live in the US. How exclusive and rude!! I think that they should be renamed Global Fries so that everyone can enjoy them and not feel that their nationality has been callously excluded.

I'm joking of course, but when you take the sensitivity of religion out and apply some of this logic to a harmless french fry, it's a much more funny perspective.

Oh, well - off to McDonald's I go, I made myself hungry for some empty calories...YUM!

Jenni - posted on 12/07/2011

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Ok, you may be right Cathy.



But what about what is said in the OT from Jeremiah condemning the practice of cutting down evergreen trees and decorating them with silver/gold and calling that heathen practices?



It sure sounds like people were practicing cutting down evergreen trees to decorate long before the 16th century. In fact approximately 3000 + (rough estimate) years ago according to the Old Testament Bible itself.

Alessia - posted on 12/07/2011

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I'm an atheist and I say it's a Christmas tree! (And ours is really nice this year!)

Jenni - posted on 12/07/2011

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Also the Germanic people were decorating trees long before they adopted Christianity as their religion. They use to adorn theirs with dried fruit and candles in tribute to their god, Woden... along with mistletoe, holly and a yule log.

Denikka - posted on 12/07/2011

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It's a Yule tree to me (Pagan), but I call them Christmas trees.

I agree with Liz. Calling it a holiday tree just seems to strip away all the special-ness.
To me, there are 2 different kinda of Christmas;
1) the Christian religious holiday that celebrates the birth of Christ (even though it's probably at the wrong time of year XD)
2) the commercialized holiday that most people celebrate and that is advertised pretty much everywhere in the English speaking world, regardless of religion.

I throw the tree in with the second kind of Christmas. At this point in history, the gifts, the food, the spending time with friends and family, I feel it all gets thrown in with the second kind of Christmas.

I'm tired of the PC-ness of the holidays.

Have a satisfactory, wintertime gift giving season to you all :P

[deleted account]

I think the blogger makes a good point. True diversity would be inviting different groups to put up their displays at the capital: a Christmas tree, a menorah, a Kwanzaa display, a pagan winter solstice display, a Festivus pole (j/k).



Putting up a Christmas tree but calling it a Holiday tree just makes everything bland, watered down, and legalistic. To me, that's the opposite of beauty.



My family and I were immigrants to America, and I was not raised Christian. Christmas celebrations never bothered me, as long as I wasn't forced to participate.



Christmas has a Christian origin obviously, but it's also just a secular holiday for a lot of people nowadays.



"Holiday tree" has no meaning. It's just... blah. It's not diverse, it's not anything.

Cassandra - posted on 12/07/2011

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I call if the CHRISTmas tree. We are celebrating the birth of christ. If there were no christ, there would not be a holiday.....

[deleted account]

If the blogger can't stand "intellectual dishonesty", then she probably can't stand the fact that the "Christmas" tree has nothing to do with Christianity. It's a pagan symbol. It isn't in any way related to Christianity. So really, I don't think it's her "pagan and atheist" friends who have a problem with it. It's her.

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